PREVENTIVE HEALTH

Preventative Health for binge drinking
In the US and in other developed economies, binge drinking among college students is a huge social issue that poses many problems among them mental health disorders, alcoholism, and a host of other social problems. A 2008 study by the Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol Study found that campus culture, alcohol control policies, enforcement of policies, access, availability, pricing, marketing, and special promotions of alcohol promoted college binge drinking (Wechsler & Nelson 2008). This increases the risk of mental health disorders tremendously. The Surgeon General report attributes 4.7% of mental health disorders to alcoholism. As per the “An Overview of Primary Prevention” article, such social problems can be addressed through prevention programs such counseling and psychotherapy.
Binge drinking damages the brain and affects its development especially for the young people. This leads to serious cases of mental health disorders. In my school years, I have witnessed numerous binge drinking events. Wechsler and Nelson (2001) define binge drinking as taking five or more drinks in a row within the space of two weeks and four drinks or more for women over the same period of time. The most common event where binge drinking occurs is during birthday parties more so when young adults turn the legal age of drinking at 21. During such events, individuals celebrating their 21[st] birthday are encouraged to take 21 drinks. Such drinking behavior can lead to far reaching mental health disorders. Counseling and psychotherapy are a sure way to pacify such threats before they escalate into serious mental health disorders.
Counseling and psychotherapy involving parents, peers and adults is a promising strategy to tackle the problem. The counseling should involve educating the youth on the effects of excessive alcohol consumption on their health and brain. The counseling should embark on convincing the youth to avoid of alcohol or at least take in moderately. The counseling program shall use leaflets, pamphlets, and power point presentation to inform the youth in learning institutions and social halls about the dangers of binge drinking. The current scenario has seen much effort and resources directed towards prevention and education on the dangers of drug abuse such as coke, meth, ecstasy, cocaine and marijuana. This has created the impression that alcohol use poses little danger to the human brain and health. As such, there has been a surge in alcohol consumption among the youth powered by its ease of accessibility in homes and supermarkets (Wechsler & Nelson 2008). To counter, this relaxed approach to binge drinking, pamphlets will depict graphic images of the effect of binge drinking on the human brain. Parents will be drafted in the campaigns especially by calling them to control their children`s drinking habits by advising them and also limiting alcohol consumption during birth day party celebrations and other parties.
Binge drinking among college students is a favorite leisure activity. The allure into binge drinking is very strong and the repercussions for engaging in such behavior are comparatively less known to the indulgers. Therefore, counseling the youths in campus and in high school about the dangers of binge drinking can yield fruitful results. The use of pamphlets and slide shows with figures on binge drinking and its effects on the development of the brain and general mental health should be help drive the message home. Use of imagery is most effective as it communicates a lot at a glance and is easy to recall. Parents shall also provide emotional support and engage their children in discussing alternative ways of having fun. This way, binge drinking will be addressed before it gives rise to mental health disorders among the youth.
References
An Overview of Primary Prevention
Surgeon General Report on Mental Health.
Wechsler, H. & Nelson, T. (2008). Binge drinking and the American college student: What`s
five drinks? Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 15(4), 287-291.
Wechsler, H. & Nelson, T. (2001). What we have learned from the Harvard school of public
health college alcohol study: focusing attention on college student alcohol consumption and the environmental conditions that promote it. Journal of Alcohol and Drugs, 69(4), 481-490.