Alcohol and Drug Use
Is this your 1st year in college or are you coming back? Either way we are sure you are excited about the year ahead here at IT Sligo.
IT Sligo understands that alcohol can play a role in the college social life. However, there are many ways to ensure your consumption of alcohol does not get out of control and impact on your college life and experience.
IT Sligo has developed an Alcohol Policy which outlines the ethos of the college in relation to the welfare of students; the purpose of the policy is to proactively raise awareness of the consequences related to the harmful use of alcohol in order to prevent ill-effects to students and those around them.
The Policy aims to:
- Prevent harm and possible consequences to students of IT Sligo in relation to alcohol misuse and alcohol dependence,
- Raise Awareness of alcohol related issues and encourage the participation of all institute members in implementing the alcohol policy,
- Provide supportive services to those who may require assistance during their time at IT Sligo,
- Promote and support healthy lifestyle choices and alternatives to alcohol use and availability within I.T. Sligo.
IT Sligo believes in an integrated approach, with policy measures that encourage those who consume alcohol to treat alcohol with due regard for its effects and to moderate their consumption. Students must take personal responsibility for their alcohol consumption habits and consequences if excess alcohol consumption occurs.
Our Policy measures include:
- Promoting an increased awareness and education throughout the academic year regarding safe alcohol use e.g. through completion of ePUB survey,
- Encourage alternative choices to alcohol,
- Provide access to support services on and off the campus,
- Monitor alcohol marketing, promotions, and sponsorship on campus grounds and within clubs and societies.
- I.T. Sligo Alcohol Policy
Alcohol is a factor in 50% of all suicides in Ireland
1 in 4 deaths in young men aged 15 to 39 yrs is due to alcohol, compared to 1 in 12 deaths due to cancer
1 in 4 men aged 18 to 24 yrs drink the low-risk weekly guidelines in one sitting
1 in 5 women aged 18 to 24 yrs drink the low-risk weekly guidelines in one sitting
Almost 4 in 10 (39%) drinkers binge drink on a typical drinking occasion with over a fifth (24%) doing so at least once a week (Healthy Ireland, 2015)
What is a Standard Drink?
10 grams of pure alcohol = Half pint of beer /35.5 pub measure of spirit/A small glass of wine (125ml)/An alcopop (275ml bottle)
Low-Risk Weekly Guidelines for Adults
- Up to 17 standard alcohol units per week for men
- Up to 11 standard alcohol units per week for women
- The consumption of alcohol should be spaced out over the week and not consumed in one sitting. Drinking more than the safe levels may cause harm.
Remember: These weekly limits do not apply to teenagers or to people who are pregnant, ill, run-down, or on certain medications. It is healthier for teenagers not to drink alcohol.
What is Binge Drinking?
Binge drinking is 6 or more standard drinks in one sitting. Binge drinking is a form of harmful drinking that is likely to increase the risk of accidents, injuries, violence, and poisoning. (HSE, 2016)
- 3 pints of beer in one sitting
- 6 small glasses of wine per sitting
- 6 shots of spirits per sitting
How does alcohol affect me?
- Disrupted sleep
- Causes anxiety and stress
- Causes memory loss and blackouts
- Contributes to mood changes
- Causes sweats and shakes
- Blurred vision
- Loss of appetite
- Slower reflexes
- Impaired judgement
- Bad skin/Acne
- Weight gain
- Alcohol dependency
- High blood pressure
- Liver disease
- Specific cancers
- Mental health issues
- Sexual health problems
- Heart disease
- Stomach ulcers
Differences in Types of Drinkers
Social drinkers are those who enjoy and get pleasure from consumption of alcohol. The key to their pattern of consumption are choice and balance. The state they desire is relaxation, with a little release of inhibition. These types of drinkers will not consume alcohol when they encounter stress in life or if they need to give optimal performance.
Habitual drinkers may misuse alcohol to achieve a quick state of relaxation. They may not view it as a way of achieving emotional change. Their drink consumption can impact on their ability to drive, work and even their personal relationships.
Benefits of Reducing your Alcohol Intake
Improved Mental Health
Alcohol can play a role in the development of mental health issues, and can make existing problems worse. Taking alcohol when you are anxious or stressed to improve your mood, can have the opposite effect. If you often feel low after drinking, try to reduce your alcohol intake and keep a diary to track any changes in how you feel.
Better Long Term Physical Health.
Cutting down on the amount of alcohol you drink will reduce your risk of developing serious health issues such as cancer, liver, or heart disease.
Alcohol has a high calorie content, therefore regularly drinking alcohol increases your calorie intake. A pint of beer that is 4.5% alcohol contains 210 calories so drinking five pints will add over 1,000 calories to your caloric intake. Alcohol also dehydrates the body which can leave your skin looking dull. Cutting down on your alcohol intake can help you maintain a healthy weight and appearance.
Improved Energy levels
Alcohol can affect your sleeping patterns, resulting in you having less energy. By reducing how much, and how often you consume alcohol, you will see a significant difference in your energy levels.
Nights out are costly especially as a student. Cutting down on drinking alcohol saves money.
Audit your Alcohol Intake: AuditScreeningTool
Alcoholism is the dependent relationship of a person on alcohol in expectation of a rewarding experience. Social factors and psychological factors may affect the development of alcohol problems. This dependence can vary from person to person in terms of the duration, the pattern of alcohol use , appearance of symptoms, and physical addictions.
Symptoms of Alcohol Dependence
Elevated Tolerance; the person has seemingly normal functioning after what would be a highly toxic amount of alcohol for a non-drinker. There is a need to increase the amount of alcohol for the desired effect.
Blackouts; temporary memory loss due to excessive alcohol consumption. This may happen on a regular basis.
Euphoric Recall; comes from the initial relaxing feeling during consumption of alcohol. It provides enjoyment despite the negative consequences it causes.
Loss of Choice; increased tolerance and an emotional compulsion leads to the loss of choice and control over alcohol consumption.
When does alcohol become a problem?
A crucial part of developing a harmful dependence is that the person begins to accept regular heavy drinking, even if the person has never had issues with alcohol before. This can be triggered by excessive use of alcohol in the face of stress and difficult times.
Social Effects of Alcoholism
- Falling out with friends or family,
- Risk of losing your job,
- Increased risk of health risk behaviours such as drink driving,
- Risk of inappropriate sexual behaviours or unwanted sexual behaviour,
- Increased risk of family issues such as marital break-up, domestic violence,
- Financial issues,
- Increased incidents of being part of violent crime.
Where can I get help?
- Student Counselling Service: Make an appointment at reception, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 071 93 05463.
- Student Health Service: Appointments can only be made at reception, call 071 930 5463 or email email@example.com
- North West Regional Drug and Alcohol Task Force on 071 9151520
Substance and Drug Misuse
College years can be the most exciting time of your life; involving a new social scene, new friends, new night life etc. This new life can sometimes expose you to a range of substances. Peer pressure to fit in can be a factor in your decision to take drugs or not. It is important to know the facts about these substances.
Misuse of Drugs and Substances can impact on;
- Mental health
- Physical health
- Academic performance
Occasional use of such substances can slowly turn into addiction, which can become a very serious problem for individuals and those who are directly connected to the person.
Commonly used Drugs
- Magic Mushrooms
- Solvents and Aerosols
Drugs and Mental Health
Most people take drugs to enhance their mood (to get “a buzz”). In doing so they are also altering necessary chemicals that flow in the brain. This can be dangerous to that persons mental health, both immediate and in the future. Long term use of Cannabis & Marijuana, for example, can lead to severe depression. Particularly if there is a tendency to suffer from depression or have a family history of the same. Continued use of these drugs may have a role in precipitating the onset of Schizophrenia; a very serious mental illness with extremely heightened levels of paranoia. Other effects of psychoactive drugs include delusions, panic attacks, even permanent brain damage or, at its most extreme, death.
Drugs such a Cannabis, Alcohol and Ecstasy have the ability to affect your mood. The changes in your mood are caused by the interference of the drug in the chemical balance in your brain
Short term effects of drugs on mental health
All psychoactive drugs can cause the following mental health issues when you take them and as you clear them from your system;
- Mood swings
- Sleep problems
Drug Induced Anxiety Disorder
This may include;
- Moments of severe anxiety where you may find your heart rate rapidly increasing
- Panic attacks
- Shortness of breath
- A fear of loss of control
Drug Induced Psychosis
This may include;
Delusions; where you believe things that are not true
Hallucinations; seeing or hearing things that are not there
Drug Induced Mood Disorder
Generally caused by drugs such as Cocaine, Heroin, Methadone, Amphetamines. This may involve feelings of the following:
- Loss of pleasure
- Impulsive behaviour
Where can I get support?
Student Counselling Service:
- Make an appointment at reception,
- email firstname.lastname@example.org or
- call 071 93 05463.
Student Health Service:
- Appointments can only be made at reception,
- call 071 930 5463 or
- email email@example.com .
North West Regional Drug and Alcohol Task Force on 071 9151520.