College and Alcohol Don’t Have to Go Together

Have you ever seen a movie about life on a college campus?

Are there any that don’t portray those years as one long, alcohol-filled party?

Sure, movies don’t necessarily reflect reality.  But the truth remains that there is a lot of alcohol consumed on college campuses.  According to the National Institutes of Health, 4 out of 5 college students drink alcohol and about half admit to binge-drinking.  The statistics don’t stop there.  Check these out:


  • Death: 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die each year from alcohol-related unintentional injuries.

  • Assault: More than 690,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking.

  • Sexual Abuse: More than 97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape.

  • Academic Problems: About 25 percent of college students report academic consequences of their drinking including missing class, falling behind, doing poorly on exams or papers, and receiving lower grades overall.

Clearly alcohol consumption on college campuses is a big deal.  But, universities are doing something about it.  The University of Colorado (my alma mater!) recently announced a sober living option for students in recovery who wish to live with other students abstaining from alcohol and drugs.  Check it out:

University of Colorado Collegiate Recovery Center

University of Colorado Collegiate Recovery Center

When I did a quick search for other universities and colleges in my area, I found that almost all offered some sort of substance abuse treatment program; typically through their counseling center.  If you or someone you know is a college student and struggling with substance use – it’s important to know there are options – and those options appear to be growing.

For more information about how much alcohol is too much, read more.

National Institutes of Health



More Sex = More Happiness?

Screen shot 2013-04-18 at 9.17.38 AM

The equation might not be quite as simple as more sex equaling more happiness, but according to Dr. Tim Wadsworth, a sociology professor at the University of Colorado, sex does play a part in how happy we are.  He and his team looked at sociological data and surveys and found that those folks who thought they were having more sex than their friends and neighbors reported a higher level of happiness than those who thought they were sexually active less frequently.  This can be a bit confusing of course, because most of us don’t know for sure how often other couples are having sex.

Dr. Wadsworth explained that we learn about other people’s sex lives (or at least we think we do) through a variety of sources other than direct report.  For example, watching movies, TV, and reading magazine articles about frequency of sex can all work together to give us a sense of how often those around us are sexually active.

Years ago I had a supervisor who told me that he could judge the health of couple’s relationship simply by learning a few specifics about their sex life (frequency, satisfaction of both partners, etc).  I’m not sure I’d go that far, as there can be circumstances that make sexual activity difficult or impossible (illness, injury, distance, etc) in otherwise happy couples.  But, I don’t deny that sexual activity is an important part of overall health and happiness.

For more information about the health benefits of sex, I checked out WebMD and found this great article.  Among the benefits of sex: Decreased stress and blood pressure, and improved immune function.  Of course particularly active sex might count as physical activity and exercise, with the resulting cardiovascular benefits.  For the full list of health benefits (including improved self esteem) check out WebMD’s article.

To read more about Dr. Wadsworth’s study about sex and happiness, click here.