Fears that updating the DSM-5 would over diagnose thousands more college students as alcoholics have been put to rest, for now. Erika Christakis reported for Time that “editors of the DSM-5 countered that the change in definition won’t increase diagnosis.” However, she argues that semantics cannot hide the fact that college drinking occurs at astronomical, and dangerous, levels.

Christakis provides sobering statistics that any reader would find impossible to ignore. Drinking among young peole, she claims, is not decreasing but has likely increased in the last 14 years. Her statistics also show that underage people are not only drinking, but they are also driving.

The statistics are truly sobering. Every year, more than 3 million students between ages 18 and 24 drive while drunk. Alcohol accounts for 1,850 annual deaths in that age group, including deaths from car crashes and suicide. Almost 600,000 are injured under the influence of alcohol and another 700,000 have been assaulted by an intoxicated student. Around 400,000 had unprotected sex as a result of intoxication and 100,000 reported being too drunk to give consent for sex. Eleven percent of college drinkers damaged property. A quarter report academic difficulty due to alcohol use, while 150,000 college students have alcohol-related health problems.

Christakis’ article, published in a widely read magazine, demonstrates the increasing gravity of college drinking and reminds readers of the uncomfortable realities that can accompany irresponsible drinking. She concludes her piece by asking that we ignore, at least in principle, diagnostic labels and instead focus on the issue of harm reduction.

One Response to “DSM-5”

  1. Edwin Bonilla Says:

    The statistics regarding young people and alcohol are sobering. It is unexcusable that 3 million young women and young men have drove drunk along with the annual deaths for the 18-24 age group. The drinking age of 21 does not solve those problems and will never be able to solve those problems. I want the drinking age lowered to 18 but alone, the drinking age being lowered to 18 is not enough to solve those problems. Restricting alcohol sales and encouraging most parents to teach their daughters and sons about alcohol responsibility are important steps to improve those statistics.