How Alcohol Impacts Your Academics

Drinkers vs. Non-drinkers: Research Findings:

  • Verbal and non-verbal information recall was most heavily affected with 10 percent performance decrease in alcohol users. Significant neuropsychological deficits exist in early to middle adolescents (ages 15 and 16) with histories of extensive alcohol use


  • Adolescent drinkers perform worse in school, are more likely to fall behind and have an increased risk of social problems, depression, suicidal thoughts and violence.


  • Alcohol affects the sleep cycle, resulting in impaired learning and memory, as well as disrupted release of hormones necessary for growth and maturation.


  • Alcohol use increases risk of stroke among young drinkers. Compared to students who drink moderately or not at all, frequent drinkers may never be able to catch up in adulthood, since alcohol inhibits systems crucial for storing new information as long-term memories and make it difficult to immediately remember what was just learned. Additionally, those who binge one a week or increase their drinking from age 18 to 24, may have problems attaining the goals of young adulthood- marriage, educational attainment, employment, and financial independence. Rather than outgrowing alcohol use, young abusers are significantly more likely to have a drinking problem as adults.
  • Alcohol has a negative effect on energy and REM sleep cycles. Impairing the quality of your sleep impairs the quality of your ability for remembering things.

According to a 1992 report from the CORE institute, 41% of all academic problems stem from alcohol abuse. Alcohol is associated with missed classes and poor performance on tests and assignments, causing lower GPA’s. In general, the more a student drinks, the lower his or her grades are. It is believed that a person’s ability to think critically can be impaired for up to 30 days following the consumption of alcohol.

Harvard student campuses report that 68% of non-binge drinkers had their studies or sleep interrupted because of other students drinking.