The goal of this review was to examine the current literature in the topic of problematic alcohol use, with a special focus on the epidemiological, etiological, and psychological factors to predict problem drinking in college students. We present the terminology of binge drinking used in international studies, because the diversity of definitions, units and labels tend to make international comparisons more difficult. We review the epidemiology and also short- and long-term risk factors linked to binge drinking. The biological and genetic background of alcohol use and related neurophysiologic studies are also addressed. In the last section we summarize the psychological characteristics of binge drinking besides highlighting the most recent direction of studies in the field of alcohol research, which emphasizes the role of expectations and motivation.