Although alcohol is consumed mostly in social gatherings and public places, it is still a drug. This is considered so in the sense that it alters your body, mind, and emotions. Because of this, it is the nation’s largest youth drug problem. Addiction to alcohol kills seven times more than addiction to any of the other illicit drugs combined does.
Sadly, people turn to alcohol early on in their lives. This is because adolescence is a transition time wherein the body undergoes many changes, from brain development to hormonal alterations. At this time, young people start to associate more with friends; and with peer pressure being a strong factor, they look to alcohol to fit in.
Based on these facts, teenage alcohol abuse is a prevalent situation in society. About half of junior and senior high school students drink alcohol on a monthly basis and about 14% of the whole teen population has been intoxicated at least once every year. There are even teenagers who admit to binge drinking, which is drinking five or more alcoholic drinks in one row.
Teenage alcohol abuse can be deadly
Teenage alcoholism is a very serious matter in the sense that it poses many dangers to teenagers. Firstly, alcohol decreases the ability to focus and pay attention. Because of this, almost 2000 people die in car crashes and many of these people are under the age of 21. Alcohol is also involved in nearly half of all violent deaths where teenagers are involved. A teen who is intoxicated is more likely to engage in sexual activity with a stranger or have unprotected sex. Teenage alcoholism can mask the problems that are common in this age group, like anxiety or depression. Many suicides and suicide attempts are committed by underage people who drink. The younger a person is when he begins to drink, the more likely he will develop a problem with alcohol in the future. This can then translate into the use of other substances like marijuana, heroin or cocaine.
Alcohol is absorbed rapidly from the stomach lining in as short as five to 10 minutes, and the effects last for a number of hours depending on what kind of alcoholic substance was taken in and how quickly it was consumed. It is seen in teenage alcoholism that the females absorb alcohol much faster since their bodies contain less water. After three normal strength beers, young people will feel the effects of the alcohol and become relaxed and less inhibited.
Parent-teen communication can help prevent teenage alcohol abuse
In order to overcome the problem of teenage alcoholism, there should be clear communication between parents and their children. They must teach them about the negative effects of alcohol as well as what they expect from their kids regarding drug use. It also helps to get your adolescent engaged in extracurricular activities like sports to keep them away from alcohol. Parents should also educate their kids about stress management strategies, since teens who cope with stress better are less likely to become addicted to alcohol and have less problems that can result to drinking with peers.