Teenage Alcohol Abuse Facts
The average age for a teenager’s first try of alcohol is 12 years old. Whether parents like it or not, teenagers are not only embracing alcohol at an early age, they are also suffering from the side effects that comes along with alcohol abuse. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, young people often drink a lot less than adults but when they drink, they drink a lot more. Usually a young person will have more than 5 drinks during one event or occasion, which puts them in the category of binge drinking.
There are many teenage alcohol abuse facts that parents should be aware of including the first signs of alcohol abuse:
- Parents should pay attention to any new academic issues in school or anything regarding changes in behavior. Absenteeism is usually high amongst teens suffering from alcohol abuse.
- If the teen has a dramatic change in friends or social circles, this can be a sign of an alcohol problem.
- Visible health issues like slurred speech, memory issues, poor coordination, or the smell of alcohol on the teen’s breath.
- Finding alcohol in a teens room or finding that alcohol is missing from within the home are usually more obvious signs.
Future Potential Problems
There are many problems, both physical and mental, that teens can suffer from while abusing alcohol.
- Issues with proper growth and sexual development. Depending how early a teen starts drinking, many different developmental stages can be affected.
- Early sexual activity, which then leads into other issues such as pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases due to sex with multiple partners.
- For those teens who black out due to too much alcohol, unwelcome sexual situations may occur like assault or rape. Those teens who drink are also more likely to commit sexual assault than those who do not drink.
- Brain development issues such as an inability to learn, problems with test taking and other memory issues.
- The increased likelihood of self-harm, including attempted suicide. Teens that drink are more likely to try this than those who don’t.
- Alcohol poisoning which can cause a teen to stop breathing, fall into a coma, or even die.
- Problems with the law including but not limited to: driving under the influence, traffic accidents, injuries caused by traffic accidents, assault on other people while under the influence, driving tickets, etc.
- The increased likelihood of alcohol dependence and eventual long term addiction.
Long Term Health Effects
Many teens will start drinking at a very young age and continue through their high school and college years, according to the Centers for Disease Control. If a teen continues to drink into their adult years, they can and will eventually suffer from long term alcohol abuse symptoms like:
- Liver disease
- Cardiovascular problems like hypertension, cardiomyopathy, and / or myocardial infarction.
- An increased chance of different cancers like mouth, throat, breast, liver and colon cancer.
- Neurological issues
- Brain damage
By taking time to go over teen alcohol abuse facts with young kids and teenagers, there is a potential of reduced risk of teen alcoholism. Teens will have the ability to see and understand the potential outcomes of the decisions they make regarding alcohol and will hopefully make wiser decisions.