Teenage Alcohol AbuseThe effects of teen alcohol abuse make for scary reading but that's no reason to bury your head in the sand
There isn't a day that goes past when we don't hear of the consequences of teen alcohol abuse: Car accidents, unwanted pregnancies, suicides, alcohol poisonings, violence and depression are not just events we hear of on the radio or read in the newspaper, they are the results of teenage alcohol abuse that effect our communities and our families.
Being aware of the consequences of teen alcohol abuse can motivate us, and our children, to do something about it.
How Prevalent Is Teenage Alcohol Abuse?
Teenage alcohol abuse has reached epidemic proportions in the country as it continues to be a burgeoning problem among adolescents. According to a national survey, an astounding 72% of teenagers in the 8th to 12th grades have already experimented with alcohol while 11.4% of the alcoholic drinks sold in the country are consumed by teens.
Alcohol is the most used and abused drug by American teenagers. Although these figures are truly alarming what makes the statistics grimmer is the fact that people who start consuming alcohol before the age of 15 are four times more likely to have alcohol addiction related issues in the future.
Teens who abuse alcohol are highly susceptible to other forms of substance abuse including the use illicit drugs such as cocaine.
Teenagers who are prone to binge drinking are also known to have academic problems, delinquent behavior, suicidal and/or criminal tendencies.
The statistics on teenagers and alcohol abuse do not make for pretty reading. Each year almost 1500 people die in motor vehicle accidents involving teenage drunk drivers On top of this, 5000 deaths are reported in people below the age of 21 that are attributed to the health ramifications of binge drinking.
The consequences of teen alcohol abuse stretch far below the social fabric as youngsters who develop a taste for alcohol early on in life face problems such as:
Poor or failing grades along with other scholastic problems like higher absenteeism
Social issues such as lack of participation and a tendency to get into fights
Legal concerns such as DUIs and causing physical hurt to someone while under the influence of alcohol
Health concerns such as hangovers, ulcers etc
Propensity to indulge in unprotected and unplanned sexual activity
Experience disruption in normal sexual development and physical growth
Tendency for physical and sexual assault
Higher risk for committing homicide and suicide
Susceptibility to unintentional injuries such as burns, drowning and injuries
Changes in brain development that may have long standing psychological and neurological impact
Risk of death from alcohol poisoning
Psychological problems such as depression and mood disorders
Four times more likely to commit theft outside their homes
Three times more likely to inflict grievous harm on themselves or others
Three times more likely to get into fights and destroy property
Five times more likely to run away from home
In general, youngsters who binge drink are at a higher risk of experiencing the problems mentioned above than those who drink occasionally and consume alcohol in moderate amounts.
To analyze the impact of alcohol abuse on teenagers, it is imperative to understand the difference between alcohol abuse and alcoholism.
The Difference Between Teenage Alcohol Abuse and Teenage Alcoholism
Alcohol abuse is the overuse or the misuse of alcohol that can have a negative bearing on the drinker's personal and professional life including his/her relationships and finances.
Alcoholism is taking substance abuse one step further. It is an addiction that is marked by a persistent craving for alcohol, loss of control after drinking, high tolerance to alcohol, physical dependence on alcohol and the exhibition of withdrawal symptoms upon the cessation of alcohol use. While alcoholism is categorized as a treatable disease, alcohol abuse is the precursor to the condition.
Our FREE E-bookThe Parents Guide to Alcohol and Drug Abuse and Prevention is aimed at those parents who wish to stay abreast of their children's alcohol and drug use. The guide shows you how to spot the signs of substance abuse and what to do if you suspect your child is abusing alcohol and/or drugs. Catching teen drug and alcohol abuse early, can save a lot of heartache later. Your teenager may not thank you now, but a few years down the road they'll be truly grateful you intervened and saved them from a young life of addiction.
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Deborah Morrow, M.S. Addiction Psychology, is the director of treatment programs for The Alcoholism Guide website. In her practice Deborah provides on-line coaching and support for those dependent on alcohol or who require other services such as relapse prevention or court mandated services. (Read More)