Teen alcoholism is defined as continuously having five or more drinks at one go by an underage. Teen alcoholism is usually not taken as seriously as it should be, because it is often excused as, 'it's a passing phase,' or "she's getting over her boyfriend."
Teen alcoholism is a behaviour pattern that needs to be identified early to avoid serious consequences. Whether the influence is genetically passed down from parents or developed from social and peer pressures, teen alcoholism is very much actively present, and affects millions of teens every year, even though underage drinking is illegal.
What can teen alcoholism lead to?
- The earlier an individual begins drinking, the greater is the degree of alcohol intoxication experienced on drinking occasions in adulthood.
- Early age of drinking is also associated with alcohol-related violence not only among teens, but among adults as well.
- The three leading causes of death among 15 to 24 year olds are automobile accidents, suicides and homicides - alcohol is the leading cause in all three.
Does alcohol lead to brain damage?
Alcohol is a neurotoxin, which means it can poison the brain.
One of the effects of excessive alcohol use is that it interferes with vitamin B absorption; thus preventing the brain from functioning properly.
Long term binge drinking can lead to a range of disorders, collectively known as alcohol related brain damage. Symptoms include learning and memory problems, and difficulties with balance.
What are you heading towards if you are a teen alcoholic?
- Alcohol-related car crashes are a major cause of death among teens. Alcohol use is linked with teen deaths by drowning, suicide.
- Teens who drink alcohol are more likely to become sexually active at earlier ages, to have unsafe sexual practices more often. It also leads to sexual assault cases.
- Young people who drink are more likely than others to be victims of violent crime, including rape and robbery.
- Teens who drink are more likely to have problems with academic work and discipline.
- A young teen is four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than someone who waits until adulthood to start using alcohol
Responsible parents can deal with teen alcoholism effectively:
Parents can't prevent their teenager from experimenting with alcohol, but they can encourage sensible drinking habits. Suggestions include:
- Start talking to your child about alcohol abuse from an early age.
- Explain the downside of heavy drinking, such as vomiting, head spins, passing out and hangovers.
- Educate them about alcohol and aggressive behaviour, such as unsafe sex, crime.
- Teach them sensible drinking tactics such as standard drink recommendations, alternating alcohol drinks with non-alcoholic beverages and not drinking in an empty stomach.
- Encourage your teen to talk about the dangers of alcohol with their friends, so they can come up with ways to look after and restrain each other.