Alcohol is a dangerous substance. As a society, our focus sways from alcoholism due to the high usage of drugs like opiates. Even though focus is pulled from the consumption of alcohol, it is still a huge problem in our society. Individuals between the ages of 12-20 years old drink 11% of the alcohol consumed in the United States. The statistics on alcohol are ever growing. Take a look at this page of statistics from the CDC.
So, is teen drinking getting out of control? This article will take a look at the facts when it comes to teen drinking, and how you can talk to your children about the dangers of alcohol.
It is estimated that around 13 children are admitted to the hospital in any given day for alcohol related injuries. Studies have shown that the rates of binge drinking are highest among teens. Alcohol can be a mind-altering substance, and because teens are still developing; drinking alcohol can cause detrimental effects on their health. Not only does alcohol have health consequences, but it can also have other consequences in a teens life. Let’s take a look at some of the complications caused by underage drinking.
- Social interactions: Many teens drift from their typical social interactions.
- Physical issues: Hangovers and other illnesses are a common issue with drinking.
- Alcohol related car accidents: A staggering number of teens are killed and injured in alcohol related car accidents.
- Changes in brain development and chemistry: Alcohol can change the brain chemistry for teens who are still developing mentally.
- Memory issues
- Suicide and homicide risks are significantly increased for those who consume alcohol
- Death due to alcohol poisoning: It is estimated that there are 4,358 teen deaths per years caused by alcohol consumption.
- Legal issues: Being arrested and jailed is a common consequence of consuming alcohol.
Check out this link from the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism on underage drinking.
Why Do Teens Drink?
There are many reasons for a teen to decide to drink. Let’s take a look at the most common situations for underage alcohol consumption.
- Family issues, parents who have alcohol problems, and other conflicts.
- A history of sexual or physical abuse.
- Major traumas in their childhood.
- Behavior issues, mental health issues.
- Peer pressure from other teens.
- Lack of activities to be involved in
How can I Help Prevent my Teen from Underage Drinking?
There are many things you can do to help prevent your teen from drinking alcohol.
- Talk to your teen: Be sure to talk to your teen about what they are feeling. Talk about drinking and be open to their answers.
- Debunk alcoholism: Many teens are under the impression that alcohol is a drug that makes people happy. Discuss that alcohol is actually a depressant, and that it causes sadness and even anger.
- Be open and honest: Be open and honest about any past alcohol problems you may have had.
- Handling peer pressure: Discuss with your teen the importance of withstanding peer pressure, and ways to handle it.
- Answer questions: Be prepared to answer any questions your teen may have. Looking into ways probable questions before you confront them is a good idea.
- Know what your teen is doing: Make sure you know what your teen’s activities are. Of course you don’t want to smother them, but it’s important to know their whereabouts in case of an emergency.
- Make rules and reinforce consequences: Always make it known that there are rules that should be followed. When these rules are broken, there are consequences that follow.
- Be an example: Be the example that your teen can look too for guidance.
- Encourage healthy relationships: Encourage your teen to hang out with those who do not partake in alcohol. Participating in sports and extra-curricular activities is a great place to start.
Many times, we see the problem after it is too late. If this is the case with your teen, it is vital that you seek the appropriate help. If you are located in the Pensacola, Florida area check out the Pensacola alcoholics anonymous meeting. You can also look to recipes and remedies to help ease your teens addiction. Using food to break an addiction is a common and useful practice.