Teen Alcohol Abuse
Adults are not the only ones who can suffer from alcohol abuse. Many teenagers are at risk of developing an alcohol abuse problem due to the accessibility of the substance and peer pressure. Out of all drugs used by teenagers, alcohol is used the most frequently, per the National Institute on Drug Abuse. In fact, around 10% of 8th graders, 21% of 10th graders, and 35% of 12th graders were current alcohol drinkers in 2015.
Many teenagers who choose to drink can easily develop an abuse problem due to binge drinking. Binge drinking is defined as drinking at least five drinks in two hours or less.
Teenagers who have an alcohol abuse problem may exhibit signs and symptoms to indicate there is a problem. Teen alcohol abuse symptoms include:
- Having alcohol paraphernalia.
- Becoming violent or abusive toward others.
- Staying away from family.
- Mood swings.
- Changing social circles.
- Breaking curfew or other rules.
- Smelling of alcohol.
Teen alcohol abuse may not seem like a huge issue; however, alcohol is considered a drug and must be treated as one. Alcohol has the ability to alter moods. Most teenagers cannot handle the effects of alcohol and are not responsible enough to deal with it. While many parents and guardians assume other drugs, such as marijuana, are worse than alcohol, they must realize how easily accessible alcohol is, and how much damage it can do to a teen.
Teens who abuse alcohol are at an increased risk in a number of ways. As studies have shown, teens that drink are more sexually active and participate in unprotected sex more often than teens who do not consume alcohol. These teens are also at an increased risk of becoming a victim of rape, robbery or assault.
According to the National Institute of Health, teens who abuse alcohol at a young age are much more likely to develop a dependency on alcohol when they get older. Teen alcohol abuse can also result in poor grades and troubled behavior.
Not only can alcohol abuse alter how a teen acts, it can also have adverse effects on the brain. Studies show that brain development continues past the teenage years. Alcohol abuse during the brain’s formative years can negatively impact how the brain develops and can also lead to learning problems.