In Drugs & Addictions

Alcohol Abuse and Teens

Alcohol abuse in teens leads to negatively affecting many aspects of a young person’s life. Issues with peer pressure, wanting to be accepted, and depression, all influence the choices a teen will make. Poor decision-making leads to trouble that can impact an entire future.

The idea of dealing with a teenager who’s struggling may be a little overwhelming. This information will provide insight and knowledge to help understand and recognize signs of alcohol abuse.

Role of a Parent

If you think your teenager is drinking, you’re probably correct. Alcohol abuse statistics report high percentages of underage drinking. it’s important to know the signs that lead to dangerous consumption and future problems.

If you can keep a line of communication open in this area; it’ll be your biggest help. Teens learn all about the dangers of drugs and alcohol from an early age; applying what they’ve learned to real-life situations and struggles with trying to fit in, can be challenging.

Common Misconceptions of a Teenager

Teenagers tend to believe they are invincible and brush off the dangers associated with things like addiction and drug abuse by believing it’ll never happen to them.

A lot of teenagers think alcohol abuse statistics are referring to behaviors common to a homeless person or an alcoholic.They can’t fully grasp and relate to the truth about an alcohol abuse definition pointing to them or their demographic.

It’s also common to hear a teenager refer to the fact that “everyone” is doing it; and, while, that may be true, it’s still not acceptable. Alcohol abuse facts in relation to teen drinking make it obvious that a lot of people are using alcohol.

Teenagers think they know everything; how much alcohol their body can handle, included. In truth, the results of this thinking could be deadly. Drinking excessively can lead to serious implications, including death.

It’s important for parents and teens to fully understand the trouble and danger that can occur in situations involving alcohol abuse.

What is alcohol and how does it turn into addiction? If you’re concerned about a teenager and you need answers; this information will help.

In this guide, you will learn:

  • What is Alcohol?
  • Alcohol Abuse Definition
  • Alcohol Abuse Facts
  • Signs of Alcohol Abuse
  • Alcohol Abuse Statistic

What is Alcohol?

Alcohol is a drug known as a depressant that slows down normal body functions. Typical side effects include impaired judgment, blurred vision, slurred speech, and unstable movements.

It is colorless and odorless but flammable and includes drinks like beer, wine, whiskey, vodka, and rum.

Although it is considered a drug; alcohol distribution and consumption is legal and regulated by individual government agencies. Laws are in place to

Alcohol Abuse Definition

Alcohol abuse is the consumption of alcohol on a regular basis or at a rate that is excessive.

There are many misconceptions about the true definition of alcohol abuse. It’s assumed that if a person drinks too much, he or she is automatically an alcoholic. Abusing alcohol does not automatically make a person an alcoholic. Alcohol abuse can, however; lead to alcohol dependence or alcoholism.

In order to be clinically labeled as a person who abuses alcohol, he or she must meet specific criteria. The guidelines for diagnosing a person were established by the American Psychiatric Association and are more detailed than the general definition.

There are four categories that are used to determine alcohol abuse in a person. Alcohol abuse is considered to be prevalent if, within a 12-month period of time, any of the following incidents occur as a result of alcohol consumption:

  1. Failure to maintain work, school or home-life productively. Incidents that would fall into this category could be: excessive absences from work, suspension from school, neglect of family)
  2. Disregarding safety. Examples of this could include driving while under the influence.
  3. Legal problems. Problems with the law could be anything from a minor in possession charge to arrests for fighting while under the influence or disorderly conduct charges.
  4. Problems with social life and relationships. Relation issues include problems with parents, relationships and friends.

Alcohol abuse can lead to alcoholism.

The medical definition of alcoholism is a disease in which the body becomes physically dependent on alcohol. The disease of alcoholism affects every aspect of a persons life, and has, in most cases, developed over time. People who are classified as an alcoholic, experience symptoms called withdrawals if there is no alcohol in their system.

Withdrawals can include:

  • Shaking
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Fever
  • Hallucinations

Alcohol Abuse Facts

The biggest concern, when looking at teenagers and alcohol abuse, is how it can manifest into larger problems with lasting ramifications.

The ability to become addicted increases as levels of consumption become more frequent.

Addiction, also known as, dependency, rarely occurs in the teen population; it comes on later in life if there is no control over how much is consumed, over a period of time.

The biggest problem for teenagers is the alcohol abuse known as “binge drinking.”

Binge drinking is statistically measured by the amount of alcoholic beverages a person consumes within a 2 hour time frame. Females who drink more than four beers, and males who drink more than five are considered to be in an extremely dangerous category of drinking.

In fact: Binge drinking is the most dangerous practice of alcohol abuse. The large amount of ingestion could result in complications on physical, emotional, and mental, levels.

Signs of Alcohol Abuse

  • Loss of interest in activities that used to be enjoyable
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Change in sleeping habits
  • Missing alcohol from the family’s home
  • Signs of hangovers (headache and vomiting)
  • Poor grades
  • Behavior issues

Alcohol Abuse Statistics

According to statistics taken from the website of the Center for Disease Control (most current, 2011); the most widely used drug within the teen population is alcohol. Based on surveys conducted by different organizations; all working to reduce underage drinking; large percentages of high school students admitted to consuming at least one alcoholic beverage

Alarming figures also point to teens who openly admit to riding with a driver was under the influence and driving under the influence, themselves.

In order to curb the problem of underage drinking; the CDC states that it’ll take a major effort on the part of communities who are united and committed to make changes.

Dangers of Drinking

The dangers of drinking excessively do not occur in teenagers, only. The majority of the dangers exist for adult drinkers as well. Underage drinking is against the law, and the law is there to protect people for a reason. The body and brain functions are not fully developed enough to behave like an adult when it comes to consuming alcohol.

Here are a few dangers involved in alcohol consumption:

  • Death
  • Hospitalization
  • Poor Grades
  • Bad Decisions

How to Get Help

If you suspect your teenager is in need of help and is suffering negatively due to alcohol abuse, the first step is contacting your primary doctor. Your doctor has access to resources that will be suitable for your child and the issues you and your family are facing.

Sources: http://www.drugfreeworld.org/drugfacts/alcohol.html, http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0387-dangers-teen-drinking,http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK44358/,http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/underage-drinking.htm

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