It’s no secret that alcohol abuse is common amongst adolescents. What is surprising is that this group often gets overlooked by physicians when it comes to identifying and treating underage and problematic drinking.
A new study covered in a National Institutes of Health (NIH) article unveiled that only a little more than half of the 80 percent of high school sophomores surveyed who had recently seen their doctor said there had a been a discussion surrounding alcohol.
Although alcohol in the United States is legally restricted to people 21 and older, the 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that 39 percent of high school students reported drinking alcohol. Of those, 22 percent reported drinking in quantities that were great enough to qualify as binge drinking.
Alcohol consumption is associated with elevated risks of injury, dangerous sexual behaviors and crimes such as assault. When alcohol is consumed by an underage drinker, the risks may multiply due to increased levels of impulsivity among teens.
The average American teen tests their first glass of alcohol when they are between 14 and 15 years old. For some of these adolescents, their first tastes might just be a curious moment, but for others it may lead into a habit of experiencing heavy drinking binges. Studies show that the earlier in life an individual is exposed to alcohol and begins drinking heavily, the more risk they have of suffering from a serious alcohol-related problem later in life.
It seems that underage drinking is a major problem these days. Stories pop up in the news frequently about teens getting in trouble for drinking or parents being cited for allowing teens to drink at their home. The problem has always been around, but it seems worse than ever and can really keep you up at night as a parent. How do you rest easily at home knowing your child is out at a party? Can you trust the parents who said they would be supervising the party? Is your teen telling the truth when she claims that there is no alcohol at the parties that she attends? What if there is alcohol, but she promises that she does not drink?
High school is a time for rapid physical and mental development, leading to much self-examination and comparison to peers. Students often feel peer pressure as a factor in making decisions about their behaviors. When it comes to making decisions about substance use, the social group is very influential.
Unfortunately, your teen may not only be meeting and exchanging news with friends when he/she visits online social media sites. While there, they may also very likely be viewing trendy advertising for major alcohol brands. Worse yet, many of these brands are advertising the option to purchase alcohol over the Internet and underage teens are taking advantage of the opportunity.
As children develop into adolescents, they naturally feel the urge to experiment with new things. Growth and discovery are a healthy part of aging, but not all new things are healthy. Many adolescents are having their first alcoholic drinks when they are only 12 years old, and researchers are finding that teens who experiment with one risky behavior, like drinking or drugs, are more likely to experiment with other risky behaviors like unprotected sex.
Drinking prior to reaching the legal age has less to do with enjoying the taste or even the experience than it does with the peer pressure involved. Regardless of the reasons, however, kids are consuming alcohol and winding up in the hospital as a result.
A recent study on teens shows that the amount of time spent watching drinking in movie scenes is linked to your teen’s chances of drinking themselves. The study also discovered that teens who own clothing that bears alcoholic logos were more likely to drink and later become binge drinkers, according to The Washington Post.