Teenagers and Alcohol
Adolescent stage is one of the most crucial phases in an individual’s life. It is a period where people get curious with a lot of things and experiment on different things that catch their interests. One of the things that teenagers love to experiment with is alcohol. Alcohol and teenagers have been always a present problem at home, school, and the society. A survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that nearly 75% of teenagers drink alcohol.
When a child grows and becomes teenagers, most of them spend time with their friends longer and frequently stay outside or away from home. It is during this time when they get a chance to try different things such as drinking alcoholic beverage (Boesky 115).
Drinking alcohol especially at an early age, such as in the case of teenagers, is an issue because alcohol has a lot of adverse effects on a human’s body. Alcohol is a depressant that can slow down the function of a person’s central nervous system.
When a person drinks alcohol, different effects on a person can be observed. A person may feel dizzy, become talkative, vomit, and become disoriented and intoxicated when he or she drinks alcohol. When people become heavily intoxicated with alcohol, this may render them incapable of managing their condition and make the situation complicated because they might do something that can harm themselves as well as other people. In addition, experts believe that alcohol may have a great effect on a teen’s developing brain. Thus, drinking alcohol among teenagers is a very serious issue to focus on (Dowshen).
Teenagers always struggle whether to drink alcohol or not to drink at all. Yet, there are a number of reasons why teenagers engage themselves into this kind of activity. The first and most common reason is curiosity. As curious individuals, teenagers want to see and feel how alcohol tastes and the effects it can bring to their body and emotions. Seeing adults and other teenagers drink alcohol also makes them curious to try and experience it for themselves (Schaefer 112).
Another reason is peer pressure; adolescents usually have a sense of belonging to a certain group of individuals. Thus, peer pressure has a great impact on why teenagers try and learn how to drink alcohol. It is common among teens that what one does should be also done by the rest of the group to be able to fit in and be accepted. If one person in the group does not follow or do what the rest of the group is doing, the person might be kicked out from the group or feel left out (Schaefer 112; America’s Teens, Experts at KidsPeace, and Radev 9).
In addition to this, it is said that teenagers drink alcohol in order to feel good, reduce their stress, and feel relaxed. Teens believe that alcohol is a good way of relaxing and reducing their stress or problems due to the effects and feelings that they feel when they drink alcohol and it is also what other people usually tell them whenever they are stress or have problems in their lives (America’s Teens, Experts at KidsPeace, and Radev 9).
Teens’ drinking behavior may also be triggered by their desire to look “cool, mature or grown up, knowledgeable and adventurous” (America’s Teens, Experts at KidsPeace, and Radev 9). It can be seen on television, magazines, newspapers, and billboards that alcohol portrays these images to a person who drinks. Hence, it is not surprising that numerous teenagers are persuaded to try alcohol because they want to portray the same image that they see and want to have (America’s Teens, Experts at KidsPeace, and Radev 9).
Adolescents also drink alcohol to rebel against their parents and defy the norms. There are teenagers who are pressured by problems at home such as having strict parents, a broken family, and other family problems Thus, they see drinking alcohol as a sign of rebellion to their parents and an indication of their independence (America’s Teens, Experts at KidsPeace, and Radev 9).
Teenagers also drink alcohol because they see “their parents, siblings, relatives, authority figures, celebrities,” and other people they revere drink alcohol as well, setting an example for them to emulate (America’s Teens, Experts at KidsPeace, and Radev 9). As these significant people in the life of teenagers are a source of great influence for them, when they see that these people drink alcohol, they will think that such a behavior is acceptable, a normal part of life and socializing. Lastly, teens do drink alcohol simply because they think it is a thrilling experience (America’s Teens, Experts at KidsPeace, and Radev 9).
Since alcohol has several effects on a human’s body and mind, looking at all the possibilities and effects that alcohol can bring to a teenager’s life is very important. Numerous studies identify and enumerate the different effects of drinking alcohol to a teenager regardless of whether the teenager is a light drinker, heavy drinker, or binge drinker. When a person is under the influence of alcohol, he or she usually loses control of him- or herself and is oftentimes not aware of what is he or she is doing. This usually brings trouble to the person or teenager who drinks alcohol and gets drunk. It is possible that teenagers will engage themselves in different activities such as vandalizing, shoplifting, committing crimes, and having unprotected sex, which might cause them to develop a sexually transmitted infection or may result in pregnancy for women. Alcohol may also drive them to commit suicide attempts. It may also cause them to drive while intoxicated, which can lead to serious physical injury or even death. Alcohol can also disrupt a teenager’s life once they get addicted to it; his or her studies may be negatively affected due to his or her inability to pay special attention in school, which may lead to poor performance and eventually, expulsion. Adolescents may also acquire a serious physical health problem from drinking alcohol, such as losing or gaining weight, developing negative effects on the liver, kidneys, and brain, alcohol poisoning, and other diseases that they can possibly acquire from drinking alcohol especially when they drink excessively. Furthermore, alcohol, especially when taken in excess, can also have detrimental effects to the mental health of teenagers. Such effects to the mental state of a teenager include depression, memory problems, increase in violent behavior, changes in attitudes and moods, and development of abnormal or mental problems such as paranoia or psychoses (America’s Teens, Experts at KidsPeace and Radev 15).
Preventing teenagers from drinking alcohol seems impossible, most especially for parents. However, parents and friends of teenagers should be aware of whether or not they are already drinking alcohol and worse, getting addicted to it. Parents play a very important role in educating their children about drinking alcohol. They should explain all the things that their child should know such as its effects their mental and physical health. Telling when to drink and the purpose of drinking alcohol is also essential for teenagers so that one will not engage in excessive drinking. As parents or elders cannot watch and see what teenagers do when they are not around, there is a possibility that these teens can get alcohol from their homes or other places and drink anytime they want and whenever they get the chance to do it. Therefore, it is crucial to watch out for the different signs and symptoms indicative of drinking alcohol. Such symptoms include having the smell of alcohol, redness in the eyes, indifferent behavior, and other manifestations of drunkenness. Moreover, parents should establish a good and open relationship with their children and should set as a good example to them so that these children will not think of doing something that is not pleasant like drinking alcohol. Discussing with teenagers when to say no and how to say no is also very important, and setting rules about drinking alcohol will also help them deal with the possible dangers and effects that can happen when they drink alcohol. Schools should also be aware of this problem to help lessen the number of teenagers who consume and abuse alcoholic beverage. Including alcohol awareness in the school’s program or curriculum may help the teenagers be informed and knowledgeable about the possible effects that alcohol can bring to them. Lastly, teenagers should also be responsible enough for themselves and for their actions since at their age, they can already think for themselves and have the ability to discern right from wrong actions (Boesky 130).
In conclusion, drinking alcoholic beverage is normal and not bad as long as the person does not take it in excess and knows all the limitations and effects of drinking alcohol. Drinking at the right age and at the right amount is also important so that one can avoid its dangerous effects and consequences.
America’s Teens, Experts at KidsPeace, and Anna Radev. I’ve Got This Friend Who…:
Advice for Teens and Their Friends on Alcohol, Drugs, Eating Disorders, Risky Behavior, and More. Center City, Minnesota: Hazelden, 2007.
Boesky, Lisa. When to Worry: How to Tell if Your Teens Need Help — and What to Do
About It. New York: AMACOM, 2007.
Dowshen, Steven. “Alcohol”. Kidshealth.org. November 2006. 26 November 2008
Schaefer, Dick. Choices & Consequences: What to Do When a Teenager Uses
Alcohol/Drugs. Center City, Minnesota: Hazelden, 1998.
Cite this Teenagers and Alcohol
Teenagers and Alcohol. (2017, Jan 31). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/teenagers-and-alcohol/