Teenage alcoholism is the excessive and progressive use of alcohol in adolescents and young adults between the age of 12 and 20. Though consumption of alcohol by people under 21 is illegal, a significant number of teenagers are facing problems of excessive drinking.
The causes of teenage alcoholism are quite different from that of adult alcoholism. While most adults take up drinking when faced with problems, most teenagers start drinking as a celebration, for excitement or under peer pressure. Other causes may include lack of parental support, harsh inconsistent discipline or rejection in any form by the society or family members. Parents’ drinking behavior may also cause a teenager to start drinking early in life. Peer drinking and pressure have also been associated with teenage drinking. Confusion, anxiety, depression and inability to manage one's emotional state may lead a teenager to excessive drinking. Influence of media, especially advertisements that make alcohol attractive is another cause of teenage alcoholism.
According to researchers, teenagers who begin to drink alcohol before the age of 15 are four times more likely to develop alcoholism than those who drink after the age of 21. It has been estimated that about 3 million teenagers in US suffer from alcoholism. The dangers associated with teenage alcoholism are death, health problems, behavior disorders, and legal implications. Accidents like car crashes, drowning, burns, homicides and often unintentional injuries because of violent behavior have been seen to lead to deaths and suicides. Since the brain of a teenager is still under a developing process, excessive consumption of alcohol can affect not only in its development but also the thinking abilities and memory power. Behavior disorders like violent behavior and impulsiveness are generally seen in teenagers with heavy drinking problems. Since it is illegal to drink under the age of 21, teenagers found with an increased alcohol content in the blood can be penalized or arrested.
Teenagers with warning signs of alcoholism should be immediately checked and treated as this could lead to serious health problems and can scar their future permanently.
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