Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Guest Post: Effects of Alcoholism and Behavioral Problems with Teenagers


Occasionally, I get offers for guest posts.  I thought that this one would be helpful for those parents who might have a teenage child.  Some of my questions in reading this are:
1. Alcoholism may also lead to use of drugs.  What are the statistics on that?
2. How is the best way to educate young people about the dangers of drinking? 3. Recent research has shown that a single gene variation is connected to alcoholism.  If alcoholism can be traced to a particular gene or combination of genes, then couldn't it be helpful in identifying youngsters at risk of becoming alcoholics and perhaps lead to early prevention efforts?

Many thanks to Adeline for writing the article. Please provide your comments and questions.  Hopefully, Adeline will be able to provide her responses.

Effects of Alcoholism and Behavioral Problems with Teenagers

Alcohol addiction may be one of the problems that parents may experience with teens. If you are not aware of how alcohol affects your teen, you may be putting them in danger and at far greater risks than you can imagine. That’s why the first thing that you have to do as a parent is to know why your child may be suffering from alcoholism.

Reasons for Alcoholism
There can be many reasons why a teenager may result to alcohol abuse. Some concerned parents have asked whether alcoholism can be inherited. While genetics is not a determinant of alcohol abuse, it increases the risk for related behaviors. For example, a teen growing up in a household where another relative is an alcoholic is more likely to exhibit the same likeness for alcohol. Peer pressure can also be a factor for teenage drinking. Teens are concerned with fitting in with the crowd, so turning down a bottle of beer from a friend can have serious social side effects. At first this may not lead to alcohol abuse, but in the long term, it can definitely turn a social drinker into an alcoholic. Drinking large amounts of alcoholic beverages can also be an expression of independence. It makes teens feel that they are doing something that grownups can do freely. Whatever their reason may be, once teenagers get used to drinking too often (and too much), it can lead to alcoholism.

Behavior Problems Related to Alcoholism 
It is no secret that being drunk blurs one’s perception and reasoning. Teens are more likely to do careless actions that may later put them in danger (or worse, in jail) because of drinking. Teenagers who drink more than they should at one time are more likely to display aggressive, hyperactive, attention-seeking, uncontrollable, and dangerous behavior in public. Stealing, fighting with weapons, vandalizing, practicing unsafe sex – these are just some behaviors that are common among teenagers who are under the influence of alcohol. They may even be more of a danger to others than to themselves, especially when they get  behind the wheel of a car. Did you know that 28% of 15- to 20-year old teens have died in car crashes because of drunk driving? Clearly, alcohol abuse among teenagers is NOT normal, and it is NOT part of the growing up phase.

Aside from these dangerous and destructive acts, alcohol addiction in teenagers can also lead to psychological distress. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration also shows that 31% of alcoholic teenagers suffer from extreme levels of distress that can lead to depression and even suicide. As for those who have not yet hit rock bottom, the effects of too much drinking are evident in the classroom. A drinking problem can make a teenager inefficient in school, causing him or her to fall behind classes or eventually drop out. Too much alcohol consumption damages the brain and the nervous system, which could impede learning abilities.

If we do not do anything to educate teens on moderate drinking, we could be in for a total disaster.

About the Author
Adeline is a writer and stay-at-home parent from Winnipeg. She writes about students, teenagers, and touchy subjects such as alcohol addiction in teenagers for The Family Compass, and other online publications.

References
Casa Palmera: The Effects of Alcohol Abuse on Teens;
[http://casapalmera.com/the-effects-of-alcohol-abuse-on-teens/]

Alcohol Cost Calculator: Teens’ Alcohol Problems;
[http://www.alcoholcostcalculator.org/kids/teens/print-teens.php]

Project Know: Teen Problems with Alcoholism;
[http://www.projectknow.com/research/teen-problems-with-alcoholism/]

9 comments:

  1. I don't know the statistics regarding the genetics of alcoholism, but I do know that going to my husband's family reunion was a huge eye-opener for both my husband and my son. It was about 100 degrees in the shade. There were only two groups of family members hanging around together. There was the group drinking and getting drunk and the group sitting around in a circle and talking about their program. All the in-laws were in the pool.

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  2. solid article...have seen this play out in many of the teenagers that i have worked with...and they are not the easiest to get to believe it is a problem esp if they have been left to their own devices...

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  3. Love your blog! I've been doing a lot of research into alcohol rehab and addiction and I've found your article really helpful, thank you!

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  4. I wonder if alcoholism leads to psychological distress or if it's the other way around?

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  5. My first drink was from my Dad's bottles. I wanted to escape the insanity at home and thought alcohol was a good solution. crazy huh...

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  6. Interesting post, many thanks.


    I do think a number of teens have grown up in homes where drinking was part of daily life and they internalised the messages that life without alcohol is no fun. They also saw parents come home stressed and say,'I really need a drink.' Teens from homes where alcohol was not necessarily abused but seen as a social lubricant are often not aware of dangers when they begin to drink with a peer group. Teen alcoholism really stops any kind of growth towards adulthood and does so much emotional damage.

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  7. Great read. Many people don't realize that most addicts always started out with a drink. It is so important to nip it in the bud, like others commented, because they stop maturing and growing when the disease sets in. It takes years, many years to recover. Great post!

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  8. I believe I was an alcoholic from my day of birth, I was just waiting for a drink, not even knowing it. I think it is telling that my childhood friends are all alcoholics - we had something in common long before ever having the "symptom." I also think it is interesting that offspring of alcoholics, adopted by non-drinkers, are often alcoholic from the first alcohol that enters their system.

    It is an illness, and it is not volitional. I had the "distress" long before I had the drink.

    I can recover when I surrender to the disease, and quit drinking altogether. Behavioral modification - trying to drink in moderation - is impossible for me. It would be like standing in front of a freight train, telling it to slow down.

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  9. Now a days more teenagers were addicted for drugs and alcohol including girls.This blog fully explained about what are the main reasons for teenagers addicted for alcoholics and how to cure those people from that suffers.
    Drug Addiction Interventions

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Let me know what you think. I like reading what you have to say.