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.
Casa Palmera: The Effects of Alcohol Abuse on Teens;
Alcohol Cost Calculator: Teens’ Alcohol Problems;
Project Know: Teen Problems with Alcoholism;