Alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence are not only adult problems. They also affect many teens between the ages of 12 and 18, even though drinking under the age of 19 is illegal. The topic of alcohol first came up when I was in grade 8 and became even more popular in high school. In high school alcohol was more readily available thanks to absent-minded parents who didn’t hide their alcohol and older students willing to make some quick cash by selling to minors.
While some parents may feel relieved that their teen is “only” drinking, it is important to remember that alcohol is a powerful, mood-altering drug. Not only does alcohol affect the mind and body in unpredictable ways, but teens lack the judgment and coping skills to handle alcohol wisely. Some teenagers are brought up with the attitude that drinking is pure evil. But most of the time this just causes rebellious behavior and makes them want to try it even more, and once they try it they could possibly get addicted. According to associate professor Deborah Deas and assistant professor Suzanne Thomas from the Medical University of South Carolina, more senior high school students use alcohol than any other drug. Once a teenager gets completely smashed they are likely to do it again. Why? Well they will tell you that it’s fun, unless of course they had a really bad experience while drunk. The teens that do have fun will most likely continue drinking.
Some teens will experiment and stop, or continue to use occasionally, without significant problems. Others will develop a dependency, possibly moving on to more dangerous drugs and causing significant harm to themselves and possibly others. Sometimes drinking once a week can lead to 4 times a week or more, as I have witnessed with a few friends. Unfortunately, teenagers often don’t see the link between their actions today and the consequences tomorrow.
Many teens have tried alcohol because of a peer or wanting to fit into a group. For instance: You are with one of your close friends at a party. Everyone is drinking including your friend. They are having a great time and you really want to join in.
This is good example of how many teens have their first drink. The feeling of being left out of the fun is very hard to...