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Teen Drinking Essay

1036 words - 4 pages

The average American begins drinking at 15 years old, despite the fact that the legal drinking age in the United States is 21 years old. Underage alcohol use is more likely to kill young people than all illicit drugs combined. I believe that raising the drinking age to 25 years old can save many young lives.

Affects of Adolescent Drinking
Adolescent drinking affects a child's mind, body and future.
Adolescence is the between childhood and adulthood. During this time alcohol use may interrupt brain development. Hippocampus, the part of the brain important forfvb fg learning and memory has been proven to be smaller in people that have started drinking in a young age. In a recent study where short-term memory skills in alcohol dependent and non-dependent teenagers were studied the conclusion was that alcohol dependent teens had a harder time remembering words and simple math equations. Judgment and self-control are reduced, speech may be slurred; balance, vision, reaction time and hearing will be impaired. Alcoholism also causes damage to the brain. Alcoholics may suffer from lack of concentration. The alcoholic may also have "blackouts," occasional onsets of memory lapses, and possibly complete memory loss. They may also have more serious forms of brain damage.
It has been estimated that 3 million teenagers are alcoholics. Drinking as an adolescent can turn into an alcohol dependency as an adult, which could lead to many health problems. There are three types of diseases of the liver you can get from alcohol: Alcoholic cirrhosis, Alcoholic hepatitis and Fatty liver (all of these are deadly!!!). The physical effects of alcoholism are bad. Excessive in-take and extended use of alcohol can cause serious disturbances in body chemistry. "Many alcoholics exhibit swollen and tender livers. Drinking large amounts of alcohol during a long period of time without a healthy diet may cause serious liver damage, such as cirrhosis of the liver." Alcoholism also causes loss of muscular control. "The condition, delirium tremens, known primarily to heavy drinkers, causes hallucinations along with loss of control of muscular functioning." When this condition develops and the alcoholic slows their drinking, withdrawal syndrome can and usually does. This may include agitation, tremors, seizures, and hallucinations.

Social Consequences
Car crashes are the leading cause of death among youth ages 15 to 20 years old. Adolescents already are at a high risk being inexperienced drivers. Drivers younger that 21 are more likely to have alcohol-induced impairment of driving skills than older drivers. The rate of fatal crashes among alcohol involved drivers between 16-23 is more than twice the rate for alcohol involved drivers 24 and older.
Sexual assault, including rape, occurs mostly with women in late in late teens and early twenties, usually with a date. In a survey, approximately 10 percent of female high school students reported having been raped....

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