Teens suffer from alcoholism and it is a huge problem. Many people believe teens can’t suffer from alcoholism, but teenage alcoholism is actually a very severe problem. Unbelievably, kids between the ages of 12 and 20 actually have serious problems with alcohol. Many people believe this is not the case because the legal drinking age is 18, however that is not the case and ignoring the problem only makes it worse.
Facts of Teenage Alcoholism
It is amazing to learn that most teen boys try alcohol for the first time when they are 11 years old. Girls usually try alcohol around 13 years old. Almost half of all children age 14 have had at least one alcoholic drink and kids closer to 16 begin drinking regularly. When children start drinking before they are 15 years old then it is five times more likely to become dependent on alcohol when compared to kids who don’t drink until they turn 21.
Another problem with drinking alcohol early in life is that violence associated with alcohol consumption increases significantly. This is true for teenagers, adults, and anyone who drinks. This is very dangerous for other teens and individuals around the alcoholics because their safety may be at risk. There have been estimates that guess that there are more than three million teens that are dependent on alcohol. This makes them complete alcoholics, not just heavy drinkers who abuse alcohol. Then, there are millions more teens that have drinking problems they do not have control over. As you can see, this is a huge problem and it is only increasing. There are side effects and each year more than 5,000 teens die as a result of underage drinking.
The causes of many of these deaths include car wrecks, murders, and suicides. These are the top three causes of deaths for kids between the ages of 15 and 24. Alcohol almost always plays a role in deaths in all three of these categories.
Teens drink many times because they want to see what it is all about. They may wonder about the way it makes them feel and them enjoy that sensation and continue drinking. Other teens may have other underlying problems like behaviour problems, aggression, impulsiveness, and more will turn to alcohol. Teens are at risk of binge drinking. In general, kids around 13 years old begin binge drinking. This behaviour increases throughout the teen years, usually peaking between 18 and 22, then it gradually goes down. Those teens who binge drink more than once per week will find it difficult o achieve their goals. This can include graduating from college, getting a job, marriage, and even maintaining a relationship or employment.
There are other underlying problems that may exist with kids who binge drink. This could include anxiety, depression, antisocial personality disorder, and oppositional defiant disorder also known as ODD. It is not known whether alcohol abuse is a result of anxiety and depression or whether depression and anxiety lead to alcohol abuse.
It is sad to learn that adolescents who use alcohol are at an increased risk of committing suicide. They are at an increased risk of planning and attempting, and even thinking about, suicide. It is not known if drinking creates suicidal behaviour among young people or if the two behaviour are simply related.