Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse Among Teenagers
Alcohol is one of the most widely consumed products in the United States and the rest of the world. There are a number of reasons why individuals consume alcohol. Some would consume alcohol along with meals because of its ability to enhance the flavor of the meal being eaten. Others would consume alcohol as a means to unwind and relax. The legal age for a person in the United States to purchase and consume alcohol is 21 years old. However, it has been determined that there is an increase of teenagers who do not only consume alcohol, but who are what many health experts would consider as “alcohol dependent.”
Alcohol Abuse in the United States
The term “alcohol abuse,” according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, is defined as the excessive consumption of alcohol products. An individual who is suffering from alcohol abuse is considered to be an alcoholic. This person consumes a high quantity of alcoholic drinks because of his or her growing tolerance to the effects of the products over a long period of time. When the individual is unable to take any alcohol products, he or she would experience a number withdrawal symptoms ranging from intense craving for alcohol to suicidal or violent tendencies.
In the United States, there has been an alarming rise in the number of alcohol dependent teenagers in the country today. In fact, roughly half of teenagers between the ages of 13 – 19 years old have noted that the have consumed various alcoholic products. Out of this age range, 14% have stated that they have become extremely intoxicated at least once in a year. 8% of these teenagers have been known to consume a minimum of five alcoholic drinks one after the other at any given point in time.
Causes of Teenage Alcohol Abuse
Peer pressure has always been attributed to be one of the primary causes of teenage alcohol abuse. Teenagers are in the point of their lives where they would like to be accepted by their peers. They view alcohol drinking to be “cool” and part of socializing among those of their age groups.
There are also a number of other reasons that would trigger teenagers to take alcohol which could result to them becoming alcohol dependents. One is the family. Many studies have shown that teenagers who come from families where one or both of the parents are alcoholics would eventually become alcoholics themselves at a very young age. Teenagers who do not have a healthy relationship with their parents and those that experience harsh discipline measures from their parents are also prone to becoming alcoholics.
Symptoms of Teenage Alcohol Abuse
Apart from the obvious smell of alcohol on your teenager’s breath or skin, other symptoms that will tell a parent that their teenager has become an alcohol dependent are:
- Redness of the eyes and skin
- Extreme mood swings ranging from being extremely passive or violent
- Unkempt physical appearance
- Poor hygiene
- Memory loss
Effects of Teenage Alcohol Abuse
Unless no intervention is done to minimize teenage alcohol abuse in the country, the United States could expect an increase of other deviant behaviors seen among teenagers. Some of these would include:
- A rise in the number of teenage pregnancies occurring below the age of 18
- Increase in the number of teenagers dying due to car accidents
- Higher rate of high school and college drop outs
- A rise in the number of juvenile delinquents involved in drugs and violence.