Why do teens drink alcohol?
Legally, citizens within the United States are not allowed to consume alcohol until the age of 21. However, as most people already know, the majority of “minors” have already experimented with alcohol long before their 21st birthday. In fact, according to the National Center of Addiction and Substance Abuse, almost 80 percent of high school students have at least tried alcohol.
As a result, alcohol consumption is an important topic to discuss with today’s youth. Deciding whether or not to drink is a personal decision that everyone must eventually make. The most important thing is to be informed and at least educated when it comes time to decide Yes or No.
Alcohol — The Basics
Alcohol is created when grains, fruits or vegetables are fermented. During the process of fermentation, yeast or bacteria alters the ingredients and the sugars traditionally found in food are transformed into alcohol.
When alcohol is consumed it enters the individual’s bloodstream and subsequently affects the central nervous system. Since alcohol is a depressant, it slows down the function of the central nervous system and actually blocks important messages being sent to the brain. Consequently, the perceptions, emotions, movement, vision and hearing is altered.
Scientists have concluded that alcohol consumption is especially harmful to teens because the human brain is still developing in adolescence.
If consumed in reasonable amounts, alcohol can help a personal feel more relaxed and less anxious and is why many consume it in the first place. However, when alcohol is consumed at a greater pace the changes in the brain result in intoxication. This can be done unintentionally, but often is the result of binge drinking.
Signs of an intoxicated individual include:
- Confusion and disorientation
- Delayed reaction time
- Difficulty walking
- Loss of coordination
- Slurred speech
People who are drunk often change their behavior as some become very friendly and chatty while others get aggressive or angry.
If alcohol is consumed in moderation a person will likely fall asleep and at worse, have a hangover the following morning. However, if consumed in large amounts, alcohol can have tragic consequences — even death.
Alcohol poisoning is essentially the equivalent to inhaling carbon monoxide or any other harmful type of poison. The body has become poisoned with large amounts of alcohol and if not immediately treated, the individual could die.
Signs of alcohol poisoning:
- Difficulty breathing
- Extreme sleepiness
- Intense vomiting
- Low blood sugar
- Low body temperature
- Pale skin
- Unconsciousness (will not wake up)
NOTE: If you think someone is suffering from alcohol poisoning call 911 immediately! It’s much more important to save a life rather than fear punishment from parents or authorities for drinking alcohol underage.
Alcohol Among Teens
Alcohol is the most frequently used drug by teenagers in the United States. According to the MarinInstitute.org:
- About half of junior high and senior high school students drink alcohol on a monthly basis, and 14 percent of teens have been intoxicated at least once in the past year
- Nearly 8 percent of teens who drink say they drink at least five or more alcoholic drinks in a row (binge drink)
- The younger a person is when they begin drinking, the more likely they are to develop a problem with alcohol
- Each year, almost 2,000 people under the age of 21 years die in car crashes in which underage drinking is involved. Alcohol is involved in nearly half of all violent deaths involving teens.
- More than three times the number of eighth-grade girls who drink heavily said they have attempted suicide compared to girls in that grade who do not drink
- Teens who drink are more likely to engage in sexual activity, have unprotected sex, have sex with a stranger, or be the victim or perpetrator of a sexual assault
- Excess alcohol use can cause or mask other emotional problems, like anxiety or depression. Drinking in excess can lead to the use of other drugs, like marijuana, cocaine, or heroin
dontforgetme121 on Saturday, October 8, 2011 at 1:01 am
wow they pretty much said all teens do lol really i cant even stand next to a beer let alone drink it
hipsterhilter on Monday, August 8, 2011 at 12:41 pm
This article has to be the most stupid and patronising thing ever, unless literally no one in America has ever seen or drunk alcohol before.
The whole side effects section is a load of BS. That is not what you get after moderate drinking, that sounds like someone who has had at least 7-8pints (568ml), an excessive amount. When it says 5 drinks is binging, it never says what measurements. If its is 5 of those tiny American cans (330ml) then most likely your actually sober up during the night. It takes a lot more to get a hangover and even then hangovers are so easy to prevent: plenty of fruit and water before you drink and plenty afterwards to make up nutrients and water lost.
The whole article should instead of going down scaremongering bull**** path could of at least given some sensible advice. Here is some: pace yourself: if your a lightweight or just started, have some water between each beer, and leave a minimum of 45 minutes between 45 minutes and don’t even think about drinking spirits, as measurements aren’t as simple.
I’M from the UK, legal age is 18 and I’ve being drinking at parties and such since 14. Whilst the dangers of alcohol are real, you just have to start off sensibly and your be able to handle more as time goes by. Then you will find out binge drinking is quite a bit more than 5 beers
TayTay-1213 on Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at 11:28 pm
U guys r sick i mean 1 or 2 bears when ur at least 18 and with a parent would be all right but getting drunk its BAD AND IF U GUYS DONT REALIZE THEY R GOIN TO KEEP BOTHERIN U ABOUT IT I MEAN BE SMART ABOUT IT!!!!
petras on Monday, July 18, 2011 at 6:22 pm
what why does this question pose itself as if only teens drink alcohol ? alcohol itself has been round since the athena of civilization its a social thing im 19 and in uk im a legal drinker but i drunk when i was 15 and onwards as long as you drink responsibly there shouldnt be a debate if you are posing why street crime, vandalism and death happen can be linked to young people and alcohol the question should be “why are PEOPLE stupid?” im with alexiswashere im not an idiot i can drink and drag myself home.
McTyranasaurus on Sunday, July 17, 2011 at 2:18 pm
Drunk people are funny, stupid, and gross. I’m fun enough without the alcohol, but I admit, some people are SO BORING that they need it. Haha
vernica on Saturday, July 16, 2011 at 5:49 am
cause we can
ashley32325 on Thursday, July 7, 2011 at 2:43 am
alcohol is fun why wouldnt u want to drink it if u could it makes u forget stuff for a while
nickjr1 on Friday, July 1, 2011 at 10:14 am
its fun to drink and no one is getting my shine
tommytay95 on Wednesday, June 29, 2011 at 1:28 pm
In the uk u can drink at 16, its neaver done me or anyone i know any harm
BradleyBOMB on Wednesday, June 29, 2011 at 12:18 pm
A little alcohol poisoning and possibly death. So? Take a risk, you ******* pussies!