Whether it is a friend's birthday, a reunion or a success party, alcohol is the essential beverage on the menu on most of these occasions. At every celebration, or for that matter, at times of sadness, alcohol becomes a teen's best friend, posing extreme health risks in the long run.
Teenage drinking has increased in the past few years in the United States. In fact, alcohol is the most widely used addictive substance among the American youth. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people aged 12-20 years drink 11 percent of the total alcohol consumption in the U.S.
The question that baffles everyone, especially the parents of teens, is "why do teens develop drinking habits?" The reasons for teens experimenting with alcohol may vary. Given below are some of the potential reasons behind teen drinking that might help parents understand the state of their child:
1. Peer pressure: One of the gravest problems that a teenager faces during this phase of life is "peer pressure." In a bid to "fit in" and not be ignored or boycotted by the group, most teens end up submitting to the peer pressure. Saying "no" becomes the most difficult task of life at that point of time. Many teenagers start drinking to mingle with his/her group and "look cool" like others. After all, drinking in their friends' parties can make them popular. The desire to be accepted and not mocked at leads a teen to start drinking, which in due course becomes a part of his lifestyle.
2. Inquisitiveness: Teenagers are inquisitive at this age. They are curious to know and want to experience anything and everything they find around themselves. An attempt to "just try drinking once" to know "how it feels to get high" is actually an invitation to drinking, which ironically sustains for longer than ever.
3. Imitating parents' alcoholic behavior: Teens whose parents are alcoholic often follow suit. Seeing parents indulge in alcohol triggers drinking habits in teens. Moreover, they gain an easy access to alcohol because of their parents who are regular drinkers and keep stocks at home. The teens generally imitate all kinds of behaviors that they see in their parents and are not able to differentiate between the good and the bad.
4. Self-medication: Teens who are victims of some trauma or are emotionally stressed, generally indulge in alcohol or drugs as a form of self-medication. They think that drinking will give a high and will offer them a way to escape from the agonies of life. They indulge in drinking to ease their pain and get rid of their stress, even momentarily. However, such indulgence turns into a habit and teenagers get addicted to drinking. Gradually, their tolerance level also increases and so does the frequency and amount of drinks, making them prone to serious health issues.
5. Ignorance: Teenagers might not accept, but sometimes it is sheer ignorance that drives them to do crazy and unworthy things. Many times they are ignorant about the good and the bad. They just follow a norm that is created in their minds from what they see and infer. They start drinking so that they are not left out, without realizing its consequences.
Alcohol addiction needs proper treatment
Teenage drinking poses many health risks and it has many negative consequences. Teens who drink might indulge in unnecessary brawls in school, get hurt due to drunk driving, become prone to sexual or physical assaults, have impaired cognition and brain development. Parents and teachers should be vigilant if they find anything suspicious pertaining to the development of drinking habits and ensure addiction treatment in one of the reliable alcohol treatment facilities.