According to the medical dictionary alcohol abuse is use of alcoholic beverages in surplus, either on certain occasion or as habitual practice (Medical dictionary). Just like any other drug, abuse of alcohol is detrimental to ones health. The effects from alcohol abuse range from what one would consider as mild to extreme, mild effects include being violent to extreme ones such as liver cancer. It really does not matter whether one is a binge drinker or a regular drinker as they all lead to accumulation of alcohol in ones body. Besides, a binge drinker is likely to sooner or later become a regular drinker which makes it difficult to encourage any kind of drinking among teenagers. Unfortunately more and more teenagers continue to take into drinking and this worries not just social planners but shakes the fundamental principles of our society. In the following part we examine various aspects of alcohol consumption among teenagers.
Alcohol consumption among teenagers can be classified as either regular or binge drinking. As may have been mentioned in the introductory paragraph none of these should be encouraged. However, it is necessary to point out that binge drinking carries lesser risk factors as compared to regular drinking. Research however points out that youths who are now regular drinkers started with binge drinking, lack of control sees them join the bandwagon and become regular drinkers. These revelations are what prompt aggression against any kind of drinking, according to National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Americans become regular drinkers at the age of 15.9 years this indicates that they had been binge drinkers at a much tender age. Becoming a regular drinker at about 16 years exposes an individual to a lot of negativities which affect both individual health as well as their social contribution. In the following part we examine the cause and effects of this dangerous trend.
Alcohol abuse among teens is caused by a range of factors which can be either internal or external. External factors are those beyond an individual, brought about by the society. Indeed research has pointed out that teens are less likely to drink alone but will mostly be with close people who make drinking appear as fun or fashionable. Staying around people who have taken into drinking is most likely to lead a teen into drinking as well. Other external factors include media influence; this may either advertise certain brands of alcohol or feature major societal figures drinking which makes it look like a good thing to do.
Alcohol drinking in this group is also prompted by individual traits such as lack of self control. Teenagers who have less self control are likely to be influenced into drinking as opposed to those who have self control. Other traits likely to lead teenagers into alcohol abuse are a strong urge for thrill, rebellion, and a sense of hopelessness. A number of these internal factors may be present due to upbringing while others maybe present at birth. An important thing to do is identification of these traits and master how to control them into constructive deeds which would ensure teenagers remain sober.
The effects of alcohol consumption range from mild to extreme effects. None of these should be ignored as alcohol consumption is cyclic and a mild act at the beginning will eventually lead to violent acts if condoned or if appropriate action is not taken to control drinking at the earliest possible instance. Besides harm caused to others alcohol really affects the health of an individual irrespective of age, even though there may be no explicit signs of alcohol effect at teenage level these eventually start to weigh down on these individuals at later ages.
These effects include fatigue and sleep disruptions, blurred vision, poor coordination and slurred speech. These constitute immediate effects or what in some fields maybe referred to as short term effects and their impact is only felt in a short span of time and once an individual sobers up these effects fade as well.
There are more harmful effects such as permanent memory loss, body tremors, continued susceptibility to violence which in more cases than not lead to physical injury, social strain and mental disarray. There are other major and long term effects such as liver cirrhosis, liver cancer and nerve breakdown. These effects however may not be observed in teenagers as they result after long periods of alcohol consumption.
Alcohol abuse among teenagers is no good as compared to adult consumption of the same. There is however an outcry to reduce the exposure of these teenagers to alcohol as this increases the chances of early deaths and increased social unrest either in small set ups such as families or the wider society. The effects of alcohol maybe much felt among teenagers whose minds are still young and the bodies lack in both ability and capacity to handle alcohol, besides their inability to reason makes it worse as they fail to understand how much their body can take in. This creates the main difference between teenage drinking and adult drinking, as in the latter one expects reason and rationality in making decisions to take in alcohol. The only similarity is the effects of alcohol as it has the same short and long term effects regardless of the age of the consuming individual.
Medical dictionary: Definition of alcohol abuse http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=10925 8th Feb 2011.
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Focus on Young Adult Drinking Volume 28, Number 4, 2004/2005 http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh284/toc28-4.htm retrieved on 8th Feb 2011.