There are certainly many teenagers who believe that drinking alcohol makes them appear cooler or more mature than they actually are. Sadly, the majority of teens who drink do not do so in moderation, but rather to serious excess. There are numerous ways in which underage drinking can impact teenagers, and they are certainly harmful!
Underage Drinking Statistics
Perhaps the most jarring aspect of underage drinking is the fact that more than 5,000 teenagers annually die directly as a result of drinking for from a drinking-related cause. Individuals may be involved in suicides while intoxicated, homicides or even automobile collisions while impaired. Underage drinking impacts not just the teens involved, as it is quite common for innocent parties to be harmed by the activity as well.
Most car accidents related to underage driving occur because youngsters are less able to manage their alcohol consumption and become vastly more impaired far more quickly than they realize. Teenagers who get behind the wheel when drinking, especially those aged 16-20 are two times more likely to have a vehicle crash than those who are at least 21 years old.
The Health Risks Of Underage Drinking
There are many health issues associated with underage drinking such as:
Brain Damage and Alcohol Addiction
Potential brain damage is one troubling effect of drinking among teenagers. Those who drink often and heavily run the risk of sustaining permanent harm to their cognitive abilities. Such teens are also more susceptible to acquiring an addition to alcohol than their peers who abstain. Every subsequent year a teenager waits to start drinking alcohol reduces their chance of developing alcohol addiction by 14 percent.
Alcohol consumption also negatively impacts teenagers’ decision making abilities. Teens tend to be far more likely to make risky choices, including becoming prematurely sexually active. When impaired by alcohol, teens are vulnerable to having unprotected sexual relations, even with people they do not know.
Studies indicate that teens who consume alcohol are far more likely to use other drugs. It may be that they use marijuana, inhalants or even narcotics. Teenage drinking can also cause certain individuals to carry weapons, boosting the chances of accidental injury or death.
Many teens fail to recognize the fact that alcohol is actually a depressant. Heavy drinkers who are teenagers run a much higher risk of committing suicide than teens who do not drink. The fact is that, binge-drinking teens are four times more likely to attempt suicide. High school kids who drink often are two times as likely to consider suicide than their peers who do not do so. Sadly, upwards of 300 teens annually commit suicide after mixing alcohol with depression or even just the routine stresses of daily life.
The above consequences of teenage drinking are just a few of the concerns parents need to keep in mind. Underage drinking also often leads to poor academic performance and problems with peer relationships. If you have teenagers in your household, it is important to stay attuned to any behavioral changes you may notice. Communicate with your teenagers openly and try to make sure they understand how dangerous underage drinking really can be.