Negative effects of alcohol abuse on teenagers
Underage drinking has profound effects on teenagers who, at first, might be unsuspecting of the risks they are exposing themselves to. The negative outcomes associated with teenage alcohol abuse are such as school absenteeism, poor grades, drug abuse, participating in risky sexual activities, among others. However, a thorough understanding of the effects of alcohol abuse cannot be achieved without consideration of the role of other substances. The effects of alcohol abuse are not only apparent, but that their severity increases the risk for teenagers to become alcohol-dependent in adulthood.
The teenage years are characteristic of a desire for adolescents to want to explore and participate in new adventures. Quite unfortunately, some of their explorations are focused mainly on the use of drugs and other substances. Wang et al. 2015 mentioned that the adolescent age is a time when the minds of teenagers have not yet fully developed. The likelihood of making immature and risky decisions is higher among the said age group. With regard to alcohol consumption, Harding et al. found that teenagers are likely to participate in unprotected sex which in some cases, might expose them to alcohol-related sexual assaults. Further, there are reports for poor academic outcomes, reduced participation in social activities, the development of health complications among other issues. The confounding effects of such outcomes exposes teenagers to even more stress as they transition toward adulthood.
The progression and permanence of the effects of alcohol abuse during adolescence tends to increase the risk for teenagers to become alcohol-dependent. However, an understanding of the issues that teenagers face which promote the drinking behaviour is required. Lan et al. explains that those in living in low socioeconomic neighbourhoods do not have sufficient access to health resources and are at a high risk of psychosocial problems. Thus, with some regions have less strict policies toward alcohol consumption alongside its availability and affordability, teenagers resort to drinking to as a coping mechanism (Ngozi et al.). One can observe that adolescents are in a tumultuous stage of development and that the manner in which they respond to adversities matters considerably. Without proper channels of managing the issues that adolescents present, it becomes unlikely that the teenage alcohol abuse menace will be eradicated.
A keen observation of the effects of alcohol abuse among teenagers shows that adolescents become highly exposed to the risk of developing mental health issues. The withdrawal effects of alcohol use alongside inactivity affect teenagers’ social and personal lives considerably. Failing grades, development of aggressive or deviant behavior among other effects, can lead to one being kicked out of school (Ngozi et al.). In such a case, the teenager becomes exposed to various issues that undermine his or her quality of life at such a critical developmental stage. Appreciating the possibility of such outcomes and without proper and effective channels for support, teenagers slowly find themselves developing mental disorders. Lan et al. explains that as adolescents become entrenched in alcohol abuse, they risk develop alcohol use disorder which has been associated with suicidal ideation. To manage the effects of the now developed mental disorders, teenagers slowly drink alcohol regularly as they transition into adulthood.
Alcohol abuse among teenagers is a growing concern across the globe. The teenage years are a time when girls and boys have the spirit of exploration. The availability of alcoholic drinks increases the chances of underage drinking whether for fun or as a coping mechanism. Regardless of the motive behind teenage use of alcohol, continuity of such behavior exposes them to the risk of becoming alcohol-dependent during adulthood.
Ngozi M., et al. “Alcohol Consumption and Awareness of Its Effects on Health among Secondary School Students in Nigeria.” Medicine, vol. 96, no. 48, 2017, doi:10.1097/md.0000000000008960.
Guo, Lan, et al. “Alcohol Use and Alcohol-Related Problems among Adolescents in China.” Medicine, vol. 95, no. 38, 2016, doi:10.1097/md.0000000000004533.
Harding, Frances M., et al. “Underage Drinking.” American Journal of Preventive Medicine, vol. 51, no. 4, 2016, doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2016.05.020.
Wang, Cheng, et al. “Alcohol Use among Adolescent Youth: The Role of Friendship Networks and Family Factors in Multiple School Studies.” PLOS ONE, vol. 10, no. 3, 2015, p. e0119965.