Teen Drinking Habits

Alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence are problems that affect both adults and a significant number of adolescents and young adults between the ages of 12 and 20.
The average age for first trying alcohol is 11 years for boys and 13 years for girls. The average age at which Americans begin drinking regularly is 15.9 years old. According to research by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, adolescents who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than those who begin drinking at age 21.

Drinking at an early age is associated with alcohol-related violence. It has been estimated that millions of teenagers are out-and-out alcoholics and a considerable number among them have a serious drinking problem that they cannot manage on their own. The three leading causes of death for 15- to 24-year-olds are alocohol, automobile crashes and homicides.

Adolescence is the age to seek sensation. Drinking being an adult behavior, adolescents tend to experiment with it. With drinking they also pick up other anti-social behaviors and it becomes a vicious circle of vices from which escape becomes difficult. Some drinkers who have a control over their reflexes support drinking but for whom drinking is an addiction, they have always expressed the desire to quit the habit but have been unable to because they have become dependent on it.

Binge drinking, often begin around the age of 13, tends to increase during adolescence, peak in young adulthood (ages 18-22), then gradually decrease. Individuals who increase their binge drinking from age 18 to 24 and those who consistently binge drink at least once a week during this period may have problems in future with regard to marriage, educational attainment, employment, and financial independence.

Dependence on alcohol is also associated with several psychiatric problems, such as: depression, anxiety, oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), and antisocial personality disorder. Whether anxiety and depression lead to or are consequences of alcohol abuse is not known. Adolescents start drinking when one of their parents drink or when drinking is a socially accepted behavior. Often parents, relatives or friends introduce on eto drinking. Those parents who warn their children of alcohol, those children were found less likely to drink at an early age. Those adolescent if they drink, they drink without their parents’ knowledge.

Parents who have been unkind and harsh towards their children are likely to find their children distancing from themselves. Those children as a retaliation against their parents start drinking to teach their parents a lesson. In some cases lack of parental monitoring and communication have been significantly related to frequency of drinking, heavy drinking, and drunkenness among adolescents. Peer pressure is sometimes a cause of adolescent drinking.

The most effective way for an individual to combat his or her addictive behaviors is through a self-help support group, with advice and support from a health care professional. Treatment should also involve family members because family history may play a role in the origins of the problem. Successful treatment cannot take place in isolation it requires family, friend and community support.