Underage drinking continues to rise across all nations, and parents and adults appear to be more accepting of teenagers drinking at home, where they are supposedly safer and chaperoned.
Additionally, it can be stated that in today’s world we have more young adults, middle-aged and elderly people that are consuming more alcohol then historically, brought on by either stresses or just good of fashion social entertainment. When we talk about alcohol and adults, we do not label the situation as “serious” because it is legal and an adult brain is developed.
In cases involving underage drinking, the seriousness of this matter is life or death. A teenager is still growing, both mentally and physically, trying to fit in, and peer pressure. Underage drinking has become a huge problem for this generation as teens continue to use it for casual and recreational socializing.
Although it seems harmless, alcohol has the potential to destroy lives. Why is the drinking age different around the world? The average drinking age around the world starts at ten years old, meaning you can get drunk at practically any age, however more civilized countries start at twenty to twenty-five.
Would American teens drink more frequently if the drinking age was lowered? “During adolescence young people typically express their independence from their parents in various ways—by taking risks, testing the boundaries of parental rules, and trying to fit in with their peers”, (Gale 1). Most teenagers drink under the influence of peer pressure, and a strong desire to fit in.
This misunderstanding of alcohol makes drinking more comfortable and more dangerous. Young adults will need to consume more alcohol to stay buzzed, and while influencing friendships usually trickles down to a long list of serious problems involving drinking and driving which can potentially lead to mental and physical health issues.
Alcoholism can become a gateway to more serious and harmful drugs that can lead to depression and dependency of more substance abuse, a result of distracting the brain from the reality of daily problems.
Alcohol is the devil we know; it is a great reliever of stress, but the devil we know is called the familiar hangover the next day. The danger of drinking when a person is mentally down is the depression that comes later. The misconception that alcohol is an energetic drug that makes up feel good and numb is what happens the next day when it hits the nervous system. It grows into an addiction that is hard to control, which would explain the growing population of American teenagers going to rehab. There are many reasons why teenagers chose to drink alcohol. High school plays an important factor, where kids need to have friends, which could mean adapting to bad habits of the desired social group.
Home dynamics also play an important role, especially when there is dysfunction in the household involving abuse. “During adolescence young people typically express their independence from their parents in various ways—by taking risks, testing the boundaries of parental rules, and trying to fit in with their peers”, (Gale 1). Kids in abusive situations are often the result of depression, which promotes alcohol, and unless it is treated, it can become a death sentence. Teenagers who experience mental illness will often drink, which could be fatal when combined with high dosages of medication or drugs. For whatever the reasons are that make underage teenagers drink, it is important to understand the dangers to oneself and others, especially when going behind the wheel.
Driving under the influence of alcohol has proven to be one of the most dangerous forms of delusional misconceptions that block a person’s ability to realize when they are too drunk to drive. Under the influence, people feel invincible to the world around them, which is why the next day people have random bruises from bumping into things they didn’t even feel. Alcohol numbs your body making you less aware of your surroundings. Alcohol drives your self-worth, making you feel more confident in everything you do, not caring about the ramifications of your actions. Everything you do under the influence is taken to a different extreme, so you feel like you are capable of a lot more than you are. The effects of alcohol create impairment in the brain, in our vision, and our body, making it difficult to function in any capacity. “The impaired judgment, dulled senses and slowed reaction times brought on by alcohol consumption leave individuals prone to injuries suffered from falls, collisions, and other accidents”, (Gale 1). Teenagers often fail to understand the consequences of drinking for many reasons. Their brain is still developing and they lack maturity or ability to recognize bad choices. Moreover, they have little experience dealing with life in general, so they are just unaware of the potential dangers involved in alcohol. Especially being young and immature not realizing that every bad choice we make will affect us later in life. Additionally, they may deal with depression or maybe they just want to be cool. Teenagers need more communication on the effects of alcohol and understanding the dangers. Every teen will have an alcohol experience whether they were raised well or not. I think that neglected kids are less likely to drink because there’s not a huge restriction on what they can or cannot do. Kids raised strictly are more likely to go wild because they feel the desire to be free.
Teenagers who start drinking at an early age will most likely become long-term drinkers or alcoholics, which puts them at a higher risk of developing both mental and physical health issues. When the body becomes addicted to alcohol, the body shuts down affecting and destroying brain cells and the system nervous system. Under these conditions, a person is unable to function as a normal person, making it difficult to go to school and learn or have a job. Other long-term problems with alcoholism that may not be so visible are continued damage to the liver, kidneys, and heart to name a few. “Scientists believe that consumption of alcohol affects adolescents developing brains and may lead to memory problems and brain abnormalities”,
(Gale 1). The body simply cannot repair severe damage done over a lifetime of drinking and will ultimately result in a shorter life span.
Most kids are familiar with alcohol at an early age, as they watch their parents drink and by the time they are teenagers, alcohol is no stranger. Many parents allow their teenagers to drink at home thinking there is no harm done. The argument in this theory is just that, is harm done? Are parents teaching teenagers to drink more, which builds their resistance making it harder to get buzzed on just one drink and before you know it, kids are consuming more and more to get the same effect? “Significant statistics regarding alcohol use in teens include that about half of junior high and senior high school students drink alcohol monthly, and 14% of teens have been intoxicated at least once in the past year”, (Dryden-Edwards 1). So, what is it that makes parents think it is okay to drink at home? Are they keeping their kids safer by not driving, is their relationship better because they are the cool parent or does the parent have a drinking problem and doesn’t realize it, therefore drinking is socially accepted? This system has proven to work for some teenagers while keeping them off the road, while other kids may end up drinking and driving, and potentially in an accident.
Everybody wants to fit in and have a good time. There is no harm to having alcohol in moderation when behaving responsibly and in the right situations, such as a family celebration. Adolescent drinking has become a major issue for this generation. “Alcohol is the most frequently used drug by teenagers in the United States”, (Dryden-Edwards 1). Although most teenagers do not desire to drink, but do so just because they want to feel part of something, or feel better about something. Everyone can admit that alcohol is disgusting. There is so flavor that can make it taste better than a glass of lemonade, but we suck it up and down because we want to feel like everyone else around us. Average drinkers typically find it a lot easier to down hard liquor because they know the feeling and they just want to be there. People lose their individuality when they go out in big groups to drink and they can conform to the group’s peer pressure. Being able to recognize the signs of alcohol early on is critical for getting teen’s help. Some of the signs to look for would be slurred speech, poor coordination, memory loss, easily frustration, overly emotional, argumentative, and/or changes friends frequently. Overall, if more efforts made through social media, social relationships, family recognition, and the high school faculties, these teenagers might have a better chance of survival.
Gender also affects your relationship to alcohol having less or higher risks to your health. For women, heavy drinking would be considered more than three drinks a day or seven drinks in a week. Liquor has a lot of effects on the cardiovascular system causing diseases like coronary heart disease, peripheral arterial disease, hypertension, and cardiomyopathy. Heavy drinking can cause mitochondrial dysfunction and anatomical harm to the cardiovascular system. Most healthy young adults tend to have no short-term effects of drinking low to moderate alcohol consumption daily. One to two drinks a day can cause a reduced risk whereas four or more can seriously increase the threat of gaining a cardiovascular disease. However, steadily drinking over five drinks in one sitting increases blood pressure dramatically.
The alcohol absorption rate goes up to twenty to thirty percent on an empty stomach so when you don’t eat before you have a lower tolerance to whatever drink you are consuming. Drinks like whiskey and soda or vodka and orange juice also known as screwdrivers get into your system a lot faster. The concentration of alcohol affects the rate of absorption meaning if you are taking shots of higher concentrated liquor, more alcohol will be absorbed into your bloodstream than if you were drinking a beer. Just like water is distributed throughout the body any drunk alcohol will flow within it reaching vitals such as the brain, heart, and all muscles which is why you get feelings of numbness throughout your body. Most of the tissues in your body are open to near the same amount of alcohol that runs through your blood.
A lot of people may think that all alcoholics are always clumsy and uncontrollably verbal but that’s not always the case. Some people who abuse alcohol can cooperate just fine in public and can keep their chill. These people are known as “functional” alcoholics. A lot of the time functional alcoholics may seem to have all the control even if they have the money and the motivation for work ethic, alcohol still puts them at risk for anything cautionary such as drinking and driving or having various sexual encounters. Anything is possible for anybody so just because someone can control their walking after a few beers does not mean it is ok for them to get behind the wheel.
Most of the alcohol that’s consumed damages your liver. Most heavy drinkers will acquire liver steatosis which is a buildup of fat formed inside the liver which can eventually cause steatohepatitis when irritated. More than two million Americans are estimated to have liver disease each year causing over about 20,000 deaths every year. After a large consumption of alcohol muscle fiber size is affected. People who work out often and drink daily tend to stay the same because alcohol is effecting their muscles badly. Having liver disease comes with a reduction in muscle fiber size which restricts a lot of muscle growth when you are at the gym working out. So, if you are trying to bulk up but you are drinking every day then you’re wasting your time at the gym.
The sixteen percent of people that drink daily take up seventy-five percent of the economic cost of liquor. Most people who drink excessively develop steatosis where twenty percent advance to a worse steatohepatitis which often can lead to death. Repeatedly voluntarily drinking and lots of withdrawals are common to find when looking for someone who binge drinks. After a few drinks, your liver triglycerides start to elevate which greatly increases your alcohol metabolism. AUDs are a brain disease created by alcohol abuse that causes a person to lose control of how much alcohol they drink and when they aren’t drinking they have a very negative emotional state of mind.
This article talks about alcohol intoxication levels taking place at music festivals. Big music festivals attract many people which include Tomorrowland, Glastonbury, and Coachella valley music and art festivals which all hold more than one hundred and twenty-five thousand people. Everybody gathers together to listen to good music and jam out with other drunk people. Drinking alcohol is usually part of having a good festival experience. One of the biggest problems that come with music festivals is the injuries that come with them including drunk driving afterward and injuries imposed by violence by standards that are jumping in the crowd. At most music festivals alcohol is prohibited from entering and can only be bought once you get inside. This causes a lot of young adults to “pre-game” meaning drink then go to the festival.
Studies on family’s and twins demonstrate alcohol disorders are often hereditary. Vulnerability plays a huge role in when and where alcohol is encouraging. Alcoholism is a relapsing disorder where alcohol consumption is out of your power, making many impaired decisions and running into consequences. Alcohol dependence can be abused depending on the criteria. If your young, the chances of getting alcohol are a lot trickier than an adult who is legally able to buy alcohol whenever they please. The pieces of evidence that alcoholism connects to genetics falls back to the ancient Greeks. Most genetic alcohol disorders often lead people to a binge drinking stage where it takes place in portions throughout the day and moderately drinking more and more every day.
Adolescent binge drinking can result in loss of behavioral flexibility, reduced cholinergic neuron makers, increased cytokines and innate immune gene expression. The development of your brain is highly affected under the influence causing the maturation of your auditory and visual sensory to descend. Adolescents have enhanced social sensitivity to specific effects of ethanol, for example, a greater ethanol intake observed in rats show more active and positive effects. Other studies have reported that adolescents don’t have a higher blood or brain concentration of ethanol than adults do. Most people start binge drinking between the age of eighteen through twenty-five years old.
A lot of people use alcohol to avoid secondary disorders such as stress and anxiety. Although alcohol has a lot of disadvantages on our body, if taken in correct amounts it can increase the strength of our immune systems making it harder for the common cold to reach people. There have been some studies that show alcohol also reduces the probability of receiving dementia. I believe that no matter what we say and do, we can’t stop kids from doing what they want. But we can influence them to make better choices by feeding them knowledge about how it affects the body. People won’t listen to the few bad things people should say about alcohol because they don’t see the bad effects yet until later in life they are regretting a lot of their bad choices. Alcohol affects our bodies for the worst but it boosts our self-confidence making us love ourselves which can be good for us mentally.