Globally, Easy accessibility and legal status of alcohol has led to the feeling that alcohol is less dangerous compared to other substances. However, the fact of the matter is that alcohol is as fatal as any addictive drug. This misconception has led to a massive rise in the menace of alcoholism, particularly among the youth. Moreover, the rise in alcohol use has led to serious issues related to health that affects the individual, society, economy, etc. Alcohol use by teenagers has become a public health issue in the United States.
As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people aged 12 to 20 years drink nearly 11 percent of all alcohol consumed in the U.S. Moreover, over 90 percent of them engage in binge drinking. Compared to the previous years, alcohol initiation rates have increased drastically. This has led to a spike in alcoholism, which in turn has affected interpersonal functions, academic performance, cognitive abilities, etc. Therefore, there is a strong correlation between adolescents and alcoholism. The youngsters driven by the changes in hormones, emotions, behaviors, etc. inadvertently take up drinking to alleviate their problems.
The early introduction to alcohol is associated with numerous problems later in life. It leads to absenteeism, delinquent behavior, drunk driving, smoking, marijuana and other illicit drug use, indulgence in risky behaviors, etc. Additionally, teenagers who engage in drinking habit before the age 15 are four times more likely to develop dependence on alcohol in their lifetime than people who begin drinking at the age 21. Therefore, it has become a necessary public concern to adopt certain strategies and measures to effectively curb the problem of early exposure to alcohol among teenagers.
Interventions targeting underage drinking
Before implementing effective strategies to prevent alcohol use among underage adolescents, it is necessary to identify the risk factors of drinking. Along with genetics, the lack of mental or emotional support from their parents, peer pressure, academic stress, boredom, low self-esteem, and misinformation through advertisements or media are some of the common reasons for increased disposition toward alcohol among teenagers.
As such, several intervention programs have been implemented to minimize the growing menace of drinking at different levels. Some of such measures are as follows:
Accepting the problem: Despite the prevalence of strict rules prohibiting underage drinking, many youngsters tend to engage in unhealthy patterns of drinking. Some of the effective ways to reduce the onset and prevalence of drinking are:
- Acknowledging the short and long-term consequences of drinking.
- Strengthening coping mechanisms.
- Involving family and communities.
- Developing skills to help students identify internal and external pressures.
Involvement in extracurricular programs: Youngsters often follow their role models, so it is essential to keep them under the supervision of adults who behave like role models. One of the priorities of the school and parents should to be to engage teenagers in personality developing youth leadership programs to develop new skills and new areas of interest.
Intervention by family: Family intervention is significant in curbing alcohol abuse by children. The family members can play a key role dissuading teens from indulging in drinking by communicating and supervising them on the harmful consequences, building better parent-child relationship, monitoring their activities, strengthening the bond, listening to their problems, etc.
Implementation of strong laws and policies: The federal government and lawmakers can reinforce strong rules to reduce the availability of alcohol to youngsters by increasing the minimum legal drinking age (MLDA). The curtailment in commercial and social access will keep many teenagers to stay away from alcohol.
Avoid early alcohol abuse to build better future
Various behavioral, physical and psychological signs, such as aggression, agitation, compulsive behavior, impulsivity, anxiety, euphoria, discontent, slurred speech, tremor, etc., could indicate a friend or family about alcohol addiction in a loved one. Since underage drinking is more dangerous than any other patterns of drinking, it is essential to keep a check over the habits and behaviors of teenagers.
If you observe any of the above-mentioned signs of alcohol addiction in your loved one, contact the Alcohol Addiction Helpline of California to find the best alcohol addiction treatment centers in California. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-980-1715 or chat online for further information on the finest alcohol rehab centers in California.Continue reading