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Dangers of Underage Drinking

Healthy Living 

      

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How big of a risk is alcohol use among teens? To illustrate the extent of alcohol misuse and abuse among teens and young adults in the United States, consider this:

Alcohol is the most widely used substance by teens and young adults. 14 years old is the average age of a teen’s first drink. 90% of underage drinking is in the form of binge drinking and 11% of the alcohol consumed in the United States is by people age 12 to 20 years old. 

These facts aren’t an attempt to demonize alcohol, which aside from being legal has deep ties to rites of passage and celebratory occasions. The facts are presented to make the point that alcohol misuse and abuse can be just as debilitating to someone as harder drugs, especially to teens whose bodies are still developing.

What are some of the health effects of regular heavy drinking? Even though alcohol causes euphoria and relaxation in most people, drinking can magnify existing problems with anxiety, depression, and anger. After a night of heavy drinking, the hangover effect occurs. Aside from headaches and upset stomachs, the hangover effect can cause difficulty concentrating, mood swings, and unexplained feelings of anxiety and depression. If drinking is a daily occurrence, these emotions are something some people deal with every day. 

There is also a strong connection between suicidal thoughts and heavy drinking. Lowered inhibitions and intense emotions brought about by alcohol can cause many people to attempt and/or commit suicide. Long-term effects of heavy drinking can cause havoc on physical health. Damage to the liver, heart, and brain can all occur. It can also cause high blood pressure, stroke and multiple types of cancer. Underage drinking is a primary contributor to death from injury which includes drunk driving. When someone self medicates with a substance, they can end up stifling thoughts and emotions that need to be worked through. There is no such thing as drinking problems away. All of those thoughts and emotions will eventually come back and need to be dealt with one day. If you need help with a drinking problem, talk to a family member or friend or someone in the addiction health field. Don’t go this alone; there are people out there to help. All you need to do is ask.

Visit Compact on Facebook @compact2020 to find more tips and facts from Officer Schniper all month long. Learn more about Compact at www.compact2020.com. †

 

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