Posts Tagged teen alcohol abuse
A new research by a Northern Kentucky University professor found that people who mix alcohol and diet soft drinks are more likely to get drunk faster, The Northerner reports.
Cecile Marczinski, an assistant professor in the university’s department of psychological science, conducted lab-based experiment on 8 male and 8 female social drinking students with an average age of 23. Before the study, all participating students were asked to answer extensive demographic and medical questionnaires, and required to “fast two hours, abstain from any form of caffeine eight hours, and abstain from alcohol for 24 hours.”
During one visit at the lab, the students drank vodka with diet soda. At another time, they drank vodka mixed with a regular soft drink. The student consumed their drinks within ten minutes.
According to Marczinski, the group that consumed a combination of vodka and diet soda had nearly 20 percent higher risk of getting inebriated faster.
“You get an 18 percent higher BrAC [breath alcohol level] when you mix alcohol with diet drinks,” Marczinski said. “The presence of food can be so important that reductions in peak BrAC have been reported to be as much as 20 – 57 percent when food is present in the stomach as compared with when alcohol is consumed alone.”
Marczinski hopes that her findings would help improve alcohol intervention programs.
“I am trying to provide information to consumers, so they can enjoy these products without causing themselves harm,” Marczinski added.
Marczinski’s research will be published in the Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research journal.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention fact sheet, alcohol is the most commonly used and abused substance among youth in the United States, more than tobacco and illicit drugs. Even though the legal drinking age in the country is 21, the 2011 Monitoring the Future Survey found that 70 percent of 12th graders had tried alcohol, and 13 percent of 8th graders and 40 percent of 12th graders drank during the past month. The survey result backs previous studies that more and more teens are turning to alcohol and peer pressure isn’t the only one to blame.
For parents, it is important to understand the different reasons that drive teens to use and abuse alcohol. That’s because teens’ behaviors are often influenced not only by the people around them, but also by the events that happen to them.
School-related Stress: Children and adolescents experience school-related stress in the form of class bullies, exam week, homework, and extra-curricular activities. Additionally, many students feel the need to excel academically in order to get into college and land a decent job afterwards. While a bit of stress can be a motivational factor, too much of it can eventually put emotional strain to your teenager. A 2007 American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) report indicate that for children and teens, too much work and too little play could backfire down the road. And so when teenagers are burdened by the pressure, they have a tendency to resort into something that would make them feel good, such as alcohol and drugs.
Transition: This include moving to a new city or state, changing school, moving from middle school to high school, obtaining a driver’s license, and graduating from high school. While some of these are exciting for certain teenagers, others can feel stressed with the change they are about to go through.
Family Troubles: Several studies suggest that teens find solace in alcohol and drugs when faced with conflicts at home or when their parents are into substance abuse themselves. Initially, teens would drink for fun or to relax but this can become habitual to cope with feelings and situations they don’t know how to handle.
Mental Health Conditions: Being a teenager is full of challenges and this can sometimes lead to feelings of sadness and confusion, or worse, depression and anxiety. And because they are still unfamiliar with various coping tactics, they could regard the feeling as something that would simply go away without seeking professional help or telling their parents. To numb the feeling, a teenager might drink or experiment with drugs.
A study conducted by the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) suggests that more teens begin their alcohol and drug activities during the summer season. In fact, first-time use of cigarettes, alcohol, and other drugs by kids peak during the months of June and July.
Researchers noted that the number of adolescents that get entangled with these substances for the first time in their young lives are significantly higher compared to other months of the year. It’s only during the month of December that the same trend can be observed.
SAMHSA administrator Pamela S. Hyde says that the huge amount of free time in the summer can make kids vulnerable to substance abuse. “More free time and less adult supervision can make the summertime an exciting time for many young people, but it can also increase the likelihood of exposure to the dangers of substance abuse.”
Results of the study were obtained by analyzing data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health from the year 2002 up to 2010. Students 12 to 17 years old were given survey questions with regards to their alcohol, drugs, and tobacco activities.
After gathering information from the respondents, it was found out that the number of teenagers’ first time cigarette use reach 5,000 on the average during any given day in the months of June and July. Other months only reach an average of 3,000 to 4,000.
Marijuana use is also much higher for beginners during the summer with a daily average of 4,800 while inhalant misuse and abuse is being done by about 1,500 kids daily. If it were during the other months of the year, these figures only peak by 4,000 and 1,100, respectively.
Hyde once again emphasizes the importance of communication between parents and children especially on substance abuse issues. “That is why it is critically important to take every opportunity we can throughout the year to talk to our young people about the real risks of substance abuse and effective measures for avoiding it.”
New Study Finds Alcohol Consumption a Possible Cause of Social Isolation and Poor Grades among Teenagers
Over the years, we have read quite a number of documents about how alcohol consumption can help reduce a person’s inhibitions. However, a new study published in the June online issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior shows that teenage drinkers are more likely to feel like a social outcast and struggle academically.
The study, participated by 8,271 adolescents from 126 schools, was authored by Robert Crosnoe, professor of sociology, and Aprile Benner, assistant professor of human development and family sciences, as part of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. They found a correlation between drinking and feelings of loneliness and not fitting in across all school environments. But according to Crosnoe, such feelings of loneliness were particularly significant among self-reported drinkers in schools where fellow students tended to avoid alcohol and were tightly connected to one another. These teenage drinkers are more likely to feel socially isolated when not surrounded by fellow drinkers.
“Adolescents who feel as though they don’t fit in at school often struggle academically, even when capable and even when peers value academic success, because they become more focused on their social circumstances than their activities,” Crosnoe added.
Along with drugs, alcohol use among teenagers remains a major public health problem in the United States. It is seen as one of the major culprits of injuries, violence, and acquisition of diseases.
A new study suggests that teens that undergo a five-minute computer screening program pertaining to their alcohol and drug use may reduce their risks for drinking for up to a year.
It was found out by a group of researchers from the Boston Children’s Hospital that kids who talk to their pediatricians after the computer screening tool decreased their risks for drinking by almost 50% for the first three months after their doctor’s visit.
Dr. John Knight from the Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Research at the Boston Children’s Hospital confirmed that previous studies have proven that screening and immediate intervention create a big positive impact among college students on alcohol and drug issues, but this is the first time they are able to have the computer screening and intervention program on the adolescent population.
“It’s important to get pediatricians involved, because we know 70 percent of high school seniors have started to drink, and almost 60 percent have started to use drugs, but there are few specialists available to deal with early intervention with teens,” he said.
It has been noted that most teens are able to visit their pediatricians every year for their physical examination requirements. This gives them the opportunity to talk about their substance abuse problems knowing their secrets are safe with their doctors, thereby making them listen more to their doctors than to their parents. “Since substance abuse kills more teenagers than infectious disease, parents should view this screening as another important vaccination,” Dr. Knight added.
Yet there are also obstacles that pediatricians face when talking to teenagers and their issues. For one, they don’t have the luxury of time due to the fact that there are a lot of patients with numerous factors to screen for. Another one is that once they screen teens for substance abuse, some doctors don’t know how to deal with patients who test positive and admit to the dangerous habits.