Posts Tagged teen drinking
In this age of multi-tasking and multiple jobs, parents cannot spend enough time with children to be able to monitor their activities. As a result, it has become acceptable for socially active teens to be away from home and with their friends. Because of this, parents find it difficult to know the exposure of their children to alcohol, and especially in terms of whether their drinking habits are crossing way beyond the line.
Alcohol abuse can be attributed to a number of factors, some of which include genetic predisposition, family relationships, exposure to peers and the environment, and emotional health. Drinking can rise in a lot of occasions, and the effects may vary from person to person.
It is always best for parents to be aware of the signs of alcohol abuse before it leads to dependence or addiction. “Parents are usually the first to sense a problem, even if they don’t know what it is. If you see signs, seek the help of a professional,” said Leslie Adair in a news release. Adair works at the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation’s Adolescent and Young Adult Services program as director of Mental Health and Family Services.
Here are some of the telltale signs that your kids may be dangling on excessive alcohol consumption:
Teens who engage in alcohol abuse have a higher likelihood to be unmindful of their physical appearance. They may dress lousily, and beg off from taking a shower. Their focus is shifted towards alcohol rather than proper hygiene.
- Messy, shows lack of caring for appearance
- Poor hygiene
- Red, flushed cheeks or face
Personal Habits or Actions
You may notice sudden changes in the usual things that your children do. Dishonesty may set in as your teenage children try to cover up lies. It may even come a point when things in your house start to disappear, only to find out that your child has put them up for sale in order to earn something to purchase alcohol. They may also withdraw themselves from family gathering and dinners to evade questions and confrontations.
- Clenching teeth
- Smell of smoke or other unusual odors on breath or on clothes
- Chewing gum or mints to cover up breath
- Frequently breaking curfew
- Cash flow problems
- Locked doors
- Secret phone calls/conversations
Growing teens may experience several physical changes as part of their natural growth to adulthood. However, some of these health-related concerns may also reveal abuse of alcohol.
- Runny nose, not caused by allergies or a cold
- Frequent sickness
- Wetting lips or excessive thirst (known as “cotton mouth”)
- Sudden or dramatic weight loss or gain
What to do upon discovery
Realizing that your child may be drinking will probably cause you panic, confusion, and anger. In dealing with the issue, it is always best to be composed and non-emotional when confronting your teen. Clarify the matter with love will make them feel that you are concerned for their welfare and willing to support them in any way that you can.
Teen drinking is already a disturbing and threatening issue by itself, but a recent review on teenagers revealed that adolescents are starting on the habit much younger than before.
According to client records from Louisville’s Morton Center and New Albany’s Our Place, the trend on teen drinking is getting worse. As more teenagers get checked in for alcohol abuse treatment, the two centers reported via a news release that “the average age that local teens start drinking is decreasing.” In fact, some workers in these treatment centers say that they have encountered alcohol addiction cases as early as age 10.
Meanwhile, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that the average age when teens start to drink is 13. As for the rest of the teen population, roughly 35 percent have already tasted their first drink before they reached the age of 15. “If you look at use rates say from the late 1980s, early 1990s, they were a lot higher than they are now… We got really good at this and brought those rates down. I think the concern is we’re starting to see those rates go back up,” said Our Place executive director MeriBeth Adams Wolf.
She stated further that one of the reasons behind this alarming trend is the lack of parental control in preventing teen alcohol abuse. “We even have local data that’s showing us that too many kids are stating that they really don’t think their parents would be upset if they had one or two drinks per day… And you look at that, and you’re going, ‘How are you getting that message?'” Adams Wolf added.
All in all, teenagers must be made aware of the effects of alcohol in their lives as they grow up to become adults. “Not that we want to scare them, but they need to have this knowledge… And not just your parents saying, ‘Don’t do this.’ They need to know there’s a reason behind it,” said Morton Center chief executive officer Priscilla McIntosh.
Allowing your children to experience life according to their own terms may have some advantages, but not when it comes to preventing alcohol abuse. This was revealed through a new study on teen drinking.
The study, jointly conducted by Queen’s University Belfast and Glasgow University, said that parents who don’t exercise control and authority in the household may increase the likelihood of their teenage children to engage in excessive alcohol consumption. “We are hypothesising that while emotional support and closeness are important for ensuring mental wellbeing, when it comes to health behaviours like alcohol use, parental rules may have more of an influence over factors outside the home such as peer influences and social media,” said study co-author Mark McCann in a news release.
Researchers reviewed data from close to 5,000 adolescents from 2010 to 2011, and looked into the importance of parental control in limiting alcohol intake by their teen kids.
Based on the study findings, the research team believes that proper parenting plays a key role in preventing teen alcohol abuse, more than any alcohol awareness program designed for kids. “Given that adolescence is often a critical period for the beginning of alcohol use, and that alcohol harms are not confined to children from so-called ‘problem’ families, support for adolescent parenting – rather than alcohol awareness for parents – may be a more beneficial target for public policy aimed at young people’s health behaviour,” McCann added.
Of course, it doesn’t mean that making your kids aware of alcohol abuse isn’t important. In fact, parents are encouraged to discuss alcohol to kids early.
Teen drinking may be a lingering and growing problem in the U.S., but the problem is escalated in countries where alcohol is standard fare.
Ireland is known for rum and other kinds of alcoholic beverages, and so it may not be a surprise to learn that 64 percent of the 13-to-17 age group in the country admit to drink alcohol. This was revealed by Alcohol Action Ireland, a charity organization in the country dedicated to alcohol-related issues.
According to its report entitled “Alcohol Marketing and Young People’s Drinking Behaviour in Ireland,” Alcohol Action Ireland revealed the following findings: “53% reported having been drunk at least once, 41% reported having been drunk in the last month; 37% reported engaging in binge drinking in the last month; and 50% reported that they drink regularly (every month).”
In terms of advertising, 72 percent of the kids said that they saw an alcohol ad via social media. Meanwhile, 91 percent said they were exposed to offline marketing, and 61 percent own merchandise from alcohol brands. “These findings clearly indicate that the more intense the exposure, the greater the risk of drinking alcohol and engaging in risking drinking behaviours. Given that these findings echo previous studies, coupled with the vulnerability of young people to alcohol, there is a clear need for immediate action on alcohol marketing regulation,” said Dr. Michal Molcho, one of the proponents of the study.
Data for the study were obtained from 686 teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17 enrolled in 16 schools. The study was conducted by the Health Promotion Research Centre at the National University of Ireland.
A survey of more than 2,500 10th grade students found that doctors often miss underage drinking problems due to lack of proper alcohol screening.
According to a MedicalXpress report, researchers from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Health and Human Development found that 34 percent of the surveyed students had drunk alcohol in the past month; 26 percent said they had engaged in binge drinking — defined as 5 or more drinks per occasion for males, and 4 or more for females. However, not all of those students who had seen a doctor reported being asked about their drinking habits, neither getting advice about the dangers of alcohol.
“While more than 80 percent of 10th graders said they had seen a doctor in the past year, just 54 percent of that group were asked about drinking, and 40 percent were advised about alcohol harms,” says lead author Ralph W. Hingson, Sc.D., M.P.H., director of NIAAA’s division of epidemiology and prevention research.
Hingson added that among students who visited a doctor in the past year and who reported drinking in the past month, only 23 percent said they were advised to reduce or stop drinking.
The researchers also reported in the February issue of Pediatrics that students who said they had been asked about their drinking were more likely to be advised about alcohol.
Studies link underage drinking to various problems, including academic failure, legal troubles, drug use, and alcohol poisoning which may lead to death. The habit could also interfere with an adolescent’s ability to judge risk and make sound decisions. In addition, underage drinkers are believed to have greater risk of becoming heavy drinkers later in life.
In preventing and reducing underage drinking, everyone’s role counts. Aside from families, friends and media, health care providers have a strong influence in promoting significant and lasting reductions in drinking levels and alcohol-related problems among adults.
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.”