As soon as you hear the words ‘teenage alcohol abuse’ you are inundated with images regularly seen on television of young people drinking too much alcohol.
A quick search on the internet will tell you that a lot has been written on the subject. Scientific studies, cold facts and health risks due to alcohol consumption but what is really happening? Have times indeed changed that much?
When I was a teenager I could quite easily keep up with my male friends and although our drinking was restricted to lager, I can vividly remember my entire bedroom spinning after an evening of too many beers. My dad gave me my first drink when I was thirteen but he also warned me of the dangers of drinking too much and explained about the effects of drugs and alcohol on the brain.
When I was sixteen I was allowed to go out to bars in town as long as my brother, two years my senior, walked me home before midnight. I never got into trouble. I was never picked up by an ambulance. I never lost my knickers or woke up next to a guy that I hardly remembered from the previous night.
So have times changed or are today’s youngsters simply going through a similar phase as I did, all those years ago?
Alcoholism and Teenage Alcohol Abuse
Alcoholism and teenage alcohol abuse were terms I had never heard of but when I watch yet another item on the news or a documentary about teenage binge drinking my heart sinks. It appears to be an international problem. Young people drinking themselves silly even before going to a bar so as not to have to pay the prices that bars ask.
Getting drunk is fun and young people seem to like that feeling of losing control. Around a third of 15 to16 year old kids binge-drink at least three or more times a month.
We live in a strange world were alcohol ads are still normal on television and in magazines. We are bombarded with images of happy, healthy people, with nothing more than a small warning at the bottom of the ad about responsible drinking. Of course, responsible drinking is great. I turned out pretty responsible and although I don’t drink alcohol on a daily basis I can certainly enjoy a glass of wine with a meal when out with friends.
However, I cannot help but think that there is an alcohol problem in society and teenage alcohol abuse is part of that. The recent sad passing of the brilliant Amy Winehouse has again brought to light the dangers of alcohol addiction and in her case cross-addiction. But warnings that an alcohol overdose can lead to irreversible brain damage falls on deaf ears. ‘It applies to the other person, not to me’.
Binge drinking lots of shots in a relatively short time, often done for a bet, is considered fun. Young people are oblivious to the fact that it is extremely dangerous because one could consume a fatal dose before becoming unconscious. But what is the solution? Is there a solution? This is not so much about alcoholism but about the dangers of excessive drinking. Maybe we can start creating a greater awareness. ‘Education’, the key to the solution of teenage alcohol abuse?