Alcohol Abuse by Youths

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    By Joy Lobo, Moodubelle

29 Jan 2012: Present society is in a state of confusion, especially the youth. The modern technology has provided them with so many things and opportunities that they do not know how to use such technological advances for the advancement of their career. Moreover, they are faced with the problem of peer pressure and work pressure that has prompted many f them t become victims of alcoholism and drug addiction.


Alcohol Abuse:Alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence are not only adult problems -- they also affect a significant number of adolescents and young adults between the ages of 12 and 20, even though drinking under the age of 21 is illegal.


The average age when youth first try alcohol is 11 years for boys and 13 years for girls.  The average age at which Americans begin drinking regularly is 15.9.


According to research by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, adolescents who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than those who begin drinking at age 21.


An early age of drinking onset is also  associated with alcohol-related violence not only among persons under age 21 but among adults as well.


It has been estimated that over three million teenagers are out-and-out alcoholics.  Several million more have a serious drinking problem that they cannot manage on their own.


The three leading causes of death for 15- to 24-year-olds are automobile crashes, homicides and suicides -- alcohol is a leading factor in all three.


While drinking may be a singular problem behaviour for some, research suggests that for others it may be an expression of general adolescent turmoil that includes other problem behaviours and that these behaviours are linked to unconventionality, impulsiveness, and sensation seeking.


Binge drinking, often beginning around age 13, tends to increase during adolescence, peak in young adulthood (ages 18-22), then gradually decrease.  Individuals who increase their binge drinking from age 18 to 24 and those who consistently binge drink at least once a week during this period may have problems attaining the goals typical of the transition from adolescence to young adulthood (e.g., marriage, educational attainment, employment, and financial independence).


Dependence on alcohol and other drugs is also associated with several psychiatric problems,  such as:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD)
  • Antisocial personality disorder

Whether anxiety and depression lead to or are consequences of alcohol abuse is not known.


Alcohol use among adolescents has also been associated with considering, planning, attempting, and completing suicide.  Research does not indicate whether drinking causes suicidal behaviour, only that the two behaviours are correlated.


Parents’ drinking behaviour and favourable attitudes about drinking have been positively associated with adolescents’ initiating and continuing drinking.  Children who were warned about alcohol by their parents and children who reported being closer to their parents were less likely to start drinking.


Lack of parental support, monitoring, and communication have been significantly related to frequency of drinking, heavy drinking, and drunkenness among adolescents.  Harsh, inconsistent discipline and hostility or rejection toward children have also been found to significantly predict adolescent drinking and alcohol-related problems.


Peer drinking and peer acceptance of drinking have also been associated with adolescent drinking.


The most common and effective way for an individual to combat his or her addictive behaviours is through a self-help support group, with advice and support from a health care professional.  Treatment should also involve family members because family history may play a role in the origins of the problem and successful treatment cannot take place in isolation.



Comments on this Article
Dr.Ashish Deshpande, Mumbai Wed, August-29-2012, 11:38
I would like to know what was your reference to age of first drink in India (11 in boys and 13 in girls)? Which population are you referring to? The same questions arise for your estimate of 3 million teenaged alcoholics. Article is very pertinent except these doubts. thanks.
Naveen, pamboor Tue, January-31-2012, 9:32
Hi Joy, Good article. Keep it up. Good information for the present youth. well done. Best wishes from your Godparents.
Saritha, Dsouza Tue, January-31-2012, 6:21
Brilliant article joy lobo....... Knowing the facts by the present youth is important, very few articles are related to that to create awareness
Adrian Lobo, Bangalore Mon, January-30-2012, 10:41
Good one Joy!! Keep writing!!
Sarita Lobo, Mangalore Sun, January-29-2012, 12:12
Good one bro and its apt for present situation
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