Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Why Do Teenagers Drink Alcohol?

Why do teenagers drink alcohol? And what do they find so good about it?

Teenagers, like adults, drink alcohol for many different reasons, although some of them are different for teens. Your question is on teens and so I'll restrict my answer to that population.

Teens are more likely to start experimenting with drinking if they have parents who drink, if they have friends who are also drinking, and if their parents don't give them clear messages about not drinking outside the house (if they are allowed to drink some wine with dinner, for instance).

Also, alcohol is a powerful drug and changes how you feel. Some of the initial sensations at lower blood alcohol levels are pleasant and it is this sensation that many teens, as well as adults, seek.

Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant. So if you're tense or uptight, drinking some alcohol will, at least initially, reduce some of that tension and help you "chill out."

There are many other reasons why teens drink but to answer in depth would take an entire book. If you're concerned about some of your friends' drinking, consider talking with an adult in whom you can confide.

Also, if you yourself are a teen, consider attending Ala-teen. It is a 12-step group for teenagers who are concerned about other's drinking. They have a lot of literature and discussions about the dynamics of drinking and what you can do to help yourself as well as the drinker.

Whatever you do, don't drink anything and drive. The risk of being in a fatal crash is much higher at much lower blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) for drivers under 21 years of age. Here's a graph that shows the risk by age and BACs).

Significant relationships were found between young people's drinking behaviors and perceptions of risk and protective factors in the family environment. Parental monitoring was strongly associated with family closeness and appeared to form one part of a parenting style of more general communication and regulation of children's behavior.

Findings support the need for alcohol misuse prevention interventions which address risk and protective factors within the family setting. Timing of such prevention work should be related both to the development of family relationships and the age at which young people begin drinking alcohol.

Resource: selfhelpmagazine.com

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