Treatment Alcohol is the intoxicating ingredient that is present in wine, beer, and spirits. It is a depressant, which means that when it reaches the brain, it slows down the body's systems. It can also be difficult for the body to process, putting extra pressure on the liver, the digestive system, the cardiovascular system, and other functions. Alcohol is a legal recreational substance for adults and one of the most commonly used drugs in the United States.
Alcohol is the drug of choice among youth.
Many young people are experiencing the consequences of drinking too much, at too early an age. As a result, underage drinking is a leading public health problem in this country. Each year, approximately 5, young people under the age of 21 die as a result of underage drinking; this includes about 1, deaths from motor vehicle crashes, 1, as a result of homicides, from suicide, as well as hundreds from other injuries such as falls, burns, and drownings 1—5.
Yet drinking continues to be widespread among adolescents, as shown by nationwide surveys as well as studies in smaller populations. And when youth drink they tend to drink intensively, often consuming four to five drinks at one time.
For the typical adult, this pattern corresponds to consuming five or more drinks [men], or four or more drinks [women], in about 2 hours.
Research also shows that many adolescents start to drink at very young ages. People who reported starting to drink before the age of 15 were four times more likely to also report meeting the criteria for alcohol dependence at some point in their lives 9. In fact, new research shows that the serious drinking problems including what is called alcoholism typically associated with middle age actually begin to appear much earlier, during young adulthood and even adolescence.
Other research shows that the younger children and adolescents are when they start to drink, the more likely they will be to engage in behaviors that harm themselves and others. For example, frequent binge drinkers nearly 1 million high school students nationwide are more likely to engage in risky behaviors, including using other drugs such as marijuana and cocaine, having sex with six or more partners, and earning grades that are mostly Ds and Fs in school As children move from adolescence to young adulthood, they encounter dramatic physical, emotional, and lifestyle changes.
Developmental transitions, such as puberty and increasing independence, have been associated with alcohol use. So in a sense, just being an adolescent may be a key risk factor not only for starting to drink but also for drinking dangerously.
Risk-Taking—Research shows the brain keeps developing well into the twenties, during which time it continues to establish important communication connections and further refines its function. Scientists believe that this lengthy developmental period may help explain some of the behavior which is characteristic of adolescence—such as their propensity to seek out new and potentially dangerous situations.
For some teens, thrill-seeking might include experimenting with alcohol. Developmental changes also offer a possible physiological explanation for why teens act so impulsively, often not recognizing that their actions—such as drinking—have consequences.
Expectancies—How people view alcohol and its effects also influences their drinking behavior, including whether they begin to drink and how much. An adolescent who expects drinking to be a pleasurable experience is more likely to drink than one who does not. An important area of alcohol research is focusing on how expectancy influences drinking patterns from childhood through adolescence and into young adulthood 11— Beliefs about alcohol are established very early in life, even before the child begins elementary school Before age 9, children generally view alcohol negatively and see drinking as bad, with adverse effects.
By about age 13, however, their expectancies shift, becoming more positive 11, As would be expected, adolescents who drink the most also place the greatest emphasis on the positive and arousing effects of alcohol.
This unusual tolerance may help to explain the high rates of binge drinking among young adults. At the same time, adolescents appear to be particularly sensitive to the positive effects of drinking, such as feeling more at ease in social situations, and young people may drink more than adults because of these positive social experiences 18, Personality Characteristics and Psychiatric Comorbidity—Children who begin to drink at a very early age before age 12 often share similar personality characteristics that may make them more likely to start drinking.
Young people who are disruptive, hyperactive, and aggressive—often referred to as having conduct problems or being antisocial—as well as those who are depressed, withdrawn, or anxious, may be at greatest risk for alcohol problems Other behavior problems associated with alcohol use include rebelliousness 21difficulty avoiding harm or harmful situations 22and a host of other traits seen in young people who act out without regard for rules or the feelings of others i.
For example, being a child of an alcoholic or having several alcoholic family members places a person at greater risk for alcohol problems.
Children of alcoholics COAs are between 4 and 10 times more likely to become alcoholics themselves than are children who have no close relatives with alcoholism COAs also are more likely to begin drinking at a young age 27 and to progress to drinking problems more quickly 9.
Research shows that COAs may have subtle brain differences which could be markers for developing later alcohol problems For example, using high-tech brain-imaging techniques, scientists have found that COAs have a distinctive feature in one brainwave pattern called a P response that could be a marker for later alcoholism risk 29, Researchers also are investigating other brainwave differences in COAs that may be present long before they begin to drink, including brainwave activity recorded during sleep 31 as well as changes in brain structure 32 and function Some studies suggest that these brain differences may be particularly evident in people who also have certain behavioral traits, such as signs of conduct disorder, antisocial personality disorder, sensation-seeking, or poor impulse control 34— For example, does a person who is depressed drink to alleviate his or her depression, or does drinking lead to changes in his brain that result in feelings of depression?
Other hereditary factors likely will become evident as scientists work to identify the actual genes involved in addiction. By analyzing the genetic makeup of people and families with alcohol dependence, researchers have found specific regions on chromosomes that correlate with a risk for alcoholism 39— Candidate genes for alcoholism risk also have been associated with those regions The goal now is to further refine regions for which a specific gene has not yet been identified and then determine how those genes interact with other genes and gene products as well as with the environment to result in alcohol dependence.Underage Drinking Alcohol is the most commonly used and abused drug among youth in the United States.
1 Excessive drinking is responsible for more than 4, deaths among underage youth each year, and cost the U.S. $24 billion in economic costs in 2,3. Alcohol abuse can also cause short-term effects to the body.
Although there are many different short-term effects, the most common happens to be a hangover which is a “group of symptoms experienced by a person after a heavy consumption of alcohol” (Alcoholic 1).
Next, State law, also prohibits any internal possession of alcohol by minors, with absolutely no exceptions. Third, the purchase of alcohol by minors is prohibited, with the exception of undercover law enforcement purposes. The next two laws are perhaps part of the problem of underage drinking.
Given these results on average of all grades, 20% of the students surveyed were unaware of the dangers of alcohol use. If one calculates, using the formular of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (), “three teens are killed each day when they drink alcohol and drive.
Effects of Drinking Alcohol Drinking alcohol is like taking a drug. It is a form of drug abuse, and drug addiction. This is a worldwide problem that many people are involved in. There are good effects of alcohol if it is in small amounts, and in moderation.
On the other hand there are bad short and long term effects. Given these results on average of all grades, 20% of the students surveyed were unaware of the dangers of alcohol use.
If one calculates, using the formular of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (), “three teens are killed each day when they drink alcohol and drive.