Alcoholism is a significant problem for all age groups in most parts of the world.
Australia especially has higher alcohol consumption and teenagers are at particular risk for alcoholism. There is a plethora of potential negative health and social outcomes from alcoholism and the impaired judgment it induces.
Many statistics support the notion of there being an epidemic amongst teenagers and alcohol in Australia.
But is it really a problem?
The health problems that can rise from excessive drinking are serious and numerous. It is recommended that men have no more than 7 drinks in a day or 24 hour period and that women have no more than 5 to avoid serious health risks. The majority of alcohol consumers in Australia are within these boundaries, but a notable percentage drink over this recommended level.
Cirrhosis of the liver is one of the more well-known and relevant problems from too much alcohol. Dozens of other serious medical problems arise from over consumption such as heart and circulatory complications, increased risk of cancers, and stomach and pancreas issues.
The mentioned issues are typically cumulative, but immediate fatal outcomes such as alcohol poisoning and choking on vomit during sleep are existent. Alcoholism impairs judgment and coordination to the point that drinking and driving and other high risk bad decisions are made that are detrimental to health and life.
Drinking too much also produces social problems in the work place, with family, and finances that can lead an alcoholic to rock bottom. Vehicular homicide, domestic violence, and other erratic behavior that arrives from alcoholism can lead teenagers and adults alike in jail for a long time.
Teenagers Especially Vulnerable
Teenagers can especially fall victim to the viciousness of alcoholism. Teenagers by definition are younger and less experienced to be able to casually consume and enjoy a mind altering substance without letting it consume them. Teenagers are also more prone to peer pressure and social situations that promote heavy drinking. Many teenagers participate in binge drinking activities that set a dangerous precedent for over indulgence. The teenager body also often isn’t fully developed and the health problems are harsher for them than full grown adults. Teenager alcoholics and binge drinkers are more likely to have fatal car accidents, commit suicide, and be assaulters and victims of physical violence.
Some interesting statistics
further illustrate how widespread alcohol consumption for young people is in Australia. Over 40% of Aussies over 14 years old are weekly drinkers and 9% are daily drinkers. Of that 40% of weekly drinkers, half of them are between 14 and 19 years old. Approximately 10% of drinkers consume above the recommended daily amount that promotes high risk. Over 80% of drinkers between the ages of 14 and 24 regularly engage in unsafe drinking practices. Teenagers between the ages of 14 and 19 have 40% of their age group engaging in binge drinking. In the recent past, nearly half of all assault cases were alcohol related. Emergency rooms reports that over 30% of people between ages 14 and 19 who come there for injuries recently consumed alcohol.
What Parents Can Do
This information can be especially concerning for parents of teenagers who partake in such risky drinking behavior. Tips for parents to help their teenager survive the alcohol years include;
- Talk to them about safe drinking (no binge drinking, know your limit, being wearing of spiked drinks, regularly detox, etc).
- Don’t allow your alcohol supply to be accessible by teenagers at home.
- Don’t allow teenagers that have past and indicators of heavy drinking or drinking and driving to get behind the wheel during likely drinking times or nights by taking away their keys or prohibit driving all together.
- Exemplify responsible drinking or abstinence from drinking.
- Know when it’s necessary and be willing to execute an intervention if appropriate.