For teenagers, there is a particularly increased risk of developing an alcohol use disorder. Teenage brains are still in relatively early stages of development, compelling young men and women to act more impulsively and to test the boundaries of safe and acceptable behavior. The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry writes that the regions of the brain responsible for problem-solving, decision-making, and judgment are not fully formed in teenagers, which manifests itself in behaviors like promiscuous and unprotected sexual behavior, rebelling against authority, and substance abuse. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, more than 4,700 people die every year as a result of teenage alcohol use.
Over 50 percent of American youths between the ages of 12 to 20 have tried alcohol, but their young age, encouragement from peers, and still-developing brains increase the chances of developing a dependence on alcohol, especially if there are environmental and mental health risk factors present, such as a bad home situation, stress related to school and social life, etc. The American Psychological Association points out that teenagers in school report levels of stress that are equal to or even higher than those reported by adults. While most adults have the perspective and experience to control their drinking habits, even among friends, teenagers tend to lack such structures at their age.
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