Teenage alcohol abuse is a serious problem that can affect the lives of both individuals and their families. Doctors distinguish between alcoholism and alcohol abuse. Alcoholism is a medical condition which is characterized by a dependence on alcohol. With alcohol abuse, an individual can consume too much alcohol over time or binge drink, but is not dependent on alcohol. Both alcoholism and alcohol abuse are serious conditions that can result in death.
Teenagers who abuse alcohol can experience a variety of negative consequences including interpersonal problems, not being able to complete homework or other responsibilities, drunk driving arrests or car accidents, and health conditions related to drinking too much. More than 50 percent of college students who drink experience some significant problem related to their drinking. Here are some other statistics on teenagers and alcohol abuse:
- More than 15 percent of all college students consume alcohol at levels indicating a significant problem.
- Alcohol poisoning has increased in recent years and can result in a coma or death for the individual.
- Thousands of students in the United States die each year from alcohol related accidents including car crashes, bike accidents, and accidental drowning.
- Of college students who commit suicide, 66 percent were drunk when they killed themselves.
- A child who reaches the age of 21 without abusing alcohol or doing drugs is likely to never do so in his or her lifetime.
- The average age that an individual first tries alcohol is 11 for boys and 13 for girls.
- Those who begin drinking before the age of 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than those who drink after age 21.
- Some estimates suggest that over 3 million high school students are alcoholics and millions more abuse alcohol.
- Teenage drinking, including how often the student drinks and how much is consumed, is directly related to parental supervision, support, and communication.
Although many may shrug off the problem of teenage alcohol abuse, it is clear that early drinking can lead to a host of other problems down the road. Abusing alcohol can keep students from reaching their goals academically and can kill them through alcohol poisoning or various alcohol-related accidents.