Teen Health on Alcohol

Underage Drinking

Responsible Decision

Despite the legal drinking age of 21 years, almost 80% of all high school students have tried alcohol. Ultimately, it is your own personal decision whether or not you chose to drink alcohol, but we are going to provide you with information on teen health on alcohol so that you can make an educated, responsible choice.

What is Alcohol?

Alcohol is a beverage created by fermenting grains, fruits, and vegetables. Fermentation uses yeast or bacteria to turn the sugars in the food into alcohol. It can be used as a cleaner, an antiseptic, or a sedative. When consumed, alcohol gets absorbed directly into the bloodstream and affects the central nervous system in which controls all of our body functions.

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How Does it Affect the Body?

Being considered a depressant drug, alcohol slows the function of the central nervous system. It can affect one's emotions, perceptions, movement, hearing, and even vision. Alcohol can cause someone to feel more relaxed at times. Larger amounts of it can lead to greater changes in the brain in which results in intoxication. Over-users tend to stagger, lose coordination, and slur their speech. Reaction times are greatly slowed and people that are intoxicated may believe that they are moving properly even when they are really not. Too much alcohol can result in alcohol poisoning. The symptoms include vomiting, extreme sleepiness, unconsciousness, difficulty breathing, dangerously low blood sugar, seizures, and even death in some cases.

Why Do Teens Drink?

  1. Curiosity
  2. To feel good, reduce stress, and relax
  3. To fit in
  4. To feel older

Why Shouldn't I Drink?

Aside from the fact that there is a possibility of addiction, the punishment for underage drinking is severe. It is against the law and you are more likely to commit crimes and get into fights. Regular drinkers have problems with school. Drinking can damage your academic ability as well as your recreational ability. It can also make you look really stupid and cause you to do stupid, embarrassing things such as throwing up or peeing on yourself. Drinking can lead to bad breath, hangovers, unprotected sex, STDs, and can greatly increase your risk for injury. The use of alcohol also greatly increases your risk for drowning, automobile crashes, homicide, suicide, and health problems such as obesity and organ damage.

How Can I Avoid Drinking?

Some ways to avoid drinking include saying "no thanks", giving them a reason not to drink, avoid going near people/parties where you know there is going to be alcohol, plan other things to do than just going where alcohol may be, join an extracurricular activity, and get your self-esteem up. People who have a high self-esteem are very likely not to get into problems like alcohol.

Where Can I Get Help?

The best approach to go about if you have a drinking problem is a trusted adult. This may include your parents, school counselor, aunt, uncle, and many more. After assessing the problem, the adult may recommend rehab or outpatient treatment. These treatments are a great help to overcome both the physical and psychological dependence on alcohol.

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What if I'm Concerned About Someone Else's Drinking?

Living in a family with a drinker may cause other family members to be angry, scared or depressed. Alcoholism is considered an illness and needs to be treated like an illness. People with drinking problems often times will not stop drinking until they admit they have a problem. This often times leaves family and loved ones feeling helpless. Guidance counselors, siblings, a supportive adult, and professional organizations such as Alateen can help. Never let anyone drink and drive or do something dangerous when they are drunk and definitely do not get into a car with a driver that has been drinking.

It's Up to You

Don't let alcohol hold you back from being yourself. We hope this newsletter has made you think twice about drinking alcohol so that you can make a healthier, better choice for your life and your future. Ultimately, it's up to you to make it count!