Drinking in childhood is a serious problem
Alcohol has a negative impact on health. Alcohol can damage every organ in your body, including your developing brain. Alcohol can affect your ability to co-ordinate movements, memory, and judgement.
In addition to its negative impact on health, alcohol use among youth can lead to violence, risky sexual behavior, poor performance in school, alcohol-related driving incidents, and other harmful behaviors. Youth drinking alcohol has also been found to cause youthful deaths by drowning, suicide, and homicide. Children who drink alcohol before the age of 15 years are five times more likely than those who start after age 21 to develop a bad drinking habit.
Children and Teens Who Drink
Certain behaviors may indicate alcohol abuse, especially if the behavior occurs suddenly or seems extreme.
- Memory lapses
- Poor concentration
- Mood changes, flare-ups, irritability, and defensiveness
- A "nothing matters" attitude
- Low energy
- Bloodshot eyes
- Lack of coordination
- Slurred speech
- School problems, poor attendance, low grades, and/or recent disciplinary action.
- Rebelling against family rules.
- Switching friends, along with a reluctance to let you get to know the new friends.
- Sloppy appearance
- A lack of involvement in former interests
Long-term effects include
- Diseases of the liver such as cirrhosis and cancer
- Loss of appetite
- Serious vitamin deficiencies
- Stomach ailments
- Heart and central nervous system damage
- Memory loss
- An increased risk of impotence
- High risk for overdosing
Why do children and teens drink?
There are many things that influence a young person to drink: peer pressure, curiosity, to be popular, to feel like a grown up to name just a few.
Drinking alcohol interferes with a person's perception of reality and ability to make good decisions. This is a dangerous situation for children and teens who typically have less problem solving abilities and experience to make decisions than adults.
Drinking and driving is one of the biggest killers of adolescents.
Tips to Avoid Harm Caused by Alcohol
- Learn to say no when you don’t want a drink
- Stay away from people who want you to drink more than you want to
- Do not participate in games involving drinking
- Do not drink and drive
- Do not get in a car with a driver who has been drinking
- Do not get drunk – you open yourself to danger