The Long-Term Effects Of Underage Drinking
Prom, graduation and the start of summer vacation are all key times that trigger a rash of underage drinking. Unfortunately, teenage drinking is a year-round problem. Underage drinking can have some very serious immediate consequences.
Drinking too much can make a young person sick. It can lead to poor decision-making. It can lead to accidents. At the very least, drinking can make a young person feel awful the next day. What many young people fail to consider is that there are lasting consequences too.
Effects Of Long-Term Underage Drinking
Whether you’re a teen yourself or the parent of a teen, understand the long-term implications of underage drinking:
- Legal Troubles – Most teens don’t think about getting caught before they drink, but many make bad choices when they do. These poor decisions can get a teen arrested for disorderly conduct, breaking and entering, drunk driving and more. The legal consequences can follow a young person for years, interfering with applications for college, scholarships or for jobs.
- Chronic Health Problems – When drinking starts at a young age and continues into adulthood, the accumulated effects can mean serious health problems. These may include pancreatitis, cirrhosis of the liver, hepatitis, high blood pressure, anemia and nutritional deficiencies. Drinking at a young age has also been shown to negatively impact the development of bone density, which can later result in osteoporosis
- The Brain – Drinking impacts the developing adolescent brain and causes problems that will continue into adulthood. It can cause permanent problems with memory and cause actual physical damage to the brain. The part of the brain involved in memory, the hippocampus, can be seen in scans to be smaller in people who drank a lot during adolescence than in their non-drinking peers. Other negative impacts include reduced attention spans, ability to think spatially and to plan.
- Accidents, Injuries, And Death – Drinking can lead to any number of accidents from drowning to falling to auto collisions. These have serious short-term consequences, but they can also impact a young person for the duration of their life. If an accident kills a young person, that life is over forever. For the underage drinker that causes a fatality, living with the guilt is a lifelong burden. Injuries may also stick with a young person and cause long-term health problems.
- Addiction – Drinking for the first time as a teen is a risk factor for developing an addiction or a substance abuse disorder later in life. In other words, underage drinkers put themselves at risk for having lifelong struggles with alcoholism or drug addiction.
- Family Problems -When young people drink it can impact the family in many negative ways. All of the terrible consequences that befall the teen drinker, like legal troubles, health problems and accidents, affect the dynamic of the family. Just one drinking incident with bad consequences can start a family crisis and everyone suffers.
The consequences of underage drinking are not difficult to imagine. Anyone who has ever had one drink too many knows just what can happen as a result. What most people, young and old, never think about are the long-lasting consequences. Teens who drink risk becoming addicted, damaging their brains, living with the guilt of hurting someone and having chronic health problems. With all of these and other possible negative outcomes, why would any young person choose to drink?
If You Know A Young Person Who Is Tempted To Drink Or Is Struggling – Call Us Now – We Can Help