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Underage drinking is an American reality

Posted on 04-20-17 in Alcohol

Most young Americans consider drinking alcohol as an ideal way to relax. They view it as the rite of passage into adulthood and end up drinking in excess, endangering both themselves as well as others. Teenagers are the most vulnerable when it comes to adopting undesirable habits. Emotional upheavals experienced during this vulnerable phase heighten the risk of experimenting with harmful substances or getting involved in precarious situations demanding immediate attention.

Although underage drinking is illegal in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that people aged 12 to 20 years drink 11 percent of all alcohol consumed nationwide. Besides, more than 90 percent of this alcohol is consumed while binge drinking. It all sets in with feelings of self-confidence and arousal which culminate in making ordinary individuals feel superhuman but in the long-run people with alcohol addiction end up drowning in a whirlpool of anxiety, paranoia or depression, with a 400 percent chance of falling prey to the killer HIV.

Joe (name changed) was one of those unfortunate high schoolers who made bad choices about sex while under the influence of alcohol. For the 16-year-old boy from Sacramento, alcohol was synonymous to partying, and it was all he needed to get an extra high. After three years of binge drinking weekends with his classmates in Long Beach, San Diego and San Francisco, he felt he had discovered the magic elixir to douse life’s agonies and escape momentarily from his mundane life.

An otherwise introvert, Joe just had to gulp down a couple of drinks to get a fresh lease of that invigorating dose of confidence and he simply wasn’t the shy next door boy any longer. Getting high helped him shed all inhibitions while engaging in risky one-night stands with multiple partners. Frequent spur-of-the-moment decisions while in an inebriated state led him to have unprotected sex with total strangers till the moment he tested positive for HIV.

Why do so many young people drink?

Drinking by persons under the age of 21 years is a serious public health issue in the U.S. It is the time when teenagers and adolescents experience drastic changes in their physique, emotions and the way they look at life ahead. An increasing sense of independence and uncertainty about impending adulthood results in most of them abusing alcohol. For some teenagers, drinking alcohol may be nothing short of experiencing a thrill, which means that adolescence is not only a time when drinking habits are adopted but also a time that could lead to irresponsible drinking habits. The tendency to consume increasing amounts of alcohol increases with advancing age. Also, research suggests that peer pressure, genetic predisposition to alcohol and environmental factors play an important role in coercing teens to drink alcohol.

Though the pervasiveness of drinking culture is similar in both boys and girls, male teens are at a greater likelihood of being involved in binge drinking habits than their female counterparts, especially in rave parties and public places. In fact, no teen party is deemed complete without alcohol. In such a scenario, underage youth find themselves in an environment making it difficult for them to resist alcohol.

Creating public awareness about the harmful effects of alcohol is one of the most effective ways to combat the growing rates of addiction to this socially accepted drug. It is the duty of parents to lay down some ground rules aimed at responsible partying. Parents can ask their teenaged children to choose among other safe alternatives while explaining to them the kinds of risks involved in partying with excessive alcohol.

In an effort to create awareness about alcoholism as a chronic disease, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) has declared April as the Alcohol Awareness Month (AAM). AAM is observed every year to raise public awareness about harmful effects of excessive alcohol consumption and to reduce the stigma associated with alcoholism. This year’s theme is “Connecting the Dots: Opportunities for Recovery.”

Journey to recovery

Alcohol is the most widely misused substance among Americans under the age of 21. Research shows that those who start drinking early in life are more likely to meet the criteria for alcohol dependence at a later stage. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), in 2015, about 623,000 adolescents aged 12-17 had alcohol use disorder (AUD). However, only 6 percent of them received treatment for the disorder at a specialized facility in that year.

Sovereign Health understands the plight of someone who is unable to discontinue the use of harmful substances despite the negative impact on his or her life. Our customized alcohol addiction treatment programs are tailored to individual needs in order to treat the person holistically. Treatment at Sovereign Health of Rancho San Diego’s gender-separate adolescent residential facility can help reverse the damaging effects of drinking too much alcohol by addressing the underlying causes of alcoholism in teens and young adults between 12 and 17 years.

If you or your loved one is battling addiction to alcohol, get in touch with Sovereign Health to gain access to the latest and innovative alcoholism treatment programs at our state-of-the-art alcohol abuse treatment centers in California or in other locations across the U.S. You may call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-698-4295 or chat online to know about the most effective alcoholism treatment programs at our reliable alcohol addiction treatment centers. Our residential treatment facilities in the country are well known for their alcohol detox programs.