It’s easy to forget, given that it is legal, that alcohol is a drug and a highly addictive one at that. Growing up, many youths experiment with it and at age 21 it is seen as a right of passage that we are able to purchase and consume alcohol. Binge drinking is almost seen as a fashion trend between younger people who regularly go out and get intoxicated. This would be all well and good but due to the fact that alcohol affects the brain, it is not possible to have drinking sessions regularly without the possibility of it leading to worse problems. Here are a few facts.
Over 5000 adolescents aged 21 and under are involved in and die from alcohol-related incidents in America each year. This could be from road traffic accidents, murders and suicides, and poisoning due to intoxication.
As alcohol severely impairs your decision making abilities, binge drinking on a regular basis can lead to much more dangerous activities such as driving under the influence, being involved in violent crime, and engaging in sexually promiscuous behavior without thinking about protecting yourself against pregnancy or diseases.
As many as two thirds of high school kids regularly engage in binge drinking activities and in the US, alcohol is the third highest cause of death with over 80,000 people dying from problems caused by alcohol abuse each year. Regularly drinking alcohol can severely damage the body and can lead to problems with the heart, liver, mouth, and mental health.
The truth is that the younger a person is when they start to drink alcohol the more likely they are to develop an addiction, with children between the ages of 11 and 14 being most at risk. The more you drink you build up a tolerance and then need more alcohol to feel the same level of intoxication. Drinking can also be responsible for masking other mental health problems, but in the same respect it can also be the cause.
It is very possible for someone to have an addictive personality and if there is a family history of alcoholism it does make it more likely that other members of the family could develop one.
There are five stages which lead to alcohol abuse. The first is just having access to alcohol for the first time. Stage two is experimenting and having your first alcoholic drink and beginning to drink on a slightly more regular basis (up to weekly). The third stage is where things start to become slightly more serious; alcohol consumption increases to the point where you are regularly engaging in drinking sessions. Stage four is more serious still and is where alcohol consumption begins to affect regular life. Problems emerge in social, working and family related areas and perhaps loved ones and colleagues start to notice that there is a problem developing. Stage five is the most severe and is where the person cannot feel normal unless they are intoxicated and they begin to engage in very damaging behaviors.