Have you also been told to avoid drinking alcohol throughout your teenage years, and have always been curious why you shouldn’t drink when underage?
Although one should try not to get prone to drinking alcohol throughout their lives as it has harmful long-term consequences on both adults and children. But, when less than 21 years, the brain and body are more susceptible to permanent damage that one can’t get rid of throughout their life.
This includes brain damage, liver diseases, etc. However, the problem is becoming more and more common with every passing day. In fact, every one in three students in high school drink alcohol.
Want to know why you shouldn’t drink when underage and how children can face its disproportionate effects? Then dig through the article as it covers all the nitty-gritty of underage drinking and its harmful consequences.
What Is Underage Drinking?
All teenagers and adults who are less than 21 years and drink alcoholic beverages are called underage drinkers, and the process is known as underage drinking.
It is recommended not to drink when less than 21 years. The reason is that it poses various risks to humans’ physical and mental health, including slowed brain function, liver damage, etc.
Why Do Children And Teenagers Start Drinking?
There are multiple factors that can play the role of culprits in triggering a child’s decision to drink alcohol; where some start just to look cool, while others drink to overcome the peer pressure and worry of securing high grades.
A few known factors that lead a teenager to start drinking are:
- Peer pressure
- Alcoholic parents
- Bad friends circle
- To overcome stress
- Having free access to it
Yes, it was quite surprising to learn that teenagers and children have free access to alcohol in most cases. In fact, a study done in 2021 showed that 99.7% of teenagers get free access to alcohol for the first time, either from their family or friends.
Tops Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Drink When Underage
Now that we are up with the general now-know of underage drinking and the possible reasons let’s unravel the top reasons why you shouldn’t drink when underage. These include
1. Increased Risk of Alcohol Dependency
The first and foremost reason is that drinking alcohol at a young age makes you more dependent on alcohol than others. In fact, studies showed that individuals who start drinking alcohol underage have a 20.9% more chance of becoming alcohol dependent.
The reason is that since they consume alcohol at a younger age, they build greater tolerance to drinking alcohol. As a result, with time, the body becomes tolerant to alcohol and fails to produce feel-good hormones. Consequently, these teenagers start to consume more alcohol due to increased body tolerance and, therefore, easily become addicted.
That is why most AUD patients share a history of drinking alcohol since their teenage years.
2. Negative impacts on brain development
Alcohol consumption at an early age has shown a negative impact on the growth and development of adolescent brains too.
Research shows that when in teenage, the human brain is still in the process of maturing and, therefore, undergoes various changes.
So, if one consumes alcohol during this age for development, it can lead to ill effects on the brain, thus slowing down its ability to learn and show impulsive behavior.
Exactly how drinking alcohol affects the brain is yet to be discovered. However, till now, it is believed that the prefrontal cortex is usually in the process of maturing in the early 20s, and therefore, drinking probably affects this area.
3. Liver Damage
Additionally, drinking alcohol underage has a detrimental effect on liver health too.
Research has shown that teenagers and adolescents who are habitual of drinking alcohol have elevated amounts of liver enzymes, which damage the liver and cause various liver problems like hepatitis, fatty liver, etc.
In fact, even moderate amounts of drinking can lead to a damaged liver at a young age.
4. Growth and Endocrine Effects
Teenage is marked as the age of puberty in which the human body undergoes various hormonal and developmental changes, including marked changes in the amount of sex hormones, estrogen, and testosterone. Drinking alcohol can result in irregular production of these hormones in opposite genders, leading to various problems.
5. Safety Problem
Additionally, it has been found that drunk teenagers are at more risk of an accident. According to national highway traffic, 5051 drivers were involved in fatal motor crashes aged between 16 to 20, of which 19% were drunk on the spot. Moreover, a survey showed that 80% of the youth who frequently drink throughout the week drive a car. Additionally, it is seen that 29% of the drivers aged between 15 to 19 years that meet fatal crashes were drunk.
Moreover, it can result in impaired cognitive function and decision-making sense. They make poor choices and get hyperactive in difficult situations when drunk.
6. Academic Issue
Lastly, drinking alcohol when underage is known to affect one’s learning behavior too. They show delayed learning and difficulty in retaining information.
Moreover, teenagers exposed to alcohol are known to miss classes more frequently and have a poor CGPA.
How To Cut Off Drinking Alcohol
Here are a few steps that can help stop teenage drinking:
- Talk to your children and explain the side effects of drinking alcohol. However, don’t scold them or start a lecture. Instead, talk in a friendly tone.
- Share with them some facts about how underage drinking can cause permanent damage.
- Pose a good influence on them.
- Help them control their temptation by keeping liquor at bay from home.
- Keep a check on their private activities.
If you are exposed to drinking alcohol when underage, it damages your brain, harms your liver, leaves you inactive, and increases the chance of being alcohol dependent.
Now that you are up with the top reasons why you shouldn’t drink when underage let’s stop drinking alcohol and thus keep our life from being wasted.
I am a passionate beer connoisseur with a deep appreciation for the art and science of brewing. With years of experience tasting and evaluating various beers, I love to share my opinions and insights with others and I am always eager to engage in lively discussions about my favorite beverage.