Teenage alcoholism is a condition characterized by increased cravings for alcohol. More than 70% of adolescents under the age of 15 have tried alcohol at least once. Alcohol dependence in adolescents develops much faster than in adults. This is due to physiological reasons. Since the prevention of adolescent alcoholism is practically not carried out, subsequently such persons become chronic alcoholics.
Every 10th teenager who enters a neuropsychiatric dispensary suffers from alcohol dependence. If children drink regularly, then addiction can develop within 1 year and even earlier. There are no exact statistics on alcohol consumption by children.
Consumption of alcohol at least once a week for several months is considered systematic. Childhood alcoholism develops regardless of the type of drink. It can start with simple beer or cocktails. The problem of alcoholism is widespread. Everyone knows about the dangers of drug addiction and alcoholism. Drunkenness is harmful to health, reduces school performance, interferes with a full life, and often causes personality degradation.
Causes of adolescent alcoholism
A teenager most often tries alcohol due to external circumstances, so he tries to interact differently with the world around him. Dependence on ethanol develops very quickly, tolerance increases, and there is a craving for use. It takes only a few months from the beginning of a regular intake of alcohol to severe dependence on it. The main causes of teenage alcoholism:
- Unfavorable external environment, drinking parents, relatives, friends;
- Problems at school, family, company, attempts to get away from them, “forget”;
- Large quantities of uncontrolled pocket money;
- Weak temper when a teenager drinks to be “like everyone else”;
- Lack of attention and understanding in the family, free time that has nowhere to spend;
- The desire to seem grown-up, to assert himself, to show off in front of his friends as “cool”.
Hyper custody on the part of the mother, constant total control of every step, psychological abuse often push the teenager into the arms of the “green snake”. Often, the child’s introduction to the bottle takes place at home, at the family table, the child understands that the psychological barrier easily moves after a glass and starts drinking with his peers.
Stages of adolescent alcoholism
Modern medicine considers alcoholism in adolescents as a progressive disease process. Like any other pathological condition, this syndrome is characterized by a specific clinical picture. Moreover, each subsequent phase of addiction is accompanied by different physical and mental disorders. Meanwhile, narcologists identify the following stages in the development of alcoholism in adolescents:
The first is characterized by the emergence of an obsessive, but surmountable psychological dependence on alcohol.
The second – provides for the emergence of compulsive craving for alcohol and withdrawal symptoms.
The third one is caused by an irresistible craving for alcoholic beverages.
The main stages in the development of alcohol dependence in medicine are considered to be:
The beginning of addiction to alcoholic beverages. This process takes about 3 months.
Systematic use. The beginning of changes in the child’s behavior. At this stage, the disease can be stopped by stopping drinking.
Mental addiction. The period occurs one year after the start of alcohol intake. A teenager is often drunk, he can no longer live without alcohol, he does not care what alcohol to drink, where and when.
Withdrawal symptoms. Teenagers no longer control the amount of alcohol they drink, the tolerance of which increases several times. The transition of the disease to the chronic stage is observed.
Dementia. Children experience a sharp decline in mental capacity.
It should be borne in mind that the greatest danger of adolescent alcoholism lies in its effect on the central and peripheral nervous systems. At 10-14 years old, a person develops a network of neurons, habits are formed. Because of this, alcohol during this period is as dangerous as possible. A child’s body is not as hardy as an adult. Because of this, their addiction can develop extremely quickly.
In general, the negative consequences of adolescent alcoholism can be grouped into separate groups:
Effects on the nervous system and the brain. With the regular use of alcohol, you significantly reduce brain activity. Concentration, attention, memory also decrease. The child is no longer able to learn normally, from mentally and morally degrades. The only interest he has is alcohol.
Ethyl alcohol, which makes alcoholic beverages alcoholic, negatively affects the walls of the stomach and liver. In a teenager, these organs secrete enzymes slowly and in small quantities. The liver, open to negative effects, is rapidly destroyed. The metabolism of proteins and carbohydrates is disrupted, the assimilation of useful elements is disrupted.
Alcohol is extremely dangerous for the functioning of the stomach and the entire digestive system. It has been proven that after its use, the active production of gastric juice begins, which destroys the walls of the organ. The pancreas also ceases to function normally, which is why diabetes and pancreatitis develop. With frequent use of alcohol, all the useful elements are washed out of the body.
Prevention of alcoholism in adolescents is the best solution, since it is easier to prevent the disease than to cure it. It should be borne in mind that even one intake of alcohol has a negative impact on health. Proper motivation will help prevent anomaly.
Parents need to calmly explain to the child what consequences an addiction can lead to:
Personal problems. Rape, unsafe sex and other unpleasant manifestations lead to alcohol consumption. An unwanted pregnancy can lead to early marriage and affect success in life, as well as professional activity.
Trouble with the law. Drinking intoxicating beverages in adolescence is an offense. Drinking increases the likelihood of accidents, violence and various crimes.
Studies confirm that 42% of adolescents with whom their parents talk about the dangers of alcohol refuse to use it. Helps prevent the development of anomaly mode.
Passion for sports, outdoor activities and various hobbies increase self-esteem, which helps prevent the development of addiction. Religion also helps some in preventing anomalies. It improves spiritual and emotional balance.
If the situation still gets out of control, and the child has acquired an addiction, do not try to treat him at home, nothing good will come of it, and you will only aggravate an already difficult situation. Do not try to postpone the problem, see your doctor immediately. The most effective method in the treatment of child alcoholism is psychotherapy.
An experienced specialist, during a systematic visit, will understand the problem and recommend the most effective method of treatment. Even if the child begins to have positive dynamics, do not rush to cancel the course of treatment, go through it to the end, the teenager must himself realize the seriousness of the situation and decide to give up alcohol.
If you try to impose your opinion or use force, it can provoke the opposite effect.
The first steps that family members of a sick child should take:
- limit child’s contacts with drinking friends
- make sure that the teenager does not have extra pocket money
- send a child to a sports section or circle
- seek medical and psychotherapeutic help
- try to build trust with the child
One of the methods of treatment is coding the adolescent with the help of specialized medications, but it should be carried out only with the consent of the child and loved ones. This method is very effective, but it has a lot of side effects, so it is dangerous to health. When choosing this method, you need to carefully weigh the pros and cons.