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08-27 The current trends of alcohol use in relation to new influences

The current trends of alcohol use in relation to new influences

The problems teenagers deal with can arise in many forms. Particularly, coming of age to new, adult responsibilities and opportunities is a source of much stress. Experimentation with alcohol is a common culprit, as many teens have felt the need to participate in order to fit in. But in a world with such advanced technology and interaction, the general behavior of adolescents is changing.

According to the UK research journal Demos, social media was reducing substance abuse while also fueling procrastination for youth. In fact, two-thirds of adolescents report that alcohol did not play a significant role in their social lives. In addition, almost one-fifth reported that they practice complete abstinence from alcoholic beverages, also known as tee-totalism. In terms of their reasons, more than four out of 10 worry that their reputation would be damaged if drunken pictures were posted online.

Professor Stephanie Lanza from Pennsylvania State University and her team of researchers analyzed surveys of over 600,000 high school seniors from 1976 to 2013 about their alcohol, cigarette and cannabis usage. The results showed that even in 2013, cigarettes and marijuana were still dominated by alcohol in terms of teen use. Alcohol consumption has been on a gradual decline after the 1970s, but it is still more prevalent with adolescents when compared to cigarette or other illicit drugs. In time however, cannabis will soon overtake alcohol in terms of consumption as the leader in teen substance abuse, as almost 22 percent of white teens smoked marijuana while 25 percent of black teens used the drug and the trends show no signs of slowing.

Even though alcohol use is declining, it is imperative to consider that the dangers of consumption should not be downplayed. Even today, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism lists a variety of related risks to health and safety:

  • About 62,000 men and 26,000 women experience alcohol-related deaths each year. It is the third most preventable cause of death in the United States
  • The misuse of alcohol cost the U.S. $223.5 billion in 2006 due to required treatments and other related problems
  • Alcohol use by adolescents could interfere with healthy brain development and increase the risk of developing a substance-based addiction or disorder
  • 97,000 students from 18 to 24 years old reported a case of sexual assault or date rape in the presence of alcohol
  • An estimated 20 percent of college students meet the criteria for alcohol use disorder (AUD)

If your teenager is struggling with a type of dependency, support is out there. Sovereign Health Rancho San Diego is a facility that specializes in treating adolescents and teenagers struggling with substance abuse. Call 866-577-3633 to speak with a professional today.

Written by Lee Yates, Sovereign Health Group writer

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