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Alcohol Addiction In Young Adults

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Girls who reported drinking alone at 18 were at particular risk for alcohol abuse and dependency later in life, the researchers reported. Previous studies have found young men are more likely to engage in solo drinking, so it could be that when young women are doing it, its a particularly stronger signal that something might be going awry, Creswell said.

Young women might be more reliant on alcohol to cope with negative emotions, she added.

The findings come as a growing body of research points to particular concern about the impact of alcohol on womens health.

Women absorb and metabolize alcohol differently than men, so the alcohol stays in a womans body longer, increasing the risk of liver disease, heart disease and certain cancers, Dawn Sugarman, a research psychologist in the division of alcohol, drugs and addiction at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts, previously told TODAY.

When it comes to mental health, women already have twice the risk of men for depression and anxiety, and women are more likely than men to drink to cope with these negative feelings, she added.

What If I’m Concerned About Someone Else’s Drinking

Sometimes people live in homes where a parent or other family member drinks too much. This may make you angry, scared, and depressed. Many people can’t control their drinking without help. This doesn’t mean that they love or care about you any less. Alcoholism is an illness that needs to be treated just like other illnesses.

People with drinking problems can’t stop drinking until they are ready to admit they have a problem and get help. This can leave family members and loved ones feeling helpless. The good news is there are many places to turn for help: a supportive adult, such as your guidance counselor, or a relative or older sibling will understand what you’re going through. Also, professional organizations like Alateen can help.

If you have a friend whose drinking concerns you, make sure he or she stays safe. Don’t let your friend drink and drive, for example. If you can, try to keep friends who have been drinking from doing anything dangerous, such as trying to walk home at night alone or starting a fight. And protect yourself, too. Don’t get in a car with someone who’s been drinking, even if that person is your ride home. Ask a sober adult to drive you instead or call a cab.

Everyone makes decisions about whether to drink and how much even adults. It’s possible to enjoy a party or other event just as much, if not more so, when you don’t drink. And with your central nervous system working as it’s supposed to, you’ll remember more about the great time you had!

Perfect Storm Of Problems

The study, , was based on surveys completed by about 4,500 high school seniors from across the U.S. about their drinking habits, including how often they drank alone.

They were then followed for 17 years into adulthood, sharing more information about their alcohol use at age 23 or 24, and then again at 35. In that last survey, the participants were asked if their drinking caused any problems consistent with alcohol use disorder, such as alcohol interfering with their work or home life, or wanting to stop drinking but unable to.

About 25% of adolescents and 40% of young adults reported drinking alone. This studys data collection stopped in 2019, but newer research shows theres been an increase in solo drinking during the pandemic, plus an increase in depression and anxiety, Creswell said.

It could create this perfect storm where people might be developing a problematic relationship with alcohol as a way to cope with those negative emotions, she warned.

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Failing To Meet Potential At School

When young people drink, it takes longer for the alcohol to get out of their system than it does in adults. So if young people drink alcohol on a night before school, then they can do less well in lessons the next day.

Young people who regularly drink alcohol are twice as likely to miss school and get poor grades as those who dont. Almost half of young people excluded from school in the UK are regular drinkers.

Teen Boys Or Teen Girls: Who Drinks The Most


Historically, teen boys began drinking alcohol at an earlier age and consumed more alcohol than their female peers. This trend has somewhat reversed over the past few years. Teen girls now report drinking at an earlier age, drinking more often, and binge drinking more frequently than boys of the same age.

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What Causes Alcohol Abuse

Early use teens that start drinking too early are more likely to get addicted to alcohol. While its unlikely that a teen is going to enjoy the taste of their first drink very much, getting drunk early in life can quickly alter a teens brain and eventually lead to them to take to booze much faster than any of their peers. While being aware of drinking and its risks early in life is important, parents should supervise their teens first drink and give them no more than a sip, if at all. Its normal in some cultures for parents to give their children some alcohol at a certain age, as a rite of passage, but its important not to give them enough to get drunk.

Trauma and abuse Teens who have gone through something traumatic or have survived a history of abuse may struggle with deep-seated emotional and psychological issues that they do not know how to handle. Alcohol can help temporarily relieve the pressure from these thoughts and issues in a way never previously imagined for someone who has lived with them for most of their childhood. This can quickly lead to a dependence on alcohol as a form of medication. Similarly, teens with mental disorders may turn towards alcohol if their disorders are left untreated.

Alcohol Addiction In Young Adults

Alcohol is the most widely used substance by teenagers today. In fact, nearly two out of every three students have already consumed alcohol by the end of high school, and over one quarter by the end of 8th grade. The majority of people in the United States consume alcohol, and most individuals over 18 admit to drinking on a regular basis. Perhaps the reason alcohol use is so common among youth today lies in its increasing availability. Teens seeking alcohol can simply reach into their parents or friends parents liquor cabinets, or ask a friend in college to buy them a bottle for a small additional fee. Many high school students today even have fake IDs.

If you think your child is drinking, and his alcohol consumption is becoming a problem, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible. Alcohol abuse is extremely dangerous, and can put a person in various risky situations. Alcohol stands as the third leading preventable cause of death in the countryapproximately 5,000 people under the age of 21 die from underage drinking each year.

Alcohol addiction, or alcoholism, can occur in anyone, at any age. It is one of the most difficult addictions to identify, however, because it is so widely accepted among our culture. Unlike harder drugs such as heroin or cocaine, alcohol is easily accessible and socially accepted. People, young and old, drink to celebrate and enjoy themselves on various occasions. It is easy, therefore, for them to also mask their habit.

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Are Teens Who Drink Alcohol More Likely To Use Drugs

Alcohol use and dependence on alcohol in teens is often linked with increased drug and substance use in the same group of young people.

Teen alcohol and drug use can sometimes be seen to go hand-in-hand. Some young people will try drugs or alcohol on a few occasions and decide that it is not something that they wish to continue. Some teenagers may find that experimenting leaves them with a desire or craving to use again. For some teenagers the psychological and physical craving may lead to continued use, increasing in frequency and amounts despite the negative consequences that result.

The latter group may develop the signs and symptoms associated with Substance Use Disorder . Teens with a history of adverse childhood experiences or traumatic events are seen to be at increased risk of experimenting with drugs and alcohol, which can lead to dependency, with related mental health issues.

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1 SAMHSA, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Table 2.17B Alcohol Use in Lifetime among Persons Aged 12 or Older, by Age Group and Demographic Characteristics: Percentages, 2018 and 2019. . Accessed December 8, 2020.

2 SAMHSA, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Table 2.18B Alcohol Use in Past Year among Persons Aged 12 or Older, by Age Group and Demographic Characteristics: Percentages, 2018 and 2019. . Accessed December 8, 2020.

3 SAMHSA, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Table 2.19B Alcohol Use in Past Month among Persons Aged 12 or Older, by Age Group and Demographic Characteristics: Percentages, 2018 and 2019. . Accessed December 8, 2020.

4 SAMHSA, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Table 2.20B Binge Alcohol Use in Past Month among Persons Aged 12 or Older, by Age Group and Demographic Characteristics: Percentages, 2018 and 2019. . Accessed December 8, 2020.

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What Is Drinking To Black Out

Drinking can have significant effects on memory, particularly with how we transfer information to long-term memory storage. When memory is partially or completely blocked out, it is sometimes referred to as black out.

Adolescent brains respond differently from adult brains and are more susceptible to alcohol-related memory loss or blackouts.

In Australia, 32% of 1617-year-olds report experiencing alcohol-induced blackouts on more than one occasion.

In the same survey, 100% of 1215-year-olds reported memory loss after episodes of binge drinking.

What Is Binge Drinking

More than 90% of alcohol consumed by teenagers and young adults is during episodes of binge drinking.

Binge drinking refers to a pattern of drinking behaviours that can lead to serious medical consequences, including death.

Binge drinking describes a rapid drinking style that brings the blood alcohol concentration to 0.08% or 0.08 grams of alcohol per decilitre . For a typical teenager or adolescent, binge drinking would mean approximately three alcoholic drinks in a 2-hour period , and approximately four alcoholic drinks in a 2-hour period depending on their age, weight, and height.

Binge drinking increases the chance of risk-taking behaviours in teens. Drink-driving, violent behaviour, being involved in sexual assault and the risk of accidental death are all much higher in young people who engage in binge drinking.

*The National Institute on Alcohol Use and Alcoholism .

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Celebrity Support Is Highly Influential

This is compounded by the fact that many high-profile drinks companies or brands are owned or endorsed by pop stars: Justin Timberlake, Jay-Z, George Clooney, Matthew McConaughey, David Beckham, Blake Shelton, Dan Aykroyd, and Dennis Rodman are just a few of the dozens of celebrities who stand behind an alcohol brand. For a young adult of impressionable age, this is a desirable ideal to be emulated.

Weve seen the same troubling sensibility emerge among teens who want to model their lives after rap artists who glamorize the gangster lifestyle. This often encourages troubling behavior that includes seeking out handguns and objectifying women. Ultimately, the image is not meant to scream do what I do, but to a young mind, it becomes an archetype especially when things might not be so great on the home front.

There is a great deal of evidence to support the fact that when children are exposed to ads for a specific brand, there is greater likelihood that they will drink that brand if and when they have the opportunity. The unfortunate thing is this is not going to change anytime soon.

Causes And Risk Factors For Alcohol Addiction

Infographic: Alcohol Effects on the Body  Alcohol Consequences

Generally, its accepted that addiction to drugs or alcohol is not the result of a single factor rather it is a complex interplay of genetic, environmental, and physical risk factors working together to create addiction. The most commonly accepted theories about addiction include:

Genetic: Addiction is known to have a familial component. Teens who are born into families in which addiction affects a close relative are four times more likely to develop an addiction themselves than peers without a similar history. However, addiction does develop in many without a family history.

Physical: With chronic, repeated use, alcohol use can actually change the structure and function of the still-developing brains of teenagers. Without treatment, these changes may result in addiction to alcohol and other drugs.

Environmental: Teens who are under intense amounts of personal stress are at greater risks for using alcohol as a means to cope with the pressures of daily life. Additionally, being raised in a family in which addiction or alcoholism was present can increase the likelihood a teen will go on to develop problem drinking.

Risk Factors:

Signs and Symptoms

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Fiona Yassin is the International Clinical Director at The Wave Clinic in Kuala Lumpur, working with teenagers, young adults and their families. Fiona is a UK registered Psychotherapist and Supervisor of Clinicians.

EMDR trained and a member of EMDRIA, Fiona recognises the role of complex trauma in eating disorders and is currently developing Trauma-Focused Eating Disorder Services in Asia and the Middle East. Fiona is an International Chapter member of IAEDP, CBT-E, and RO-DBT trained. Fiona is also a Fellow of APPCH.

Why Shouldn’t I Drink

Although it’s illegal to buy alcohol in the United States until the age of 21, most teens can get access to it. It’s therefore up to you to make a decision about drinking. In addition to the possibility of becoming addicted, there are some downsides to drinking:

The punishment is severe. Teens who drink put themselves at risk for obvious problems with the law . Teens who drink are also more likely to get into fights and commit crimes than those who don’t.

People who drink regularly also often have problems with school. Drinking can damage a student’s ability to study well and get decent grades, as well as affect sports performance .

You can look really stupid. The impression is that drinking is cool, but the nervous system changes that come from drinking alcohol can make people do stupid or embarrassing things, like throwing up or peeing on themselves. Drinking also gives people bad breath, and no one enjoys a hangover.

Alcohol puts your health at risk. Teens who drink are more likely to be sexually active and to have unsafe, unprotected sex. Resulting pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases can change or even end lives. The risk of injuring yourself, maybe even fatally, is higher when you’re under the influence, too. One half of all drowning deaths among teen guys are related to alcohol use. Use of alcohol greatly increases the chance that a teen will be involved in a car crash, homicide, or suicide.

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What Does This Information Tell Us

It is doubtful that these types of studies offer any incremental or additional diagnostic utility to the process used by APA to identify alcohol use disorders and other problems associated with alcohol use in individuals. For example, even though the study was released in 2007, the researchers did a follow-up study to follow their participants and describe how they had progressed in 2010. Other models of alcohol use disorders have been generated with different groups/classifications, and the diagnostic criteria for alcohol use disorders presented in 2013 in the DSM-5 does not identify any subtypes of alcohol use disorders other than individuals who have mild, moderate, or severe alcohol use disorders. The designation of the severity of an individuals alcohol use disorder is based on the number of symptoms/diagnostic criteria that they meet, with individuals satisfying more symptoms being diagnosed with more severe manifestations of alcohol abuse.

However, some general associations from this study and similar studies, along with information provided in the DSM-5 and other clinical sources, can allow one to generalize some specific risk factors for developing issues with alcohol abuse at an early age.

Misplaced Hero Worship All The Wrong Reasons

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With the great influence that celebrities wield over their younger fans, its no wonder that young adults identify with their lifestyle choices, including their struggles. Its not a new phenomenon, either.

The image of the movie star, rock star, or sports celebrity who battles with addictions and alcoholism is archetypical and has swayed many a young person to delve into dangerous territory, simply so that they could experience the same things.

Whether its marijuana, heroin, prescription drugs, cocaine, or alcohol, its a compelling image to a young mind. They look at their hero and think that is so cool, that is so glamorous, not realizing how tragic and ugly the end really was. They dont see the daily struggles, the broken dreams, the heartbreak, the depression, the absolute compulsion that drives the disease. All they see is the public face, the smiles as they laugh it off, apologize for their mistakes and wage a miraculous comeback if indeed they live to tell the tale.

Unfortunately, once they arrive at those conclusions, its mostly too late.

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