There are some who think teen alcoholism is not an issue simply because of the age of the alcoholic. Those people are gravely misinformed.
Teen alcoholism is a serious problem, despite evidence that teen drinking has been on the decline here in the US. Unfortunately, that is not the case in other parts of the world.
Recently, a YouTube video from New Zealand went viral when a teen posted footage of an 8-year old who was so drunk, he incapable of speaking or standing up. Apparently, according to the boy, this was not an isolated incident.
For most, this would obviously be abnormal behavior. However, for many alcoholics and addicts, we started young—very young. So young, in fact, that for some of us, this actually was somewhat normal.
Like the boy, many of us got drunk for the first time at a very early age. Also like the boy, tended to get our alcohol from relatives, or relatives of friends (i.e., their parents). This is not necessarily out of intentional harm or neglect. Again, there are many who simply see this as normal behavior, and therefore do not really think twice about it.
As far as we were concerned at the time, there was no morality attached to such actions. Children and teens are curious by nature, and when they find something new, exciting, and (for the time being) immediately gratifying, they gravitate towards it. They repeat the behavior. They learn.
Naturally, with the mind, body, and emotions still developing at this early age, any changes can drastically offset the development of the child or teen.
Again, the child or teen has no way of knowing this is not normal behavior, because they do not have anything else with which to compare it. As a result, this is the one proven course that provides them the effects they want, and immediately, too.
Why is it, then, that we consider teen alcoholism and addiction as “a phase” or “something they will outgrow”? If there very foundation of their development is established on shaky ground, how can they be expected to develop in any other way than towards the addict/alcoholic way of life?
The short answer is that they, and we, cannot. The good news is that if the problem is addressed quickly, as is the case with any addict or alcoholic, they are saved from further damage. More often than not, this further damage is also not inflicted on the families and loved ones.
However, letting things get further off course and more time elapse in the false hope that the problem will fix itself is simply waiting for disaster. More often than not, this further damage is also inflicted on the families and loved ones.
Teen alcoholism and addiction represent the same affliction that older alcoholics and addicts have—they just have not yet caused the damage that lies over the horizon.
Thoughts on Teen Alcoholism?
What are your thoughts on teen alcoholism and addiction? Let us know in the comments!