Teenage is a period when curious young minds start to explore and seek new experiences to fit into societal expectations. While discovering oneself is crucial as a teenager, being lured by alcohol or drugs can be dangerous.
In the United States, nearly 5,000 adolescents die in car accidents, suicide or homicide under the influence of alcohol.
If the consequences of drinking alcohol at an early age are already known then what drives teenagers to enter the world full of risks?
How Underage Drinking Starts?
During their teenage, kids experience transitions including lifestyle, emotional and physical changes. With all such transitions going on, they develop a curiosity for experimenting.
It is safe to say that adolescence itself contributes as a risk factor for starting to drink. Other factors that may contribute can be peer pressure, seeing advertisements on how people enjoy their life after being high or even family members drinking socially.
For teenagers who have fallen prey to the web of alcohol and are struggling to come out of it, seeking help becomes important. Parents can assure the safety of their wards during recovery if they enroll them at the right rehab centers like a lux rehab in Florida which offer specialized facilities and provide a safe and nurturing environment.
But the first and the most crucial step is to identify the root causes and stop children before they become completely dependent on alcohol to survive.
Causes of Underage Drinking
1. Peer pressure
Among hundreds of reasons, peer pressure stands out as one of the most influential factors driving teenagers to start drinking.
When peers indulge in some activity, fearing that they might be left out, teenagers get compelled to follow them. The desire to be accepted in a particular group or to feel like they belong somewhere they start mimicking what the other members of the group do.
When surrounded by a group of friends who engage in alcohol consumption, teenagers may do the same to avoid being called as an outsider. As a result, many teenagers start drinking to fit in.
During this phase of life, teenagers want to experiment, explore and test their boundaries and alcohol being forbidden can easily become their target.
Watching an advertisement or a movie scene, a teenager might get curious about how it feels to be under the influence of alcohol. They can even misunderstand alcohol as a source to cope with their ongoing issues.
3. Coping Mechanism
As pointed out above, teenagers often misunderstand alcohol as a coping mechanism but what they don’t understand is the fact that alcohol might offer relief from anxiety or stress temporarily but it can do permanent damage to their health.
Teenagers who start drinking to navigate through academic pressure or challenges can develop a dependency on alcohol for quite a long period of their life.
4. Lack of Knowledge about Risks
While deciding on having their first-ever sip of alcohol, teenagers do not think about the consequences of it. Their lack of knowledge about the risks of drinking makes them think there aren’t any.
They make uninformed choices without acknowledging the chances of accidents or legal repercussions.
They underestimate the chances of doing self-harm, getting involved in sexual activities or even meeting accidents because of impaired judgment while under the influence.
To protect teenagers from underage drinking, it has become crucial to educate them about the risks and consequences of their actions.
The media must acknowledge that they might be encouraging adolescents to underage drinking and put an end to it.
Parents, educators and society also have to understand what draws teenagers to underage drinking. They need to come forward together to guide the adolescents on responsibly making a decision.