Do you know the most widely used drug by teenagers? No, it’s not marijuana, crack cocaine, or glue sniffing although these drugs are commonly abused. It’s actually alcohol.*
Because it is available at grocery and liquor stores, as well as in home liquor cabinets, teens have ready access to lots of alcohol, from beer and wine, to whiskey and tequila. Teenagers don’t breakdown and metabolize alcohol like adults can. Instead of feeling sleepy, you may feel more energized and drink more alcohol than your body can handle. Unfortunately, this may lead to alcohol poisoning and possibly death. Also, the earlier you start drinking, the easier it is to become an alcoholic. SCARY, isn’t it?
What happens when you drink?
When you as a teenager drink alcohol, it lowers your inhibitions and damages your judgment and coordination. That’s why it is particularly dangerous to drive or get in a car with anyone who has been drinking alcohol. There are other frightening experiences our patients here at the clinic have shared.
Take the case of Kimmie, a 17 year old high school student who went to a party on a Saturday night with her “best friend.” She remembers being offered and drinking a few beers and then the next thing she realized, it was Sunday morning, she was alone in a bed and she couldn’t remember what happened the night before. Had she had sex? Where was her “best friend?” Could someone have taken pictures of her without her consent? Unfortunately, Kimmie’s story is not that uncommon and the lasting trauma from this can be emotional as well as physical. Sex without your consent is a crime ( at any age) when you’re under 18, it can also lead to STDs, the worst one being HIV infection which is fatal. If this has happened to you or one of your friends, come in ASAP and talk to us. We absolutely will keep it confidential, within the limits of how we need to protect you by law.
What about your brain?
Thinking of going to college? Then you may want to know how alcohol affects your brainpower. Recent research indicates that drinking can essentially make you stupid. Alcohol can negatively effect brain functioning such as memory, critical thinking, spatial operations and attention. Check the following links for more detailed information. Be smart about what you put in your body and know how to get help if you need it.
Remember, here at LBCC we want you to make the healthiest choices for yourself as a teen..
*The sources for the above facts are New Insights into Adolescents’, Females’ Susceptibility to Alcohol’s Effects, published by Duke University, and from The Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth.