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Alcohol In Your Twenties - Carefree, Adventurous And Life Threatening

Posted Sep 30 2008 12:19am

Many of us have our first drinks in our teens. Youthful experimentation usually is behind that first stolen drink. Some experts believe that your emotional development process peaks at the moment an alcoholic experiences their first drunk. If this is the case then is it any wonder so many alcoholics act like spoiled, stubborn children who are seriously self possessed.

Drinking at an early age may all seem pretty harmless until you find that there are some in your clique that seem to over do it. They tend to get into trouble or make bad choices while drinking. There are many teens that could be classified as alcoholics and should not drink because of certain predispositions to alcohol. Most kids simply grow up and start controlling their alcohol intake and focus on school, jobs or dating etc.

It’s the kids that continue to drink unchecked into their twenties and whose drinking habits really haven’t evolved into social acceptability that send up the red flags for the observant. These young adults are a danger to themselves and others because of the risky attitudes that prevail at these ages. Their whole life is ahead of them and they mistakenly think they’re invincible.

No secret that there are more car accidents involving the 16 – 25 year age group, many involving fatalities and with a majority linked to alcohol. You hear the term “death by misadventure” used more often now than ever before. Often this is another way of saying alcohol or drugs were involved and they did something stupid. Kids in their twenties are impressionable and may lack the maturity to decline offers at work to go for a few drinks.

I know personally I worked in an industry where the majority of people, coworkers included, who where in the 30 to 50 year range and I was a mere 20 years old. Drinking was an acceptable part of the social network among everyone in my business and booze flowed pretty freely. Young and impressionable I felt like to be a part of the team I needed to hang with these folks and pick their brains about the job.

This lead to more drinking on my own and since I was involved in sales I had the freedom to set my own hours. I worked very hard but also spent a lot of time with co workers in bars. I was single and focused on work and this seemed like a part of the job to me. My drinking was controlled to an extent for many years but began to unravel over time as I married and work related stress and life in general began infringing on me. My drinking patterns and habits were well established by now and before I reached my mid twenties I believe I qualified as an excessive drinker.

Wow, how I wished someone would have sat me down and read me the riot act at that time about my drinking but it all seemed so natural and thinking back it seemed like it wasn’t out of place. However the die was cast at this critical developmental stage of my life.

I recently heard a story of a young man in his twenties with a good job and married with a child who some believe may be an alcoholic. He drinks 24 beers a day! The observers of this guy have a real eye for the obvious! He is off work on disability because of the drinking yet he continues to drink excessively; has been diagnosed with depression but his physician won’t treat this until he quits drinking so he consumes even more alcohol and spirals further out of control. What an uncontrolled mess!

His family is afraid he may kill himself. I say what are they waiting for? Do something already. Unfortunately this kid can no longer help himself and needs strict intervention to save his life but those around him continue to drink alongside him and “party” knowing full well he has a problem. I see a larger issue here in who also may need help and what should be done about it.

People in this age group are the worst offenders of being obstinate and generally obtuse when it comes to the obvious. There is a carefree attitude among this age group and when someone like this young man surrounds himself with enablers and fellow partiers obviously he won’t get the help he needs. The critical assistance he requires will not from his peers since they appear to be on the same path as him but with different timing.

Young people can generally do more damage to their health for longer periods before the alcohol related fallout appears serious. These people will generally fall much harder because tolerance is greater and they can sustain more abuse longer before it shows up to the untrained eye. Unfortunately unless someone intercedes on behalf of someone like this young man his only options will be running out of money, health or worse. To lose everything at such a young age is unacceptable however there is another side to this age bracket.

Clubbing and university/college parties and the massive amounts of boozing and worse that happens at these establishments and fraternities is outrageous. Police enforcement is costly and yet necessary just to contain the attendees when they pour out of these clubs and parties. Brawling, assaults, sexual promiscuity leading to diseases and overall poor judgment contribute to alcohol related consequences.

Society for the most part accepts this behavior but they are a breeding ground for alcohol abusers of the future. A percentage of the people who are exposed to these environments will not have the inner constitution to control their drinking and imbibe only socially. The objective here is to get wasted.

Rehab facilities are full of young people who have succumbed to the party lifestyle and they feel a huge sense of loss of future fun. They think they will never be able to enjoy themselves without alcohol playing a large role in it. Of course this is just nonsense but it’s the way alcoholic’s think. Alcohol has become such an important part of their lives at such an early stage they simply cannot imagine life without it.

If they make it into recovery and succeed with it they are the lucky ones. More often than not peer pressure and old friendships will play a role in these young folks having relapses and slips. More than one try at sobriety is common. More attention should be paid to this segment of our society and the dangers they face caused by alcohol. No question the help is available for them.

What’s required is an effort by concerned folks to intervene on their behalf and not be afraid to confront these headstrong individuals. They must be warned about the dangers they face and the options available to them so they can avoid the painful futures many of them are predestined for.

To set up an appointment with Michael Pearlman, M.D.,
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