Teen drinking almost always takes the form of binge drinking. Why would teens do such a destrucutive bahavior?
As a psychiatrist that treats a lot of addiction in teens and young adults, the main reasons teens drink are:
1. Peer pressure. Every teen craves a sense of belonging to a group.
2. A teen’s brain is wired for risk-taking. The brain’s ability to control impulses usually develops by about age 23.
3. If one or both parent’s are an alcoholic, the risk of your teen becoming an alcoholic is 4-8 times higher than the average person with no genetic predisposition.
4. Teen drinking is a form of entertainment. Teens drink with the express purpose of getting drunk.
5. Anxiety, depression, and Atttention Deficit Disorder are risk factors for drinking. Treating the underlying disorder with the appropriate medications removes your teen’s need to self-medicate.
Parent’s attitude’s have a great deal of influence on their teen’s using drugs or alcohol. If you model “no drinking and driving”, no excessive drinking, give your teen clear expectations and consequences for using drugs and alcohol, your teen is much less likely to have problems with teenage drinking or teenage drug abuse. Keeping an open line of communication and spending quality family time helps with prevention.
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