Teens that begin drinking at an early age put themselves at risk for many immediate consequences. Injury, assault, and vehicular accidents are just a few of the potential dangers of consuming alcohol. In addition, teens consuming alcohol are more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors, resulting in a potential unplanned pregnancy or a sexually transmitted disease.
Parents likely worry most about these types of consequences associated with alcohol consumption. They may picture their child in a ditch following an accident or engaging in sexual activity with someone they do not know. However, in some cases, the alcohol consumption itself can result in a life-threatening condition.
Drugs For Treatment Of Acute Alcohol Intoxication?
A recent report issued by researchers at Rutgers University provides information about binge drinking in teens, along with details about a pharmacological treatment for acute alcohol intoxication.
The researchers, led by Theresa Ringenberg, PharmD, of the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy at Rutgers University and colleagues, reported on the proper use of the drugs called benzodiazepines, often used to treat withdrawal of acute alcohol intoxication.
While the article provides helpful information for treating alcohol intoxication in clinical settings, the authors also provide helpful insight for teens and their parents. It provides not only signs and symptoms of acute alcohol intoxication, but also information about the prevalence of teenage binge drinking.
Teen Alcohol Use And Brain Damage
The authors of the study note the importance of abstaining from alcohol consumption during the teen years. Given the important cognitive development that occurs during adolescence, alcohol consumption can introduce problems in brain growth that can continue into adulthood, affecting both academic and professional achievement.
The researchers describe the potential damage that occurs when the brain is exposed to ethanol during the development. The vulnerability of the central nervous system to alcohol can cause problems in the structure and function of the brain.
Teens’ Dangerous Outlook On Alcohol
Despite numerous reasons to avoid alcohol, it remains the most commonly abused substance for teens. In addition, teens most often consume alcohol in binge drinking situations. The report notes that nearly 20 percent of all alcohol consumed in the United States is done so in the context of teenage drinking.
The authors also note the particular dangers present in current drinking trends among teenagers. Those who drink consume alcohol with a goal in mind to “get drunk,” a feature not so pronounced in earlier generations of teens. Drinking in order to get drunk can result in acute alcohol intoxication, though many teens pass out or begin to vomit before they reach that level of toxicity.
Increase In The Number Of Teens Drinking
Parents should be aware that drinking among teens has changed significantly in the last several decades. The authors mention that there has been an increase from 27 percent to 36 percent in the number of children who report drinking before they have reached the 8th grade. In addition, many have tried alcohol, with 51.7 percent trying alcohol by 8th grade, and 80.3 percent trying alcohol by 12th grade.
Dangers And Fatalities Of Teenage Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol is often involved in the top three causes of death among teens: accidents, suicide and homicide. In addition, teenaged males who drove with an illegal level of blood alcohol content were more likely to die when compared with sober drivers of the same age.
There are additional concerns with acute alcohol ingestion, such as respiratory depression, a condition that can be life-threatening. Sufferers can also suffer from diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, as well as hepatitis and pancreatitis.
Factors That Increase The Chances A Teen Will Binge Drink
There are many factors that increase the likelihood that a teenager will binge drink, including being from a single-parent family, or having a mental disorder such as anxiety, depression or a conduct disorder. The timing of the onset of puberty can also influence the risk of early alcohol consumption, with girls who reach maturation early engaging in binge drinking more than girls who mature at a normal age.
Signs Of Alcohol Toxicity
Parents watching for signs that their child is suffering from toxicity will look for the presence of abdominal pain, vomiting, and in some cases, shivering, fevers and jaundiced appearance.
The Strong Influence Of An Active Parent
Parents should work to keep an open dialogue with their teen regarding alcohol-related decisions. Research has shown that parents are the most influential factor in a teenager’s decisions whether to consume alcohol.
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