Alcohol is a strong drug and it alters how one's emotional self. Some of the preliminary feelings of being "under the influence" include, lower blood pressure, calm mental affect and an all rounder pleasant sensation that teens as well as adults look for. Basically alcohol works as a depressant for our central nervous system, so technically if one is tensed or stiff due to any distraction then the intake of alcohol can provide the perfect "chill out" effect by reducing the tension and numbing the senses to a certain extent. As teenagers mature towards their senior years, they are encouraged to feel more comfortable about drinking. However brain scientists and researchers strongly imply that teenage drinking does have a very powerful impact on a teen's attitude and behavior. Researchers postulate based on their findings that alcohol has a comparatively stronger and toxic effect on the brain cells of adolescents that it has on adults (Lo, Celia, and Globetti. 1999). But why do teens drink? What are the factors or the reasons that push them to take up such activities? In 90% of the cases it's the peer pressure that forces teenagers to drink. Teenagers take up drinking when they are pressurized by their friends or peers this happens more in girls that in boys. Peer pressure has always been positively been associated with drinking especially in the teenage years. It can also be said that the main reason why teenagers start to drink or begin smoking is because they have friends who do it and hanging out with them means adapting to their activities. Another reason why teenagers adopt this habit is on their own initiavtive without any external pressure. This can be due to a lot reasons for instance alcoholic parents, broken family system, escape from every day pressure, trying to look "cool" and "hip." In this paper we will attempt to do a comprehensive reasrch on these two prominent factors and try to answer the populary asked question as to why teenagers drink.
There are various factors which can lead to a teen or an adolescent to take up drinking without knowing the consequences. The most common cause of teen drinking is ones own initiative towards drinking, this happens either because one himself has been influenced because of alcoholic parents hence the act of drinking is completely normal for that person. During the growing up period of a child's life, the behavior of parents towards each other and on the child contributes to a strong psychological effect on the youth (Paschall, Mallie, Flewellng and Grube. 2009). Hence if a child has suffered a disturbing childhood or had parents who were alcoholics, then he is most likely to take up drinking as a way to escape from their mental trauma or it might be a normal thing for him. Another reason why a teenager may willingly take up drinking is because drinking serves the purpose of ignoring and escaping from the many realities of life that he/she may not be able to cope up with. This may include studies, disturbed familial issues, depression or just the mere curiosity to try something new. Hence alcohol serves the purpose of temporary state of bliss which the youth seeks. One of the fastest growing reasons for teenagers opting for alcohol is a trouble romantic life. When one is faced with relationship problems at this age the feeling of rejection and demoralization takes center stage. Hence, teenagers drink so that they can forget about their heartbreaks and worries and forget about the rejection they feel in the case of a breakup. However none of these adolescents realize that this is not a way of solving any issue is life (Lo, Celia, and Globetti. 1999).
Another major reason in the peer pressure or the need to be considered "cool" most of the times teenagers willingly go for drinking because they belong to a group who regularly drinks and attend parties that serve alcohol. If one does want to be a part of such a group they "shunned" from social circles and the stigma of being un-cool is attached to them. This makes drinking more of a strata symbol without the realization that this can turn into a dangerous habit. Peer pressure becomes a problem when the person starts to feel that they must perform some act so that they are accepted by their peers and friends. During the teenage and adolescent years, being accepted by ones friends and peers is considered to be the most important aspect of ones life. This is considered to be an important method for the teenagers to understand themselves more and realize what their identity is (Kelly, Kathleen, and Ruth. 1998). In some cases peer pressure can prove to be a positive thing because it can prove to be a motivating factor for a youth to do well in school because of the healthy competition and so is that case with sports. It plays a positive role because this helps them in realizing they want and when a teenager sees his friend's excelling in something the natural sense of competition arises, so in this respect peer pressure is a good thing. However, as it is evident peer pressure can have a very harmful effect on teenagers as well, especially when that adopts habits like drinking and substance abuse because they do not want to be made fun off. Peer pressure can be of many forms, for instance direct contact, verbal assaults.
Statistics about teenage drinking are shockingly disturbing. In the United States, teenage underage drinking is the most common. 12.5% of the underage youth drink regularly drinks each year. In 2005, according to statistical reports students between 9 to 12 grades were tested positive for alcohol use. 74% of these students were found to take at least one drink each day. 26% had their first sip of alcohol before the age of 12. 43% showed that they had drinks everyday due to some excuse or the other in the past 30 days. A staggering 26% admitted that they were binge drinkers with more than 5 drinks per day for the past 30 days. 4% among these students admitted that they had alcohol at least one in 30 days on school property. In 2005 alone, underage drinking took more than 15% of the total alcohol consumption in the United States, rounding up to 20 billion sales a year (Arata, Catalina, Stafford, and Tims. 2003). Even though teenagers and young adults total up to 20% of the entire U.S. population ranging between the ages of 16 and 24, they are still responsible for 45% of all the accounted fatal drunk or under the influence related accidents and crashes. Teenagers get motivated to drink during drinking parties and social surroundings this can cause irresponsible behavior like drunk driving, teenage pregnancies, STDs and unwanted fights and assaults including rape. 44.1% per year of the underage population in U.S. has been reported to be involved in various mild and serious cases regarding drunk driving and sexual assault while under the influence. Out of this figure 29% of teenagers have been victims of serious car crashes and 15.9% have lost their lives. While a staggering 29% of women have gotten pregnant while drunk or been subject to STDs.
Recognizing and subsequently addressing the issue of teenage alcoholic addiction is a promising start towards doing something regarding this issue. Locating special cases for instance teens that need immediate care and help should be included in the agenda and early sing of alcoholism or addiction should be observed and prevented at an early age (Beman, Deane. 1993). Schools are the ideal place to execute this plan of action and can contribute tremendously. Parent obviously play a huge role in this respect, parents and care takers should be educated on this subject so that they can identify warning signs and take action accordingly and promptly. Once parents equip themselves with the necessary data and understanding on the subject then they can then educate and inform their children about unwanted pregnancies, drugs and alcohol and how all these subjects are interconnected. Through this method a dramatic decrease regarding teenage alcoholism and its risks has been proved in the past, hence this is an extremely effective method. Fully educating teenagers and adolescents regarding alcoholism and other addictions can prove to be very helpful. This should be taken care of in school as well as in their respective homes, by educating them teachers and parents are empowering their children to identify the negative impacts of such activities and also help them in providing the necessary and positive coping skills in this respect (Kelly, Kathleen, and Ruth. 1998). For this purpose school, community service centers, churches and other religious institutions and various private organizations can be used. All in all the prevention of underage alcoholism is nothing but a community service where every active and responsible member of the society should take active part in and get themselves involved in…