Mount Sinai Wellness Center

The risks of drinking alcohol at a young age

As teenagers and young adults, it can seem like drinking alcohol is part of the growing-up process. Whether it’s grabbing a few beers with friends after school or pre-gaming before heading to a party on the weekend, there can be immense pressure from peers to participate in these activities. However, it is important for us to understand that although drinking alcohol may feel like an integral part of adolescent life, its consumption at a young age comes with serious risks – both immediate and long term – that far outweigh any potential “rewards.”

Early Introduction to Alcohol Leads to Health Risks

Exposure to alcohol during the early years of a person’s life can lead to various health and developmental risks down the road. Research has found that early exposure to alcohol increases the risk of experiencing problems with memory, behavior, and thinking in adulthood. It may also lead to potential physical delays or disabilities such as stunted growth or weaker bones.

Does Early Drinking Increase the Risk of Addiction?

Early access to alcohol can have a significant impact on an individual in the long term. Scientific evidence has shown that those who start drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop an addiction to alcohol later in life compared to those who begin consuming at 21 or older. In addition, these younger drinkers tend to consume greater amounts across their lives.

Preventing Underage Drinking: Tips for Parents

Firstly, it’s important to talk openly with your child about why they should not be drinking while they’re underage. Explain the potential long-term health risks associated with consuming alcohol, how drinking impairs judgment and decision-making, and how easily it can lead to drug abuse or other dangerous behaviors such as unsafe driving. Secondly, establish clear rules against underage drinking with consequences if they break them. Finally, stay involved in your child’s activities, encourage positive friendships, and find out where they are going and who will be there.

Alcohol Addiction Treatment in Georgia