Essay on How Alcohol Effects Teenagers

2113 Words Apr 17th, 2006 9 Pages
Alcohol has many effects on the body, especially the teenage body. Alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence are not only adult problems -- they also affect a significant number of adolescents and young adults between the ages of 12 and 20, even though drinking under the age of 21 is illegal (Dimeff 204).

Alcohol is created when grains, fruits, or vegetables are fermented. Fermentation is a process that uses yeast or bacteria to change the sugars in the food into alcohol. Fermentation is used to produce many necessary items - everything from cheese to medications. Alcohol has different forms and can be used as a cleaner, an antiseptic, or a sedative. When people drink alcohol, it's absorbed into their bloodstream. From there, it affects
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The average age at which Americans begin drinking regularly is 15.9 years old. According to research by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, adolescents who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than those who begin drinking at age 21. An early age of drinking onset is also associated with alcohol-related violence not only among persons under age 21 but among adults as well. It has been
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estimated that over three million teenagers are out-and-out alcoholics. Several million more have a serious drinking problem that they cannot manage on their own (Sales 217-221).

The three leading causes of death for 15- to 24-year-olds are automobile crashes, homicides and suicides -- alcohol is a leading factor in all three. While drinking may be a singular problem behavior for some, research suggests that for others it may be an expression of general adolescent turmoil that includes other problem behaviors and that these behaviors are linked to unconventionality, impulsiveness, and sensation seeking (Ruben 335).

Binge drinking, often beginning around age 13, tends to increase during adolescence, peak in young adulthood (ages 18-22), then gradually decrease. Individuals who increase their binge drinking from age 18 to 24 and those who consistently binge drink at least once a week during this period may have problems attaining the goals typical of the transition from
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