It’s important to understand the effects of alcohol on the mind and body from a young age. The sooner you understand the dangers of alcohol and addiction, the better prepared you are to handle situations you may find yourself in in the future.
What is Alcohol?
Alcohol is a liquid made from fermented grains, like barley or hops. Fruits, like grapes, may also be included. The process of fermentation introduces yeast to help convert and break down these ingredients. We also refer to drinks as alcoholic when they are made using this process. Alcoholic drinks include beer, wine, whiskey, liqueurs, and many others. We can tell when a bottled drink contains alcohol because it will have a label indicating the percentage of alcohol.
What are Some Facts About Alcohol?
Did you know that it is illegal for people under the age of 21 years old to drink alcohol? Underage drinking is a big problem and can have fatal consequences if people choose to drink and drive or drink more than their body can process. When people start drinking at a young age, the effects of alcohol on the mind and body can be detrimental. They may be more likely to have alcohol-related problems as they get older, including alcohol addiction, or alcoholism. Alcohol is one of the leading causes of death among teens in the U.S.
How Does Alcohol Affect the Body?
Alcohol has immediate and long term effects on our brains and bodies. It is a type of drug and impacts the nervous system. Soon after drinking, alcohol begins to impair the brain and most people tend to feel sleepy, foggy, and disoriented. They cannot think properly and they have difficulty walking, talking, and seeing.
Over a long period of time, alcohol can damage the liver, the nervous system, the reproductive system, and the brain. It increases the risk of higher blood pressure, depression, and diabetes. Since alcohol contains a lot of carbohydrates, it also causes people to gain weight.
Why do People Drink?
Many kids and teens start drinking because they are curious about alcohol, or because their friends pressure them to try it. Sometimes, they drink only because other people are drinking and they want to fit in. Many think that it makes them look older or cooler; this isn’t true. Others might turn to alcohol or drugs because they experience depression or cannot cope with their emotions in an alternative way. Many people feel that alcohol is “an escape”; when in reality, it can make problems even bigger.
Adults who drink socially do so to help them relax, or because they enjoy the taste of the drink. Finally, many people simply drink because they need to; they may have an addiction and cannot bring themselves to stop.
Why Shouldn’t I Drink?
A good reason to avoid drinking is because it is illegal and there may be very serious legal consequences if you are under twenty one! Besides this, the effects of alcohol on the mind and body can be extremely damaging.
Drinking even a little can lead to an addiction, especially if there is a genetic history of alcoholism in the family. Quite often when people, especially kids, drink, they end up doing things that are extremely embarrassing or dangerous; they lose control of themselves and make poor decisions. Drinking a lot can cause people to vomit. In some cases, they might even need to be rushed to the hospital to have their stomachs pumped if they suffer from alcohol poisoning. The morning after drinking can result in a hangover: a strong headache, nausea, and extreme sensitivity to sound and light. It’s a very unpleasant experience!
What Should I Do if Someone Asks Me to Drink?
Saying no to peer pressure or a dare is difficult. Many kids use an excuse, so that they can turn down alcohol without looking uncool. Other kids may be straight forward and tell others that they do not want to drink. If they ask why, you could say that you don’t like it, that you don’t want to, or that you avoid it for health reasons.
Remember that your true friends will respect your decision. For example, would you force someone to eat live bugs if you both know that it is bad for you? People who continue to pressure you are showing that they don’t care about your health or about the dangerous consequences.
What Should I Do if I Know Another Kid Who Drinks?
If you cannot safely get out of a negative situation involving alcohol, call an adult to help, you can also call the police department. Voice your opinion and talk to your friend about drinking to show them that it is not a wise decision. Talk to a trusted adult, such as a parent or a guidance counselor and voice any concerns. There are also many anonymous help lines that kids can phone for professional advice.
Effects of Alcohol On the Mind and Body at Morningside Recovery
The best way to end an addiction is to prevent one from developing in the first place. However, in situations where that’s not possible, alcohol addiction treatment can help. If you or someone you love struggles with alcohol addiction, call the professionals at Morningside Recovery today at 855-631-2135 to learn more about our alcoholism rehab.