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Why Teens Use Alcohol

Why Teens Use Alcohol

Unfortunately experimentation with alcohol is normal during the teen years, but this does not mean that regualar abuse should be permittable. As children move from adolescence to young adulthood, they experience many different physical, emotional, and lifestyle changes. These changes influence the teens desire to experiment and potentially alter their way of thinking or feeling. Listed below are the most common reasons why your teen might decide or has decided to use alcohol.

Risk-Taking – For some youth, thrill-seeking might include experimenting with alcohol. Developmental changes offer a possible physiological explanation for why teens act so impulsively, often not recognizing that their actions such as drinking or getting drunk to have consequences.

Psychiatric – Young people who are disruptive, hyperactive, and aggressive often referred to as having behavioral, conduct problems, or being antisocial, as well as those who are depressed, withdrawn, or anxious, may be at greatest risk for alcohol problems. Other behavioral problems associated with alcohol use include rebelliousness, difficulty avoiding harm or harmful situations, and a host of other traits seen in young people who act out without regard for rules or the feelings of others

Hereditary Factors – Some of the behavioral and physiological factors that converge to increase or decrease a person’s risk for alcohol problems, including tolerance to alcohol’s effects, may be directly linked to genetics. For example, being a child of an alcoholic or having several alcoholic family members places a person at greater risk for alcohol problems. Children of alcoholics (COAs) are between 4 and 10 times more likely to become alcoholics themselves than are children who have no close relatives with alcoholism. COAs also are more likely to begin drinking at a young age and to progress to drinking problems more quickly.

Environmental – These factors, such as the influence of parents and peers, play a role in alcohol use. For example, parents who drink more and who view drinking positively may have children who are likely to drink more. Researchers are examining other environmental influences the impact of media. Today alcohol is widely available and aggressively promoted through television, radio, billboards, and the Internet social forums such as Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. These influences are seen daily by our kids tempting them with false images and misinformation.


NIDA. “Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction.” National Institute on Drug Abuse 20 Jul. 2018,

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