Alcohol abuse can be prevented if parents educate their teens on the harmful effects of drinking, and their expectations regarding heavy drinking. Studies have shown that parental intervention has reduced alcohol consumption in teens. The satisfactory parental administration has also been found to be a disincentive to underage alcohol abuse. Alcohol and other drugs use have been found to occur most often between the hours of 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., immediately after school and before the parents’ arrive from work. Teen participation in extracurricular activities has therefore been revealed to be an important prevention measure for the use of alcohol in this age group
Parents can also help educate teens about appropriate coping and stress management strategies. For example, 15- to 16-year-olds who use religion to cope with stress tend to use drugs significantly less often and have less problems as a result of drinking than their peers who do not use religion to cope. Facts for preventing alcohol abuse in older teenagers and young adults include limiting the availability of alcohol and enforcing rules that address issues like drinking and driving. Specific examples of limiting the accessibility of alcohol might involve raising the cost of alcohol and restricting when and where alcohol can be consumed.
While both alcohol abuse and alcoholism involve engaging in maladaptive behaviors in the use of alcohol, abuse of this substance does not include the person having withdrawal symptoms or needing more and more amounts to achieve intoxication unless the person has developed alcoholism. One frequently asked a question about alcoholism is if it is hereditary. As with most other mental disorders, alcohol dependence cannot be attributed to any single factor, and is not directly passed from one generation to another genetically. Rather, it is the result of a complex group of genetic, psychological, and environmental factors.
Indications that a person has been drinking very heavily include the smell of alcohol on their breath or skin, glazed or bloodshot eyes, the person being unusually passive or quarrelsome, and/or a decline in the person’s appearance or hygiene. Other physical symptoms of the state of being drunk include flushed skin. Cognitively, the person may experience decreased ability to pay attention and may easily forget things. Alcohol, especially when consumed in excess, can affect teens, women, men, and the elderly quite differently. Women and the elderly tend to have higher blood concentrations of alcohol compared to men and younger individuals who drink the same amount. Alcoholic women are more at risk for developing cirrhosis of the liver and heart and nerve damage at a faster rate than alcohol-dependent men.
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