Alcohol use among young people is not new, but it is an issue on which more and more attempts are made.
We will try to immerse ourselves in the roots of this problem to discover the possible causes that lead adolescents and even young children to consume this substance so harmful to their physical and mental development.
Why young people drink alcohol: social problems
Our society is based on the welfare state, which means, among other things, ensuring that all citizens enjoy the best possible health, especially if they are minors, who are even more protected. It is therefore not uncommon for one of the most worrying questions for health authorities to be that of why young people drink alcohol, and enormous efforts are made to try to understand this problem and to find ways to address it. solutions.
It is in adolescence, between 11 and 17 years old, when the child goes through this period of transformation that will lead him to become an adult, When this problem usually occurs. However, it is clear that not all teens behave the same, and while some decide to take more risks, experiment and think less about the consequences, others choose to be more careful and not. not breaking the rules, thus avoiding alcohol consumption.
so Why do young people drink alcohol? Well, one of the possible causes, which is usually repeated, is simply to feel included in their peer group. Therefore, if in your group they have decided to try beer or drinks for fun, there is a good chance that the teenager will do the same, as he seeks approval, feeling like a member of the group. ‘a group and also feels supported by the rest. , being a shared activity.
Of course, many other factors come into play, some as paramount as the person’s personality, which will make them more or less prone to impulsivity, risk-taking, etc. Also to the combination between the different protective factors and the risk factors that surround the child, and who here fully enters his own family. But this point deserves a separate section.
- Interesting Qizás: “Drinking alcohol during adolescence changes the brain”
Alcohol consumption in the family
But it is not just the behaviors observed in the circle of friends. In order to be able to explain why young people consume alcohol, the adolescent’s perspective on alcohol in relation to the behaviors he observed in his own family during his childhood is also particularly relevant. If, as a child, he used to see his own parents, uncles, grandparents, etc., drink alcohol at meals, during family events, and even came to see them in a state of drunkenness, it will give you a normal character and it will be easier for you to decide to try it.
Of course, this is not only the simple observation, these are also important lessons that you have received at home in this regard, because parents may have consumed alcohol sporadically in their presence, either during ‘family events or with friends, but in turn, make the child understand that this is a product that should only be taken by adults, always in moderation, and specify the possible consequences of its consumption.
This may not always be as effective as we would like, no matter how hard parents try to dissuade their children from drinking alcohol, the impact of observing adult behavior is much more powerful for themSo if they are told not to try these substances but it is common to see them (their parents) with an alcoholic drink in hand, the message they are trying to convey will barely penetrate them verbally. reference adults.
Of course, it is not the same for a child to see his relatives drink beer or wine sporadically, as part of a meal or a family event, to see them in a state of habitual drunkenness. In this case, we would talk about an alcoholism problem the consequences of which can spread to children much more likely, And not just for a replica of the behavior, but for parental neglect and even a possible case of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, if it happened during pregnancy. But that would already be other problems.
Evolution of alcohol consumption today
If the question of why young people drink alcohol is surrounded by a certain sensationalism which makes us believe that the trend is negative and that the situation today is therefore much more serious than a few years ago, the truth is that it is not. As with many other issues, the fact that the problem is now much more visible than before does not mean that it has worsened, but that more attention is being paid to it and therefore more action is required. taken to put an end to it.
A recent study has shown that in developed countries, alcohol consumption has fallen among young people throughout these first two decades of the 21st century. According to their findings, the main variable that has allowed this trend change in recent years has been the free time that adolescents spend with their peer group.
In this sense, a gradual change is observed, as two decades ago, what is common among many young people was to spend every afternoon on the street next to their friends, And later a series of extracurricular activities were established that changed the occupation of their leisure time. But this is not the only observed variable that influenced, because it also increased the number of activities developed in the family, between parents and children.
However, the study’s conclusions should be taken with caution, as other factors beyond the researchers’ measures may come into play, such as the perceived group acceptance of getting drunk (which can be much more high in the past, but not so much in the present).
Prevent alcohol consumption
Having analyzed the question of why young people drink alcohol, it is time to do something, and it is true that in recent times, more than ever, work is underway to achieve a change in trend which, as we have seen, is possible and occurring.
The most basic measures, of course, are to make access to alcohol as difficult as possible for minors, which is why there is strict legislation prohibiting the sale of any alcoholic beverage to anyone who has not been. complied with the law. are taken very seriously, otherwise they incur very severe penalties.
too much worked on laws relating to the advertising of high quality alcoholic beverages (Those with more than 20 °), as is also the case for tobacco, television advertisements for both types of products are currently banned in Spain. As for the inferior drinks, they also have restricted advertising, not being able to run advertisements between 6:00 a.m. and 8:30 p.m., and in no case may these advertisements allude to abusive consumption or reflect social success, better health or performance to drink. alcohol.
On the other hand, information campaigns are carried out ranging from the use of billboards and television advertisements, alerting young people to the risks of alcohol consumption. It is essential to try to communicate these messages according to the communication standards of young people, in order to increase the likelihood of a positive reception of oneself.
also workshops and conferences are also organized in the schools themselves, Through expert associations on this issue, to provide easy-to-understand information and resolve any doubts that may arise at that time, as this is the best way to establish a dialogue and take advantage of the moment when adolescents are receptive to the message at hand. forwarded to them.
Finally, but probably the most important point, it would be that of favor a strong and healthy bond between the child and his parents, Make your family a benchmark and a protective factor against foolish behavior such as alcohol consumption. It is best for adults to convey the message that alcohol consumption is harmful to children on the basis of clear information, not taboos.
It is clear that the reason why young people drink alcohol is a problem that touches all levels of society and therefore we must all work together to successfully eradicate this behavior.
- Pérez, CL, Vinaccia, S. (2005). Preventing Alcohol Abuse Among Young Students: Guidelines for Designing Profitable Programs. Mexico. Psychology and health.
- Rossow, I., Pape, H., Torgersen, L. (2020). Decreased Alcohol Consumption in Adolescents: Some Possible Explanations. APSAD. Drug and Alcohol Review.