Binge Drinking causes health problems for teens who don’t know better

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Binge Drinking causes health problems for teens who don’t know better

Binge drinking is very damaging to the health of teens.

Binge drinking is very damaging to the health of teens.

Creative Commons

Binge drinking is very damaging to the health of teens.

Creative Commons

Creative Commons

Binge drinking is very damaging to the health of teens.

Courtney Kushnir

The website kidshealth.org defines binge drinking as “the heavy consumption of alcohol over a short period of time.” Even though they are not legally allowed to consume alcohol, teens are the most likely age group to binge drink, according to Pediatrics, a journal for pediatric studies.

For girls under the age of 17, three drinks in a row constitutes binging; for boys aged 14 and 15, it’s four drinks.

School nurse Dorothy Condon has seen firsthand the consequences of binge drinking in her time working in the Intensive Care Unit at Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch.

“The alcohol content rises so quickly that your body doesn’t have enough time to adjust, and then you have a loss of consciousness, and it can eventually turn to stopping your breathing,” Condon said. “It can cost you your life.”

As Condon noted, binge drinking can cause serious immediate dangers as well as permanent brain damage, as noted in a study on adolescent rodents conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. In this study, subjects that were exposed to alcohol showed signs of damaged nerves in the part of the brain associated with learning and memory.

So with these potential repercussions, why are young people, teens especially, the most likely to binge? Condon attributes the problem to the rise of peer pressure and “social drinking.”

“Today, there are a lot of drinking games that promote binge drinking so the kids aren’t aware of how much alcohol they’re consuming,” Condon said.

To inform teens on the risks of drinking early on in their education, programs like AlcoholEdu and Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) strive to educate middle school and high school students on what it means to drink. Condon believes that progress can be made through alternative activities for teens, and strengthening laws against underage drinking.

“We need to find something else for teens to do on the weekends. They need to get involved with coffeehouses or volunteer projects, or doing something that is acceptable,” Condon said. “Alcohol is not the answer to your social status.”

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