TeenHealthFX has serious concerns about your drinking vodka at the age of 12. Because you are putting it in soft drinks and fizzy drinks you may not be able to taste the vodka very much – but just because you can’t taste it, and even though you aren’t drinking it straight from the bottle, doesn’t mean that you’re just having a harmless drink when you consume one of the concoctions. You are still consuming alcohol, which will affect your body and mind.
FX wants you to consider the following:
· Many teens drink with the goal of becoming tipsy or drunk. If you never get drunk, why use the vodka at all? FX is certainly not implying that if you’re going to use it, go all the way – but if you are saying that you don’t feel an affect of the alcohol, why even bother with it? Are you feeling pressured by peers to drink? Do you need some help in learning how to deal with that peer pressure? FX recommends that you stick with a plain soft drink and find a way to be okay with going without the alcohol.
· Are you sure that you are not getting drunk? Studies have shown that most people (both teens and adults) have some trouble recognizing how tipsy or intoxicated they are in terms of being aware of how much the alcohol has affected their level of functioning and what they are capable of doing.
· Are you drinking alone? If you are drinking alone, FX is concerned with any emotional issues that may be going on to contribute to your wanting to drink alone.
· Are you drinking with friends? If you are drinking with friends, FX is concerned about how much alcohol use is a priority to you and your friends rather than focusing on healthier ways of occupying your time. What is going for you that are drawn to people who want to drink? How much is drinking and partying a focus right now in your peer group and how much is this going to escalate with time?
· Studies have shown that people who start drinking as teens have a much higher rate of abusing or becoming dependent on alcohol as adults.
· Underage drinking is illegal. You are breaking the law by consuming alcohol at the age of 12. You run the risk of getting yourself in legal trouble or whoever the adults are who own the house in which you drink (your parents or the parents of friends).
FX has given you a few things to think about above, but we also suggest you read some of our questions and answers on the topic of underage alcohol use that will explain these considerations, as well as some additional concerns, in detail. Please take a look at 14 And Has A Few Drinks Once And A While, Concerned About Underage Drinking, and What Happens To Alcohol After It Is Consumed.
If you are concerned you may have a problem with alcohol, speak with your parents, a school counselor, or a private therapist trained in working with teens with substance abuse issues. If you live in northern New Jersey and need help finding a therapist you can call the Access Center from Atlantic Behavioral Health at 888-247-1400. Outside of this area you can log onto the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website for referrals in your area. You can also contact your insurance company to get a list of in-network mental health providers or check with your school social worker or psychologist to get a list of referrals in your area.
Teens often abuse prescription drugs because of the myth that these drugs provide a medically safe high.
It is estimated that major depressive disorder (MDD) affects about 5% of adolescents, and that between 10 - 15% of adolescents have some symptoms of depression at any one time.
Statistics show that giving a teen a credit card does not teach them to be financially responsible or to encourage self-restraint, but actually promotes a “spend now and deal with the consequences later” mindset.
Girls are more likely to intentionally abuse prescription drugs than boys.
The reality of excessive interest rates and fees that often accompany credit card use for teens, can put youngsters in a position where they are losing out on admission to graduate school, getting a job, or renting an apartment because of damaged credit history.
Less than 33% of teens with depression get help, yet 80% of teens with depression can be successfully treated if they seek help from a doctor or therapist.
Traffic crashes are the greatest single cause of death for all persons age 6-33, and about 45% of these fatalities are alcohol-related crashes.
About 6.2 million Americans get a new genital HPV infection each year.
30% of teens with depression also have a substance abuse problem.
Freshmen bring an average of $1,585.00 in credit card debt to college.
About a third of women who seek services related to unprotected sex, such as pregnancy testing or emergency contraception, do not receive STD counseling, testing, or treatment.
7-10% of college students will drop out of school because of credit problems.
Teens with untreated depression are more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors, leading to higher rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
Most smokers begin smoking as teens, and the average age of initiation is 12.5 years of age.
People with manic symptoms and Bipolar Disorder II are at a significant risk of later developing an alcohol abuse or dependence problem.
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens, accounting for 36% of all deaths in this age group.
The teen pregnancy rate in the United States is the highest of any industrialized democracy, nearly twice that of Great Britain and 10 times that of Japan. 4
Compared with other age groups, teens have the lowest rate of seat belt use, and male high school students are more likely than female students to rarely or never wear seat belts.
A national study of women ages 15-44 found that women were almost twice as likely to receive contraceptive services rather than STD services.
The teenage pregnancy rate in the U.S. is at its lowest level in thirty years, down 36% since its peak in 1990. Research suggests that both increased abstinence and positive changes in contraceptive practice are responsible these recent declines in teen pregnancy.
A sexually active teenager who does not use contraceptives has a 90% chance of becoming pregnant within one year. 8
In the United States, at least 5-10 million girls and women and 1 million boys and men are struggling with eating disorders. 11
Among male drivers between 15 and 20 years of age who were involved in fatal crashes in 2005, 38% were speeding at the time of the crash and 24% had been drinking.
Homicide is the second leading cause of death among 15- to 24-year-olds overall. 16
Every two minutes, somewhere in America, someone is sexually assaulted. 22
One in four teenage girls in the U.S. had at least one common sexually transmitted disease.
Suicide is the third leading cause of death among youths ages 15 to 20. 19
The highest Chlamydia rates occurred among women ages 15 to 19 and 20 to 24.
About 44% of rape victims are under age 18. Three out of every twenty victims (15%) are under age 12. 25
Each year, half of all HIV infections are among people under the age of 25.
Crash risk is particularly high during the first year that teenagers are eligible to drive.
One out of every six American women have been the victims of an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. A total of 17.7 million women have been victims of these crimes. 23
Teen girls ages 15-19 have the highest Gonorrhea rate of any age group.
The motor vehicle death rate for male drivers and passengers ages 16-19 is more than one and half times that of their female counterparts.
More than four in 10 young women become pregnant at least once before they reach the age of 20 - nearly one million teen pregnancies a year 3
The presence of teen passengers increases the crash risk of unsupervised teen drivers; the risk increases with the number of teen passengers.
Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in this country. More than 400,000 Americans die from tobacco-related causes each year, and most of them began using tobacco before the age of 18.
The risk of motor vehicle crashes is higher among 16- to 19-year-olds than among any other age group.
Underage drinking costs the U.S. more than $58 billion every year; enough to buy every public school student a state-of-the-art computer.
At all levels of blood alcohol concentration (BAC), the risk of involvement in a motor vehicle crash is greater for teens than for older drivers.
Teens who drink are more likely to be victims of violent crimes and sexual assault, have serious problems in school, be involved in drinking-related traffic crashes, and develop problems with alcohol later in life.
Nearly all the poison deaths in the U.S. are attributed to drugs, and most drug poisonings result from the abuse of prescription and illegal drugs.
Alcohol kills 6.5 times more youth than all other illicit drugs combined.
Persons aged 15-24, who represent only 14% of the U.S. population, account for 30% ($19 billion) of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries among males and 28% ($7 billion) among females.
Among young people ages 12-17, prescription drugs have become the second most abused illegal drug, behind marijuana.