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HOW ALCOHOL AFFECTS THE BODY IN ADOLESCENCE.



It’s your choice, you’re in control. The purpose of this fact sheet is to provide information to teens, parents, and caregivers on how alcohol affects adolescents (12-18yrs), both physiologically and psychologically, in turn, prospectively an aid in reducing risky behaviour.



WHAT'S THE ISSUE HERE?


Nutritional demands in adolescents are of THE highest of any other time in one’s life, other than when pregnant. Sub-optimal nutrition may impair the development of an adolescent brain whilst potentially stunting or delaying growth. Alcohol is a substance that can severely impact the nutritional status of a teen in combination with a multitude of other consequences


WHAT CAN BOOZE DO TO THE BODY?


Deplete minerals and vitamins Alcohol is a toxic substance that can aggravate and compromise the gastrointestinal wall, leading to ulceration and inflammation, subsequently decreasing absorption of essential nutrients and possible undernourishment. If undernourishment occurs, the brain and body will not develop as it should.

Affect the neurotransmitters in the brain Alcohol travels straight into the bloodstream crossing the blood- brain barrier, negatively impacting the brain. Studies show the use of alcohol in the teen years (12 to 18) alters learning capabilities, memory retention, may cause permanent brain damage & development, depression, anxiety and inhibits proper emotions and cognitive thinking, furthermore, leading to dangerous and risky behaviours such as drink driving, suicide and sexual assault. (Feldstein Ewing et al., 2014; Lees et al., 2020; Squeglia et al., 2014)

Affect the other organs Too many drinks can irritate the STOMACH lining, possibly causing ulceration and bleeding, deplete the BONES of minerals, reduce the efficacy of the WHITE BLOOD CELLS, therefore increasing susceptibility to disease, AND inflame the LIVER and HEART, giving rise to complications and illness. (Fernández-Solà, 2020; Piano, 2017; Rehm, 2011; Sarkar et al., 2015)


Weight gain There is no nutritional value in alcohol and can contain “empty calories”. Alcohol also slows down metabolism and can contribute to weight gain due to the empty calories. As a result, increases the risk of type 2 diabetes and cancer. (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2017)


INTERVENTIONS IN REDUCING THE RISKS OF ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION.


Watch/attend local educational programs on alcohol and drug use together. (Underage Drinking, 2019)

Family connection and involvement. Discussing family expectations and values can reduce the risk of teenage drinking and create an open safe space for communication. (Jackson et al., 2014)

Role modelling is key. Studies have shown that adolescence will mimic the role models in their life. Young people will generally view alcohol as a mirror of their role models' behaviour toward drinking. Be a role model for teenagers. Choose words and actions around drinking carefully. (Murphy et al., 2016)

Encouragement to finish high school. Several studies have shown the correlation between finishing high school and the decreased likelihood of alcohol abuse and drug addiction. (Staff et al., 2008)



REDUCE THE RISKS & CONSEQUENCES ASSOCIATED WITH ALCOHOL.

Avoid unsupervised and unsafe environments.

Speak to parents/guardians or caregivers about alcohol.

Create a code word with friends when feeling uncomfortable if wanting to leave a situation.

Contact health services when feeling alone or confused. (helplines, school service, online help sites.)

Find other activities to entertain yourself/friends.






BE A WARRIOR, BE COURAGEOUS.




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