Teens and 'extreme' binge drinking - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Teens and 'extreme' binge drinking

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - A recent study finds 10% of high school seniors take part in "extreme binge drinking," that's 10 or more alcoholic drinks in a single sitting.

Addictions experts tells 21 News they are not surprised by the study, and some believe social media plays a role in the trend.

"It's a social norm anymore," said Meghan Fortner, an addiction treatment expert for youth and young adults at Meridian Community Care in Youngstown. "It's truly the less inhibited you are the more funny, the more popular, the more 'likes' you get, the more 're-tweets' you get, and it becomes viral and kids enjoy that, it's that attention."

The University of Michigan study surveyed more than 16,000 high school seniors between 2005 and 2011. The surveys found one in ten high schools seniors engaged in extreme binge drinking at least once in the past two weeks. That's 10 or more alcoholic drinks in a single sitting. The study also found one in 20 had 15 or more drinks in a row.

Delaine Faris, an addiction counselor at the North Texas Recovery Foundation, says she doesn't necessarily believe today's teens are drinking any more than generations past - but that those moments are more likely to be shared online.

"Margin for error is much, much less," said Faris. "We have no privacy, we have no secrets anymore, and somebody is going to be right behind us with a cell phone and a camera."

Deirdre Adduci with PysCare in Austintown believes today's generation is living in an instantaneous world, with social media and texting, therefore they are no longer learning to cope on their own.

"Kids are using this to increasingly deal with stress and until we teach them appropriate coping skills and educate them and really monitor what they're doing I think we're going to see an acceleration in the usage," said Adduci.

Adduci says often times when parents think about sending their teens to college they assume their child will use and possibly abuse alcohol, but she says they also assume the child will 'grow out' of the phase.

"We're seeing many times that you don't go from use to dependency, you go from use to abuse to dependency," said Adduci. "So we're seeing more and more people coming out of college with a use dependency."

"Just because somebody is engaging in binge drinking doesn't mean it's addiction, but it does increase their likelihood of becoming addicted later," said Fortner.

Experts agree, even for the teens 'living in the moment' - the consequences can be deadly.

"You talk about 15 drinks on an empty stomach, that's three times the legal limit for an adult, a normally built adult," said Fortner. "I can't imagine somebody who is a little bit smaller, less experienced with alcohol use, it could be lethal."

"Teens don't process alcohol at the same rate adults do because their bodies and brains just aren't as developed," said Faris. "They can't handle the amount of alcohol that somebody in their 30's would be able to, so they could get alcohol poisoning and die."

According to the North Texas Recovery Foundation, statistics indicate that parents become aware their child is experimenting with drugs or alcohol about two year after the child has already begun.

"I know that there are a lot of parents, that try as we might, we might sound a bit preachy and lecture," said Faris. "We need to be very careful to converse and listen."

Experts say parents shouldn't assume their children are learning about the dangers of alcohol from school or others.

"A lot of the prevention dollars went away, so drug free schools, drug free work place dollars, those types of things decreased," said Fortner. "Get to know your kids and know who their friends are, where they are going, what they are doing, be an investigator but come from a caring end of things, don't do it because you want to catch them do it because you love them."

 

For more information on the University of Michigan study, click here.

 

According to experts in the story, the symptoms of teenage binge drinking include:

  • abuse toward others
  • lying
  • argumentative
  • thrill seekers
  • can't manage impulses or emotions
  • low level of parental interaction
  • perceive risk of usage to be low
  • breaking curfew
  • deterioration in hygiene
  • bloodshot eyes
  • experimentation of any drug

 

Ways to prevent usage:

  • Close relationship with parents
  • clear communication from parents about their expectations
  • stress management skills
  • participation in extracurricular activities
  • affiliation with church/religion
  • ability to manage their emotions

 

 

For additional support or information:

Meridian Community Care

527 N. Meridian Rd.

Youngstown, Ohio

(330) 797-0070

www.MeridianCommunityCare.org

 

PsyCare

136 Westchester Drive

Austintown, OH 44515

(330) 270-1400

www.psycare.com

 

North Texas Recovery Foundation

P.O. Box 475

Lewisville, TX

(972) 814-3392

www.ntrecovery.org

 

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