Think you know the difference between fun and addiction?

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Trying alcohol for the first time is a part of most teenagers growing up and as long as you do it sensibly and in moderation, that’s okay. But it’s important that you know the difference between recreational consumption and compulsive dependency.

We often drink alcohol to change our mood. Some people drink to deal with fear or loneliness, but the effect is only temporary. Your problems are still there, waiting for you when the alcohol has worn off and you feel even worse because of the way alcohol withdrawal symptoms affect your brain and the rest of your body. Drinking is not a good way to manage difficult feelings.

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"The transition from alcohol abuse to alcohol dependency is rapid-

I know this because I  was an addict for 15 years."

 

Jan Willem Poot is founder of Yes We Can Youth Clinics, the only international clinic in Europe which specialises in young people (13-25 years old) with complex behavioural disorders, addictions and related behavioural problems. He said: “The transition from alcohol abuse to alcohol dependency is often rapid and hard to monitor but when you can no longer control whether or not you use alcohol, you have an alcohol addiction. I know this because I was an addict for 15 years; I became a liar and manipulator and nothing could stop me getting my next drink.”

Physical dependency is the result of the body getting used to alcohol and when you develop this dependency and alcohol no longer enters the body, withdrawal symptoms like shakes, sweating, and nausea, trouble sleeping and feeling anxious will occur.

You might think your parents are being contradictory as they tell you how dangerous drinking alcohol is with a glass of wine in their hands but the fact is that drinking is much more harmful to teens than it is to adults. This is because your brain continues to develop until you’re 25 and drinking during this critical growth period can lead to lifelong damage in brain function. In particular, it can have long-term effects on your memory, your ability to move and your co-ordination.

Jan Willem Poot says it is important to think about why you are drinking alcohol and what it could do to you both physically and mentally; “You might think it’s fun now but the long lasting damage that alcohol can bring is not worth the nights you can’t remember.”

Yes We Can Youth Clinics is the only private clinic in Europe which specialises in treating young people (13-25 years old) with complex behavioural disorders, addictions and related behavioural problems. For more information visit www.yeswecanclinics.com.

HealthWeb editor