Teens at Risk of Extreme Binge Drinking

Drinking alcohol has always been a part of American life but unfortunately it’s also become a teen pastime. Having that first drink is a rite of passage for far too many young people. Research shows that the younger a person begins to drink, the more issues they’ll have with alcohol use disorders.

Binge drinking is defined as having five or more drinks in a two-hour period. Extreme binging involves 10 or more drinks in one outing.

The percentage of teen binge drinking has actually gone down a couple percentage points in the last several years. However, teen extreme binge drinking has not decreased at all.

A study by University of Michigan researchers found that 10 percent of high school seniors have binged to the extreme, with five percent of them saying they’ve had 15 or more drinks in one outing. Published in JAMA Pediatrics, the study was based on 16,000 high school seniors that were surveyed between 2005 and 2011 for the annual Monitoring the Future Study.

Some of the other findings:

The data shows that demographics do play a role in who binge drinks and to what extreme.

Teens having negative opinions of drinking are at just as much risk of falling into a pattern of binge drinking as a teen with no real opinion about drinking. This is because at this age, teens are very open to peer pressure, both from their peers and from the media.

Addiction experts agree that parents need to create an environment of trust and of love where conversation about issues is always welcome. Parents need to have an open dialogue with their teens about the dangers involved with drinking. The earlier the conversations take place the better chance they’ll have in shaping boundaries.

Some parents simply want to be cool and let their kids invite friends over for basement beer parties. This is not only illegal but sets the stage for a lifetime of alcohol issues. Parents also need to curb their own drinking when in the presence of their children. When a child sees a parent drinking to excess they are teaching that excessive drinking is normal and acceptable.