How Serious Is The Problem?
The situation in South Africa is serious. We are finding that because the age group of teens is dropping they are able to tolerate more alcohol by the time they are into their teens. The age of “sipping it regularly or trying it” is around 9 – 11 year old so by the time they are 13 to 14 they are well into drinking.
Parents usually relax in the evenings with one or two drinks, sometimes they are “so relaxed” that their unfinished drinks are left around. Their children as young as 9-11 finish off these, enjoy the initial stimulant feeling of the drink. The true effect is that alcohol is a depressant and they end up sleeping it off and going to school with a “babalas” and poor concentration levels. At SANCA we then get school heads asking us to intervene with these kids.
As they live with parents who use alcohol to cope with either happiness or stress they tend to emulate this behaviour of using drink to cope with situations. Teen binge drinkers would over indulge over weekends, Easter holidays, July holidays and the Festive season. It’s a time when they feel they have time to “recuperate”; but it is extremely difficult so they carry on topping up.
Yes, kids under the influence are prone to sexual abuse as well as:
Many people don’t think about the negative side or drinking. Although they think about the possibility of getting drunk, they may not give much consideration to being hung-over or throwing up.
You may know from experience that excessive drinking can lead to difficult concentration, memory lapses, mood changes, and other problems that affect your day-to-day life. But binge drinking carries more serious and longer-lasting risks as well:
Alcohol poisoning is the most life-threatening consequence of binge drinking. When someone drinks too much and gets alcohol poisoning, it affects the body’s involuntary reflexes – including breathing and the gag reflex. If the gag reflex, isn’t working properly, as person can choke to death on his or her vomit.
Other signs someone may have alcohol poisoning include:
Binge drinking impairs judgement, so drinkers are more likely to take risks they might not take when they’re sober. They may drive drunk and injure themselves or others. Driving isn’t the only motor skill that impaired, though. Walking is also more difficult while intoxicated. Roughly one third of pedestrians 16 and older who are killed in traffic accidents whilst intoxicated.
People who are drunk also take other risks they might not normally take when they’re sober. For example, people who have impaired judgement may have unprotected sex, putting them at greater risk of a sexually transmitted disease (STD) or unplanned pregnancy.
Studies show that people who binge-drink throughout high school are more likely to be overweight and have high blood pressure by the time they are 24. Just one regular beer contains about 150 calories, which adds up to a lot of calories if someone drinks four or five beers a night.
Binge drinkers have a harder time in school and they’re more likely to drop out. Drinking disrupts sleep patterns, which can make it harder to stay awake and concentrate during the day. This can lead to struggles with studying and poor academic performance.
People who binge-drink may find that their friends drift away. Drinking can affect personality; people might become angry or moody while drinking.
Some studies have shown that people who binge-drink heavily, those who have three or more episodes of binge drinking in 2 weeks – have some of the symptoms or alcoholism.
Parental involvement should always be there. From early age; showing children that adults may abstain or use alcohol occasionally in non-risk amounts is setting a positive example. Make sure that they understand that over indulgence can lead to the disease of alcoholism. Educate yourself about alcohol so that you can give the correct information to them.