Psychological Effects Of Underage Drinking

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Despite many teens believing that participating in underage drinking is not harmful, or at least not as harmful as participating in other social or recreational drug use, underage drinking has far-reaching and potentially long-term harmful effects. Underage consumption of alcohol increases the risk of many progressive physical and psychological disease conditions, including poor academic performance, higher incidence of crime, and physical disorders including chronic liver and kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, and impaired cognitive function. Although the short-term physical effects of alcohol abuse are well known, underage drinking dramatically increases the risk of long-term negative psychological, sociological, physiological, and behavioural effects on adolescents, as brain development continues through adolescence. Examining first the potential psychological effects, participating in underage drinking increases risk of depression and anxiety, the severity of which can become increasingly serious over time (Manimoy and Smith-Hunter). These conditions may become more prevalent in underage drinkers as the effects of alcohol become a substitute for normal emotional responses and most teens are naive to the long-term harm it can cause. Alcohol impedes emotional function resulting in acting or speaking without thinking in certain situations, or even potentially violently. Emotional stresses in addition to academic pressure and competition between peers may also result.

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