Saturday, June 12, 2010

Drinking, Mental Health, and Violence

We all know that drinking and kids is a bad mix. We all hear about the dangers of binge drinking in the Freshman year of College. Something we may not be as aware that the incidents of mental health issues in kids who drink dramatically increases the more often they drink. Diagnoses like depression,anxiety disorder and even bipolar disorder can be seen at higher rates in kids who drink. The more they drink, the higher the possibility of a diagnosis. Bring suicide into the picture and the rates go up drastically in the kids that drink or smoke pot. Alcohol is a depressant. We know this. We also know that the more we drink the less impulse control we have. Add lowered impulse control to an already impulsive adolescent brain and is it any wonder kids have such a high death rate? Add a motor vehicle in the picture and I truly am surprised there are any teens still alive and well. If you take a look at brain studies done at Washington State University, you can see the long term effects of alcohol use on the brain. What is even more impressive is the effects of alcohol on the body. Did you know that if you blow a .3 on a Breathalyzer at Midnight it takes until 3 pm the next day to blow 0. This is pure math and physiology. Our bodies can only process so much alcohol an hour.. no matter what. This explains why a kid can still be drunk legally long after stopping drinking. This is why so many kids get in fights long after the drinking has stopped. Violence travels right along with booze and kids. Add marijuana and it may also carry absolute paranoia as well due to the effects on the brain and genetics which is too deep a line to follow here. So use of alcohol can predispose a kiddo to a mental health diagnosis later in life and can also heighten the possibility of incarceration based on violence. It takes an instant to pull a trigger and a second to plunge a knife into someone. Alcohol makes it easier to take that step. Any young people reading this post, don't take my word for it, do some research on the net about the effects of alcohol on your body. The world is yours to do with as you please and a bunch of you are looking at environmental history with disgust. Take a look at your own environment, your body and really pay attention to what you expose it to. There are a lot of things you can't control but there are amny more you can. Parents, stop lecturing your kids. They stopped listening to you bitch at them years ago. Just talk with them...listen to what they are telling you and be straight with them. When a kid their age dies or gets admitted for a mental health issue, ask them about it. Let them talk about their views and their fears. They do have them you know.

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