The Effect Of Alcohol On Health Free Writing Sample

$1000. What could you get for $1000? For this much money you could buy 235 pumpkin spice lattes from Starbucks or Spend 9 days at Disney land. But now you can’t. You just had to take that drink, that one sip of beer costs you $1000. In Idaho it is illegal for anyone under 21, to possess, purchase, attempt to purchase or serve alcoholic beverages. Your first conviction will be no more than $1000, Next time you will be fined no more that $2000 and or spend up to 30 days in jail. The third time you are caught you will pay at most $3000 and or must spend 60 does in jail. Does anyone really want that? Today I am here to inform you about underage drinking and possible solutions for it. In the next few minutes I will tell you about why underage drinking a problem is, then I will tell you about the causes of underage drinking, finally I will describe the solutions being done to fix this problem. Let’s begin by talking about why drinking underage is a problem. According to the NIAAA, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, underage drinking is a threat to public health in the US.

Alcohol can affect teens health, and behaviors. The Drug Abuse Warning Network, included a graph in an article they wrote. This table shows us that about 1,900 or half of the drug abuse related ER visits were by people younger the 21 and involved alcohol. The table also shows that 43.2% of all drug misuse and abuse were made by people younger than 21. Studies show that drinking underage can cause people to be riskier. Risky behaviors include getting behind a wheel, suicide or even participating in other illegal things. The NIAAA, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, says more than 5,000 underage teenagers die every year do to underage drinking, the drink caused 1,900 of them to get behind the wheel, 1,600 of them were killed by people who had been drinking, 300 of the underage drinkers committed suicide, and hundred died from accidents, such as falls, burns and drowning. Underage drinking is not a rare problem, its all around us. Another CDC study showed that 33% of high school students admitted that they have had a drink within the past month, 18% of student reported binge drinking, 8% drove a car after drinking, and 20% got into a car with a drunk driver.

These are just some reasons why drinking is a problem in the United States. Now that I talked about why underage drinking is a problem, let me tell you what causes teens to drink. In todays world there are many factors that influence kids today, including social media, peer pressure, or forms entertainment. The NIAAA found many factors that could influence teens to drink such as, inherited alcoholism and social influences from parents and friends. A video from the New York Times Company shares with us a study that researches held to find a connection between film and underage drinking. Researchers test over 5,000 teens and found more than 350 popular movies that showed alcohol. The result showed that alcohol in movies increased the risk of underage drinking and binge drinking. Subjects that watch the films more were 2.4 times likely to drink weekly and 2 times likely to have alcohol related problems. Another influence teen have is their parents.

If children grow up with a parent who is an alcoholic, they are more likely to drink verses some one who didn’t. According to opposing viewpoints, many parents allow their underage teens to drink at home. They do this because they believe their kids will be safer if they do it at home then at some party. One big issue that causes underage drinking is peer pressure. In fact, 74% of teens said they felt pressure from their peer to drink on prom night. Opposing viewpoints writes, “Many teenagers engage in binge drinking because it serves as a familiar rite of passage in many situations. This is particularly prevalent on college campuses, where most students are under the minimal age, and where fraternities and sororities, dorm parties, and other social situations provide easy access to alcohol.” Factors such as movies, parents, and friends can influence underage teens to drink alcohol. It can take place anywhere from the teens house to prom night at a party.

Last, I will describe what is being done to solve the underage drinking problem. The three major ways that underage drinking can be solve is parental, school, and environmental approaches.

First is the parental approach:

Researchers say parents need to communicate more with their teens about drinking underage. shares 10 ways teens should know to refuse alcohol:

1. Be blunt

2. Divert the Attention

3. Keep your cool

4. Shake it off

5. Blame mom and dad

6. Blow it off

7. Stay honest

8. Think of your future

9. Make a healthy choice

10. Communicate clearly

Another method to help prevent underage drinking is through schools. Researchers say we should have school programs that help educate us and provide prevention programs. According to juvenile Drinking, environment shows to have the most effect. Increasing price on alcohol raising the legal drinking age and increasing enforcement of alcohol-related laws all have shown to be successful. The alcohol Problems and solutions page provides a graph for readers about high school seniors. In 1980 87.9% of seniors had consumed alcohol within the past 30 days. When tested again in 2014, the rates dropped about 35%. This is a sign that our society is getting better. Though underage drinking is still a problem, it isn’t as big as it was in the past. Today we talked about why underage drinking is a problem then we discussed what causes this problem and finally we found out how the US was addressing this problem. Next time you are somewhere with alcohol think about your future. Think about that $1000 that you could spend on Starbucks for this winter. Most importantly just say no and walk away. Thank You.


Articles On The Effects Of Alcohol

I would like to start this reflection with a conversation with my dad a few weeks ago. He told me how ages 18 through 21 are the 3 most dangerous years in your life in regards with the trouble you can get in with the law. Ironically, a week after this conversation a video from the beginning of the school year had surfaced days after a minor incident at Reinert and with the combination of the two events I was let go from my desk worker job without warning. Moral of the story; social media follows you and you should be very careful to make sure nothing bad of you gets posted.

According to Jacquelyn Smith in her article How Social Media Can Help (Or Hurt) You In Your Job Search, “A third (34%) of employers who scan social media profiles said they have found content that has caused them not to hire the candidate.” She also went on to state that “About half of those employers said they didn’t offer a job candidate the position because of provocative or inappropriate photos and information posted on his or her profile; while 45% said they chose not to hire someone because of evidence of drinking and/or drug use on his or her social profiles.” I made a mistake with the video I took because it does not reflect on me in a professional light, if seen by one of my potential future employers.

The Johns Hopkins Public school of Health website has an article about the risks of teen drinking called Consequences of Underage Drinking. Some of the risks associated with underage drinking are “Increases the risk of physical and sexual assault, it is associated with academic failure, illicit drug use, tobacco use, and can cause a range of physical consequences, from hangovers to death from alcohol poisoning” It is important to wait till you are of legal age to drink alcohol because it is bad for the adolescent brain. The article also outlines this by saying alcohol “Can cause alterations in the structure and function of the developing brain, which continues to mature into the mid- to late twenties, and may have consequences reaching far beyond adolescence”

This article even covered the specific dangers to alcohol being on a college campus. Fox example, “An estimated 1,700 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die each year from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor vehicle crashes, and about 100,000 students are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape” All of these statistics are evidence for the fact that underage drinking is dangerous and has no place on a college campus. A majority of the fatal cases are binge drinking related, which is much different from the correct, safe, and responsible way to consume alcohol. This is particularly detrimental since the main binge drinkers are adolescents that undergo much more bodily damage than someone who is older and fully developed.

The next article I looked into called How Does Alcohol Affect Cognitive Behavior?

approached the topic from a more scientific point of view, specifically alcohols effect on decision making. After outlining the neurotransmitters involved in alcohol consumption the author goes on to say “alcohol consumption can damage the hippocampus, which is involved in memory functions and learning abilities; the cerebral cortex, which is responsible for decision-making skills and problem-solving abilities; and the cerebellum that works with coordination, emotional regulation, and movement capabilities.” The entire concept of getting drunk could accurately be stated as enjoying the feeling of poisoning yourself. Alcohol offers no health benefits and can be very addicting, with many people developing alcohol dependencies. “Addiction involving alcohol is considered a brain disease, as the brain’s wiring and circuitry are altered and the ability to control drinking is impeded”

This article even goes as deep to explain the science of alcohol dependency. “Since GABA is increased with alcohol consumption and serves to slow functions of the central nervous system, if alcohol is suddenly removed after a dependence has formed, these autonomic functions can rebound. This occurs as the brain struggles to restore balance to its chemical makeup.” Once your body has formed this dependency, if you try to not drink your body’s “Heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, respiration, and the stress response are then heightened.” Another piece of evidence supporting the claim of underage drinking affecting decision making is “Individuals may suffer from “foggy thinking” as well as depressed moods, insomnia, and anxiety.” My decision to take the video I did was a mistake and an example of alcohol affecting my decision making.

Another interesting article I found was on Northpoint Washington and was called How Alcohol Affects the Brain. This article outlines the adverse short term and long term consequences of alcohol consumption depending on how much or little you drink. Also, they classify someone as a heavy or chronic drinker for binge drinking five or more times a month. I can honestly say that that has never been the case in my life and my now knowing that will influence my actions in the future regarding the topic. For short term effects of alcohol, the article lists “Slurring your speech, becoming drowsy, having problems with your vision and hearing, problems with your judgment and making decisions, problems with your coordination, and blackouts and memory lapses.” The article spends a long time talking about a condition called Wernicke-Kirsakoff Syndrome which is common among people with alcohol use disorder “caused because Vitamin B1 is deficient in the body due to excessive drinking.” Some symptoms of Wernicke-Kirsakoff Syndrome include “Bouts of confusion, the loss of mental activity that can progress into a coma and eventually, death, loss of muscle control, changes in vision, problems with forming new memories, severe memory loss, having hallucinations.” As you can see, alcohol can have a significant impact on your quality of life and health.

Alcohol can create not only problems for yourself, but for your close friends and family who love you, or your future spouse. This is outlined in the article What Are the Problems and Effects of Alcoholism On Families and Marriages by the American Addiction Center and provides yet another significant reason to consume alcohol responsibly. Alcohol can strain family relationships because “people who drink can blow through the family budget, cause fights, ignore children, and otherwise impair the health and happiness of the people they love.” A good motivator to stay away from alcohol is out of respect for the people who care for and love you, and how those people would not want to see you with an alcohol dependency. And in regards to your future spouse, “Of married couples who get into physical altercations, some 60-70 percent abuse alcohol.” Safe consumption of alcohol is ok given that you are of legal age, but it is vital that you do not let your drinking habits get out of hand for your sake, as well as for all the people that love you and want the best for you.

Also, alcohol abuse can create financial troubles since alcohol is fairly expensive, and because of the nature by which it is consumed. For example, “Because your inhibitions are lowered when you drink alcohol, you may be more likely to impulsively buy things without thinking through the consequences of those purchases in the moment.” When your funneling a large portion of your paycheck into something that lowers your productivity, you are on a downward slope to being poor and hurting the close ones around you whether it be emotionally (family and friends) and/or finatialy (spouse and children).

In regards to one day being a father, “Early exposure to an alcohol abuser can also increase the child’s propensity to have a problematic relationship with alcohol.” I have seen some of these kinds of problems in the real world with some members of my extended family and it can be emotionally tolling to say the least. I had parents that did not have substance abuse problems and want the best for me and I intend to be that positive role model one day for my children. It is not fair to let people destroy their lives with alcohol even if it is their choice since they are effecting a lot more than just themself.

To conclude, I have learned from my mistakes and look forward to taking what I learned last semester and making next semester the best it can be. I am very sad I lost my job over this but will not let that stop me from bouncing back and finding a new one this semester. Alcohol can be safe when consumed responsibly, but when used irresponsibly and can have a substantial impact on your health mentally and physically, your financial situation, your relationship with your family friends and spouse, the future of your children, and much more. It is obviously in my best interest to wait till I’m 21 to begin my journey with drinking, and to make the right choices with it along the way.


How Alcohol Affects the Brain

Drunkenness In College

In 2001, college drinking was associated with approximately 600,000 injuries, almost 500,000 instances of unprotected sex, 97,000 sexual assaults, 700,000 physical assaults, and over 1,700 deaths. Furthermore, these statistics are increased for those affiliated with the Greek system. With approximately, nine million students currently members of a sorority or fraternity in the U.S, there is an urgency to unearth what characteristics of Greek societies cause it to be the strongest risk factor for substance abuse among college students. Conceivably, by identifying these characteristics measures for this epidemic can be implemented in Greek systems throughout college campuses. In relation to social psychology, I will authenticate that it is not one element, instead conformity, residential environment, injunctive norms and descriptive norms amalgamating to create a scenario in which college students are more inclined to participate in binge drinking.

Underlying Causes

Conformity, or the act of matching attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors to group norms and attitude expression has a great relevance to alcohol consumption in college students. The influence of others’ views on individual attitudes was examined in a study. In an initial study, naive participants were asked about their attitudes on a range of standard survey items privately, publicly in a group with confederates, and again privately following the group meeting. Findings indicate significant attitudinal conformity, which was most pronounced when participants were faced with a unanimous group. Conformity continued to influence participants’ views when they were again asked their views in private.

Considering the significance conformity has on adolescents, its magnitude was later researched in relation to binge drinking. In the fall of 2009, 800 first year college students from a midwestern state university participated in a mailed questionnaire regarding alcohol experiences; this questionnaire included questions on attitudes, alcohol consumption behaviour, injunctive and descriptive norms and experiences of alcohol-related problems. Both conformity and projection was found with respect to alcohol attitudes and behaviour for first year college students.

As adolescents, most of their sense of self is derived from the opinions of others. Though this is not the most authentic way to measure self worth, it is how the youth grasp the world around them. However, when drinking is the consequence of conformity the outcomes can be disastrous. If something as insignificant as a stranger’s opinion on items can sway behavior, conformity will have an even greater weight on an incoming freshman searching for potential friends for the upcoming four years. In an already stress inducing time as freshman year, new students will not jeopardize their status in fraternities or sororities by not participating in the activities of their peers. The power of conformity clouds the judgment of students making them more susceptible to binge drinking.

The environment and living conditions of greek systems have been proven to directly affect the alcohol consumption of its members. In a study done by Park, Sher, and Krull they sought out to see how on-campus living in a greek residence affects risky drinking in adolescents. They hypothesized those who lived in fraternity houses would be more likely to participate in risky drinking. They measured this by a paper-and-pencil questionnaire for first-time first-year students at a Midwestern university. The sample of participants then took part in a web-based survey every fall and spring for the next four years. The final sample consisted of non-Greek women in residence halls, Greek women in residence halls, non-Greek men in residence halls, and Greek men in fraternity houses. They concluded that, students engaged in having five or more drinks in a single sitting roughly once and in having 12 or more drinks in a single sitting less than once for the past month at precollege. As well as, those living in fraternity houses increased extremely risky drinking more than others. These findings demonstrate both general effects of living types and specific effects of living units in the association between living environments and risky drinking during the college transition.

The transition from home to on-campus living creates a surge of independence for college students. However, with that independence comes a certain amount of freedom to indulgences that has not yet been presented to adolescents. There are no longer any authority figures hovering over them to chastise them for any diminutive action. This freedom is only magnified in greek houses because they are not held as responsible as students living in dorms within the school. Thus, alcohol and drug use can be executed without the close monitor of room advisors and staff. Coupled this with the already implied party atmosphere calls for a hectic living environment that allows binge drinking to occur with no repercussions.

By having your peers and everyone around you participate in drinking, it is easy to believe that is what everyone does in college. Injunctive norms, which are described as individuals’ perceptions of others’ attitudes and descriptive norms which are typical patterns of behavior, generally accompanied by the expectation that people will behave according to the pattern. – can exert a strong influence on behaviour. Through findings it has been determined that norm perceptions are often robustly associated with alcohol consumption. This can be related to conformity because conformity occurs when perceptions of injunctive and descriptive norms influence an individual’s own attitudes and behaviour.

Although conformity was found with respect to alcohol attitudes and behaviour for first year college students, after the first year there was no evidence of projection or conformity. In the study previously mentioned, the persistence of drinking after freshman year was examined. From the mailed questionnaire, there was evidence of injunctive and descriptive norms affecting drinking. Almost all students who were not freshman disclosed that individual viewing others’ drinking behaviour related it to their own drinking behavior. Therefore, they view their own drinking behaviour as being in line with the norm.This deviation from conformity supports the theory of action and identity, in which adolescents create identities by diverging from their peers. This evidence is in conjunction with deviance regulation theory or DRT that posits that people choose to stray from social norms in socially attractive ways as well as avoiding socially unattractive behaviors that stray from social norms. These behaviors are performed in an effort to preserve a constructive private and public self-image.

Even when conformity and on campus living are not present, drinking in greek life still persists, this can be explained by injunctive and descriptive norms. The association between attitudes and behaviour and injunctive/descriptive norms shifted dramatically after the first year of college, precisely that time when many students are moving from fitting in socially to establishing a unique identity relative to others. Students are no longer seeking the approval of others, instead behaving in ways they believe they have been displaying. For people in fraternities and sororities who have been participating in risky drinking as far back as before freshman year, it is easy to presume that is their personal norm. Through cognitive dissonance if they have behaved that way for so long it must be a reflection of their true character. Because not all of the factors are applicable to every year of college, ultimately, it is a combination of all three components that promote binge drinking in the greek lifestyle.


Given the risk factors examined, universities have an obligation to address the binge drinking crisis in greek life. Park, Sherr, and Krull examined how risky drinking changes as Fraternity/Sorority affiliation Changes. They found significant importance of long-term versus short-term substance use with Greek affiliation. Compelling rates of heavy drinking and marijuana use decreased over 4 years of college for students who dropped out of Greek systems and increased for students who joined Greek systems in their later college careers.

Similarly, alcohol consumption decreased when the sorority or fraternity did not have a greek house, because the alcohol and drugs itself was not as accessible. Therefore, the greek system should be repealed, however, considering the numerous amounts of sororities and fraternities this is highly unlikely. At the very least, there should be more severe regulations in greek houses to make alcohol less available. A number of colleges have already implemented measures to decrease the prevalence of risky drinking. This includes screenings to identify binge drinkers, brief interventions, and referral to further treatments. Any precaution to decrease binge drinking in the greek system is a step in the right direction.

In light of all the studies regarding binge drinking in the greek system it is discernible to conclude that it is not created by any one factor. Instead, it is a combination of conformity, social environments, and norms that produces an atmosphere in which adolescents choose to participate in binge drinking. Considering this conclusion, it is the responsibilities of the universities to regulate their greek system accordingly.

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