5 Ways to Raise Teen Awareness About Alcohol Use and Violence
In February, young people in schools across the nation observed Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, an event sponsored by the public awareness organization Break the Cycle. Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month is an effort to spread information about the prevalence of what amounts to domestic violence on the part of adolescent boyfriends and girlfriends, something that is so common that around 1 out of 10 teens say they have suffered physical abuse at the hands of their romantic partner. The goal is to make it easier for victims to speak out, as well as to prevent the abuse from happening in the first place by raising awareness of the risk factors, the causes and consequences of dating violence. If this is a cause that you would like to get behind, you can help to spread the message. Make sure that teens you know, whether they’re your children, your siblings, your students or your friends, understand how alcohol use can lead to violence:
Heavy Drinking Can Cause Blackouts
When people consume large amounts of alcohol, as in cases of binge drinking, there is a very real liability of suffering blackouts. A blackout is a period of time which the person cannot later recall, which means that he or she may have said or done things that he or she can’t remember. Moreover, people very often behave unlike their normal selves during blackouts. This could very easily include, and often does include, acts of violence against loved ones.
Alcohol Impairs Physical Coordination
A simple consequence of drinking is that it tends to interfere with a person’s physical coordination. This fact makes it more likely that a person will trip or stumble and do something that could spark an argument, whether it’s bumping into another person or breaking some prized possession. A simple mistake, caused by alcohol, could end up in a fight.
Being Drunk Often Leads to Misguided Behavior
One of the reasons that people drink is that they want to cut loose and have fun, because alcohol helps to lower one’s inhibitions and make it easier to say or do things that you wouldn’t normally do. Too often, this includes something such as cheating on a boyfriend or girlfriend or doing something to embarrass one’s partner in public. It’s impossible to undo what has been done, even if it was done while drunk, and the injured feelings and broken trust may lead to violence.
Alcohol Takes a Toll
Just as people tend to get happy and have fun while drinking, so do they also typically experience lows between binges if they are heavy drinkers. In a relationship where either or both of the partners drinks often and heavily, there will usually be rough times when the partners are feeling hungover or generally cranky and uneasy, feelings that may end up in fights.
Alcohol Makes Some People Aggressive
Drinking alcohol doesn’t affect everyone in the same ways, but for certain people getting drunk means getting aggressive. This can manifest as the “mean drunk,” someone who is more critical and caustic while drinking, or it could turn into a full-blown rage over a seemingly minor incident. To make matters worse, the effect isn’t always the same every time; a person could normally be fun while drinking and then flip into a rage one night, only to do something that he or she deeply regrets later on.
Don’t Let Alcohol Ruin Another Life
Alcohol can aggravate existing problems in a troubled relationship, or it can cause turmoil in an otherwise happy and stable relationship. In either case, the consequences are often tragic in terms of damaged lives, injury and death. Take the time now to make sure that those you care about recognize what’s at stake so that they can make the right choices about drinking.