By Sue Scheff
Original Source: soberinfo.com
What We Need To Know
According to experts at the American Medical Association, the difference in female physiology means that teen girls feel greater impairment from alcohol and encounter alcohol-related problems faster, including brain damage, cancer, cardiac complications, and other medical disorders.
The Partnership for a Drug Free America reports that not only are girls drinking more than boys, but that they turn to drugs and alcohol for more serious reasons. Girls are more likely to associate drugs and alcohol with a way to avoid problems and relieve stress. (Boys, on the other hand, show dramatic increases in seeing drugs and alcohol as social lubricants: a way to make socializing easier and a necessary ingredient for a party.
Teen girls are more likely to be attuned to their feelings and may seek alcohol as a way to self-medicate. Experts site the stress of figuring out gender roles, of doing well in school, and of the larger social and economic realities has led this generation’s teenagers to be more anxious than previous generations.
According to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, research shows that when parents talk openly about drugs and drinking, children have better self-control and develop more negative perceptions of these risky behaviors. They suggest the following conversation starters:
For example, parents might say:
- “I’m not trying to ruin your fun. I love you and I want you to stay healthy. The best way to do that is to stay completely away from drugs and alcohol. I need you to promise that you will.”
- “I realize there’s a lot of temptation out there. I also know you’re a really smart, strong person. That’s why I expect you to stay clean — no matter what your friends are doing. Agreed?”
- “There’s a lot of new science about teens, drugs and alcohol. It scares me to know how easily you could damage your brain or get addicted. We want your word that you’ll steer clear of all that, and keep me in the loop on the kids you hang out with, too.”