By: Taylor Britt
Alcoholism is a critical public health issue that impacts young people, families and communities.
Research indicates that alcohol use during the teenage years may interfere with adolescent brain development. This is why it is important for parents to know it is never too early to address underage drinking. Research shows that kids who learn about the dangers of underage drinking from their parents are 50 percent less likely to experiment with alcohol than kids who don’t.
Parental intervention in Native American homes is particularly important because the prevalence of alcohol use is higher in Native Americans. Due to this statistic, Oklahoma City Indian Clinic offers treatment and prevention support services for adults and children.
Over time, excessive alcohol use can lead to the development of chronic diseases and other serious problems, including:
- High blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease and digestive problems
- Cancer of the breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, liver and colon
- Learning and memory problems, including dementia and poor school performance
- Mental health problems, including depression and anxiety
- Social problems, including lost productivity, family problems and unemployment
- Alcohol dependence, or alcoholism
By drinking in moderation, you can reduce the risk of these short- and long-term health risks.
If you begin to recognize signs of alcoholism in a loved one, take time to learn about alcoholism through a reputable source and offer support for the person to make positive changes. Oklahoma City’s Alcoholics Anonymous hotline can be reached at (405) 524-1100. Tulsa’s Alcoholics Anonymous hotline can be reached at (918) 627-2224.