What Are the Causes of Teenage Binge Drinking?

Updated March 23, 2017

Binge drinking refers to heavy and uncontrolled consumption of alcohol over a period of a few days. According to a recent report of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, around three million teenagers in America alone practice binge drinking, usually from age 13 to 22, where binge drinking is at its peak. They enjoy drinking alcohol and getting drunk, and consider these an integral part of the social scene.

Personal Freedom and Independence

Most teenagers who indulge in binge drinking do so to escape daily responsibilities and tasks. This escapist attitude gives teenagers a temporary feeling of freedom and independence. They usually perceive binge drinking as an avenue where they can avoid the dictates of their parents. These teenagers believe that the consumption of large amounts of alcohol is a sign that they can do anything and that the sky is the limit.

Peer Pressure

A teenager's circle of friends could serve as a major factor that influences his perceptions on binge drinking. The mere fact that his peers drink makes him believe that drinking is a normal thing. This builds trust among him and his friends, because it seems to provide a sense of security and the belief that his friends will prevent him from doing anything foolish. This sense of trust encourages the teenager to follow whatever his peers tell him to do. He is likely to feel safe when he is with his friends.

Seemingly Positive Effects of Alcohol

According to a British Home Office Research Study in 2003, alcohol has positive effects that encourage friendliness, increased confidence, a feeling of being invulnerable and a desire to live for and focus on the present. These effects are likely to encourage the teenager to repeatedly drink alcohol and even go on a drinking binge. Teenagers seem to lose themselves in the midst of drunkenness, and the idea of having to think less about the consequences of their actions gives them the feeling of power and freedom that they probably do not feel when they are sober.

Family Problems

Teenagers who binge drink may have parents who did not teach them about the ill effects of drinking too much alcohol. The parents may not be drinkers. However, there are times when they are too busy to support, monitor and communicate with their children. Some of these teenagers are those with parents who may be heavy drinkers themselves. Harsh, hostile parents who instil rejection in their adolescent children are prone to contribute to the latter's binge drinking.

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About the Author

Edward Perry has been a freelance writer since 2006. His articles appear on Trails, eHow, and in "USA Today." Edward holds a Bachelor of Science in psychobiology from University of California, Los Angeles, and a Master of Business Administration from New York University.