Alcohol in movies influences young teens’ drinking habits

Hollywood has responsibilities further afield, given that half its movie revenues come from overseas, they add.

What are the dangerous effects of alcohol use in teens?

Just a few of the many dangerous effects of alcohol use in teens include the following:

- Alcohol decreases teens’ ability to pay attention.
- Teens who have experienced alcohol withdrawal tend to have difficulties with memory.
- In contrast to adults, teens tend to abuse alcohol with other substances, usually marijuana.
- Male teens who drink heavily tend to complete fewer years of education compared to male teens who do not.
- The younger a person is when they begin drinking, the more likely they are to develop a problem with alcohol.
- Each year, almost 2,000 people under the age of 21 years die in car crashes in which underage drinking is involved. Alcohol is involved in nearly half of all violent deaths involving teens.
- More than three times the number of eighth-grade girls who drink heavily said they have attempted suicide compared to girls in that grade who do not drink.
- Intoxication is associated with suicide attempts using more lethal methods, and positive blood alcohol levels are often found in people who complete suicide.
- Teens who drink are more likely to engage in sexual activity, have unprotected sex, have sex with a stranger, or be the victim or perpetrator of a sexual assault.
- Excess alcohol use can cause or mask other emotional problems, like anxiety or depression.
- Drinking in excess can lead to the use of other drugs, like marijuana, cocaine, or heroin.

“Like influenza, images in Hollywood movies begin in one region of the world then spread globally, where they may affect drinking behaviours of adolescents everywhere they are distributed,” they write.

What are the symptoms of alcohol abuse in teens?

Some of the most common symptoms of alcohol abuse in teenagers include lying, making excuses, breaking curfew, staying in their room, becoming verbally or physically abusive toward others, having items in their possession that are connected to alcohol use (paraphernalia), the smell of alcohol on their breath or body, mood swings, stealing, and changes in friends.


Emma Dickinson
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BMJ-British Medical Journal

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