In today’s society, there has become a noticeable increase of teens that indulge in high-risk behaviors. As the vast amount of drug use, violence and depression in teenagers constantly arises in our society, it is clear that all three problem areas connect with to one another. The causes of these unfortunate problems amongst young adolescence are a mixture of influences through media, music/lyrics, technology and capitalism. In all fairness, these social norms are difficult to ignore and escape within the new generation of teenagers. Underage drinking, violence and depression each have a connection to one another. These types of behaviors amongst teens relate to both my academic and professional goals because I plan on pursuing a career as a social worker. This job entails that I will be dealing with high-risk teens that are involved in domestic abuse, gang affiliations, substance abuse, school troubles, suicidal thoughts, and other rebellious antics. Keith A. Kings stated in his research that “teens experiencing depression are 12 times more likely to attempt suicide than teen’s not experiencing depression”. (King, 2012) Knowledge about at-risk teens will put me at an advantage and help me better identify with teens who engage in these behaviors. It is important to have knowledge about why teens have these behavioral patterns. Influence through media and advertisements play apart but it also has to with the generation before them. Adults in this present day society are a lot angrier than the ones before them. Our world could be considered as a “hustle” type of society. There is constant sound and we are continuously faced with big expectations, which can cause a great deal of stress. Stress leads to frustration, and frustration can be taken out in many ways, like consumption of alcohol and violence as a stress reliever, and now commonly depression (Engs, 2011). When a child witnesses abuse in any form such as verbal, physical, mental and substance, they might eventually pick up these habits (Engs, 2011). Alcohol usage is extremely prominent in young adolescence. Though it has been abused for years before, underage drinking has increased dramatically with this new generation. Research shows that binge drinking is popular in ages under 21 due to a lack of being taught responsible drinking habits (Engs, 2011). Some studies show that teens can start drinking and abusing other drugs to escape the pain of reality. Whatever the reason, it causes an array of problems for these teens and unfortunate consequences. There are many parents that do practice good drinking habits however, and the blame cannot be fully put on parents. Media plays a fair amount in underage drinking because it advertises it. Only in recent years have we seen anti-alcohol advertisements. The consequences of alcohol are unfortunate, examples being failing academically, addictions, and physical consequences such as hangovers, death, alcohol poisoning, homicide, suicide, and car crashes (CDC, 2014). Every year, estimates of 4,700 people under the age of 21 die due to the harm done in underage drinking (CDC, 2014). Other physical consequences like altered structures and proper functioning of the brain that continues developing and mature until age thirty are also possible consequences when drinking underage (CDC, 2014). A scenario could be a teen that had started using alcohol will have a higher risk of alcoholism as an adult than a teen that waited until the legal age of 21 to drink for the first time (CDC, 2014). Alcohol usage and other drug abuse amongst can form into violent behavior. At-risk teens normally develop addictive habits through their parents, even grandparents, older siblings, etc. Underage drinking is just one of the many habits teens are vulnerable to developing; violence is another major pattern. The violent increase in teens is led by the social increase of anger (CDC, 2014).As stated before; media, technology and capitalism play an important role in this pattern. The teenage mind is impulsive to begin with, so any adding aspects like angry lyrics, violent movies and television shows and more only fuel impulsive responses, leading to insignificant fights and trouble (Schimelpfening, 2012). Adults in this present day are angrier than before and often teach their children to be the same way. Teens are witnessing struggles to maintain balance in a household and are often forced to be independent before they are ready. Some experience severe problems economically, physically and mentally. This goes back to stress drinking and other stress relieving drugs (Schimelpfening, 2012). Drinking and violence connect with one another in many ways, one being that they are both stress relievers and they allow teens to mask their emotions from the real world. Pressures like these can cause behavioral changes within young adults, one of the most major being depression, as well as anxiety. There are many types of depression such as “major or clinical depression, dysthymia, adjustment disorder with depressed mood, and seasonal affective disorder” (Teen Ink, 2014). Depression has become a high leading cause of death to teenagers between ages 14 and 19. It comes in third after AIDS, diabetes and cancer (Teen Ink, 2014). Teens can feel hopeless and helpless because of their family, financial and physical situations; anything can be causing them to feel this way. It is common for teens to self-medicate depression and anxiety using products like alcohol and other drugs such as pills, marijuana, etc. (Schimelpfening,2012). Also body image is very important and plays a fair role in depression and anxiety within teens. Our society has high standards of how people should look. The pressures of looking a certain way revert to high stress levels on top of dealing with other personal problems. After identifying a few of the many at-risk behaviors in teens, the major cause seems to be our society’s obsession with technology and media. The music we listen to, the movies and television shows we watch, the technology that we use, it all connects to teenagers and at risk behaviors. Underage drinking, teen violence, and depression all connect to each other and it is hard for teens to escape this type of world when we are so engaged in all of it. The pressures of fitting in, looking a certain way and dealing with personal situations each seek outlets by teens. Those outlets are to abuse drugs, lash out on peers and adults, and in the end become social anxiety and drastic mood changes. We as society have to find a way to prevent out teens from feeling this helplessness and hopeless and give them a future to look forward to.
"Alcohol and Public Health: Alcohol-Related Disease Impact (ARDI)." CDC. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Jan. 2014. Excessive alcohol use, including underage drinking and binge drinking (drinking 5 or more drinks on an occasion for men or 4 or more drinks on an occasion for women), can lead to increased risk of health problems such as injuries, violence, liver diseases, and cancer. The CDC Alcohol Program works to strengthen the scientific foundation for preventing excessive alcohol use Engs, Ruth C. “Why the Drinking Age Should be Lowered: An Opinion Based Upon Research.” CQ Researcher. N.p., 20 Mar. 1998. Web. 9 Feb. 2011. This perspective is built upon more than two decades studying college student drinking patterns and the history of alcohol use in this country and other cultures. My research has led me to believe strongly that perhaps the simplest and most dramatic action we could take to create more responsible alcohol consumption among college students would be to lower the legal drinking age to eighteen or nineteen. King, K. A., & Vidourek, R. A. (2012). Teen Depression and Suicide: Effective Prevention and Intervention Strategies. Prevention Researcher, 19(4), 15-17 Ashford Library Teen depression and suicidal behaviors are intricately intertwined, with untreated depression being a leading cause of adolescent suicide. The authors discuss the extent of and connection between teen depression and suicide, with specific emphasis placed on the importance of early detection of warning signs and risk factors, plus the development of positive social and emotional connections. Schimelpfening, Nancy. "Teen Alcohol Facts." About.com Depression. N.p., 17 Oct. 2012. Web. 26 Jan. 2014. The median age at which teens begin to drink is thirteen. 87% of high school seniors have used alcohol. Students with grades of D or F drink 3 times as much as their counterparts with good grades. 58% of teenage drinkers report they drink when they are upset or depressed "Teen Depression." Teen Ink. N.p., 2012. Web. 26 Jan. 2014.
There has never been one particular moment of crisis in my life. There have been moments when things looked more bleak than imaginable, but never any all-out crisis. I've never realized that my whole life is without meaning.