Jennifer Ashton, M.D., Ob-Gyn with Christine Larson WebMD Feature by “The Body Scoop for Girls”
Ever said anything you really regretted later? Done anything that made you feel like an idiot? Remember that miserable mortified feeling that made you wish you’d never been born?
Did You Know?
Drinking and Driving Is a Major Cause of Teen Deaths
Motor vehicle accidents—many of which involve alcohol—are the single leading cause of death in people ages fifteen to twenty. In 2007 more than 1,800 people under twenty died in alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents.
Other Good Reasons Not to Drink
It’s illegal if you’re under twenty-one.
One beer typically has 150 to 200 calories, the equivalent of two small chocolate chip cookies. These are empty calories that do nothing good for your body.
It’s bad for your liver and your brain.
You’ve got a much higher chance of using poor judgment, getting injured, or putting yourself in danger.
Getting drunk is like volunteering to feel that way all over again. It’s hard enough to say and do the right thing when you’re sober. When you drink you’re much, much more likely to use poor judgment. And I’m not talking about spilling the beans about your best friend’s secret crush. (Though slips like that can happen all too easily, too, after even one drink.) I’m talking about putting yourself in risky situations—getting in a car with someone who’s been drinking, making out with someone you don’t know, trying drugs, or other risky behaviors. When you’re drunk, some things can seem like good ideas—even when they’re really, really bad ideas. Like one guy I went to school with. He got drunk at a party one night, went wandering around with friends, and ended up climbing on top of a train at the campus train station. He grabbed a wire overhead to steady himself. The electric shock didn’t kill him, but he lost both of his legs. Stories like this happen every year. And not just to dumb people. To smart, fun, together people who happened to drink too much one night and will regret it the rest of their lives.
Something else to consider: Alcohol is associated with higher levels of violence. When you’re around people who are drinking, their judgment is impaired, too, and they may be more likely to act violently or hurt you. If you’re also drinking, you may be less able to defend yourself and more vulnerable. If you’re sober, it’s easier to extract yourself from risky situations.
The best way to avoid becoming a tragic statistic is to skip alcohol in your teens—and to avoid becoming drunk at any age.