If you have a teenage son or daughter, it is natural for you to worry about alcohol use. Many teens do experiment with alcohol, despite the warnings.
As a parent, you may ask yourself why one teenager refuses to drink while underage and another develops an unhealthy relationship with drinking. The answer is not black and white. There are multiple reasons why a teenager may choose to drink.
Self-medication and escape
According to the American Addiction Centers, about 20% of all teens experience depression, while 8% have anxiety disorders and 11% have ADHD. If your teen struggles with mental illness, he or she is vulnerable. Alcohol may ease their symptoms temporarily. This can be a step toward addiction.
Much like self-medication, some teens want to escape their lives. They may try to cope with family, school or relationship struggles. Teens are still learning healthy coping mechanisms and may see alcohol as a means of escape.
Rebellion and social pressure
If your teen feels pressure from you or other adults in his or her life, he or she may rebel. Teens may do what they want with little regard to the consequences of those actions.
On top of rebellion, teens are prone to looking for acceptance. You may remember being a teenager and how much you wanted to fit in or be a part of something. If your teen wants to feel validated by a group, he or she may find it hard to say no to drinking.
Teens may also feel lured into drinking by the media that they consume. About 93% of movies teenagers watch have alcohol use.