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Video IconGeraldine Pearson, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the UConn Health Center, is interviewed by NBC Connecticut’s Lauren Petty about the dangers of teenage alcohol use.

Warning Signs of Teenage Alcohol Abuse

  • Physical: Fatigue, repeated health complaints, red and glazed eyes.
  • Emotional: Personality change, irresponsible behavior, low self-esteem, poor judgment, depression, and a general lack of interest.
  • Family: Starting arguments, breaking rules, or withdrawing from family.
  • School: Decreased interest, negative attitude, drop in grades, and discipline problems.
  • Social Problems: New friends, less interested in standard home and school activities, and changes to less conventional styles in dress and music.

Feature Story

Health Center Today, May 20, 2010

Dangers of Underage Drinking – Know the Warning Signs

By Carolyn Pennington

During this season of proms and graduations, it’s important to remember the dangers of underage drinking and that alcohol is the most commonly used drug among young people, surpassing tobacco and illicit drugs.

Underage drinking in Connecticut is slightly higher than the national average, according to the Connecticut Department of Public Health. Seventy-seven percent of high school students obtain alcohol at home – 30 percent with parents’ permission.

Alcohol is a powerful, mood-altering drug, and its use by children poses very serious health risks for bodies and minds that are still maturing. It can cloud judgment and interfere with developing social skills and academic achievement. For example, research demonstrates that adolescents who abuse alcohol may remember 10 percent less of what they have learned than those who don’t drink. Alcohol use may also lead to increased sexual activity, exposure to sexually transmitted disease, unplanned pregnancy, suicidal and violent behavior, criminal activity, injury, and death.