Excessive alcohol use is so prevalent among British youth that some experts are now warning of an explosion of liver disease among those under the age of 24. Addaction, a well-known addiction charity, says it has noticed a striking increase in the number of young people being referred to them for alcohol addiction. How striking? Try an increase of 76%. The numbers clearly show we have a drinking problem in Britain that is not getting any better.
Some experts say part of the rise in excessive drinking is due to the wildly popular drinking game known as ‘neknominate’. It is an online game requiring participants to consume one pint of alcohol in a single gulp while recording a video that they then post online. The game has led to a number of deaths by way of alcohol poisoning.
Whether or not the game really is contributing to a spike in youth drinking rates, kids really need to understand what alcohol consumption is doing to their bodies. Long before addiction ever sets in, alcohol is poisoning the liver and reducing its function. Episodes of binge drinking only make the problem more severe as time progresses. It is no coincidence that chronic alcoholics frequently die of liver disease because they do not seek help for their problem.
Alcoholic Liver Disease
The most common form of liver disease associated with long-term alcohol abuse is a type of cirrhosis known as alcohol liver disease (ALD). The disease is caused by the damage alcohol does to the liver by way of blocking the normal metabolism of fats, carbohydrates and proteins. That damage causes scarring of the liver, which eventually leads to cirrhosis.
As scar tissue builds over time, the ability of the liver to function is reduced until complete failure results. ALD cirrhosis is a painful and irreversible condition that is only treatable through a liver transplant. Once an alcoholic develops it, continued drinking increases the chances of total liver failure and eventual death.
What the experts are so concerned about is how liver disease may begin in young people as a result of excessive binge drinking. They are especially concerned about teenagers, whose bodies are still developing and growing. Excessive drinking could be harming their livers to a greater degree than would be expected among adults. If their concerns are correct, young people could be at a greater risk of advanced liver disease than their adult counterparts are.
Get Help to Stop
A rather alarming survey from ITV suggests that 10% of all British youth consumed alcohol to the point of drunkenness at least twice a week. Some 75% of the survey respondents told ITV they drink solely for the purpose of getting drunk. Much of this happens on the weekends, when young people go out to enjoy partying with their friends.
The important thing kids need to understand is that they are not invincible. ITV says that once a month, at least one person under the age of 20 dies in Britain as a result of alcohol poisoning. Countless numbers of others begin down the road of alcohol addiction after one too many while partying with friends. Let’s face it; the tragic numbers do not lie.
If you are a young person reading this, the time for you to get help for your alcohol problem is right now. No good can come of continued binge drinking that could potentially lead to liver failure, alcohol poisoning, or a lifetime of dealing with alcoholism. Getting drunk may be fun in your youth, but it could very well ruin the rest of your life. It is not worth it.