Abu Dhabi, UAE: Doctors warn illicit use of alcohol by youths can damage their physical health and mental well-being.
Dr Magdi Mohamed, a consultant in emergency medicine and clinical head of Burjeel Hospital’s accident and emergency department, says: “Alcohol affects the central nervous system, mainly, such as the cognitive function of the brain.”
It can also cause digestive problems like gastric ulcers and long-term abuse of alcohol can lead to liver cirrhosis, he warns.
Sanet Meyer, director of the accident and emergency department at Burjeel, says most minors with alcohol poisoning are sent to government hospitals.
Police will only step in if the minor was involved in a drink-drive crash or a drunken fight.
Ms Meyer says that hospital policy demands that a drunken minor is automatically reported to their parents.
She believes youths who were drunk were often not taken to hospital for fear of legal consequences.
According to Drink Aware in the UK, leaving someone to sleep off alcohol can do more harm than good – particularly if the person is experiencing acute alcohol poisoning, which can be difficult to spot.
Ms Meyer believes many youths were aware of the effects of alcohol, but ignore the warnings.
“Teenagers will test every system in ways they can find, whether it is drug or alcohol intoxication,” she says.
Justin Thomas, an associate professor of psychology at Zayed University, says factors turning people to drink vary.
“Personality is one. Some people are just more impulsive and like to take risks,” he says. “Similarly, some people are more emotionally reactive and drink and drugs become forms of self medication in the absence of more meaningful support and guidance.”
However, a problematic side-effect with alcohol – especially with minors – is it can remove inhibitions in social situations, says Dr Thomas, which can put them at risk.
But peer pressure means many all too often are in situations where they can, and will, drink.
“Prevention has to involve promoting role models who don’t engage in drink and drugs,” says Dr Thomas.
© The NationalApr 2016