Lourdes Velasco |

Madrid (EFE).- Alcohol consumption among young people between the ages of 14 and 18 has decreased slightly, but the data indicates that 41% of students have drunk a bottle in the last year and more than half have drunk alcohol in that same period, even though there are young people who prefer not to go out or stay at home to play on the Internet.

Although the data is not bad because consumption does not increase and even decreases slightly, the alcoholism expert and head of Psychiatry at Hospital 12 de Octubre, Gabriel Rubio, recalls that there are no reasons for optimism because alcohol intake in adolescence continues being a problem that, in his opinion, is too tolerated both socially and by parents.

This professor of Psychiatry at the Complutense University and an expert in alcoholism founded the InRecovery association, which works to prevent and combat the normalization of consumption, in addition to fighting against the idea “spread by alcoholics” that drinking is healthy.

The alcoholism expert and head of Psychiatry at Hospital 12 de Octubre, Gabriel Rubio, during an interview with EFE.
The alcoholism expert and head of Psychiatry at Hospital 12 de Octubre, Gabriel Rubio, during an interview with EFE. EFE/Marshal

Somewhat skeptical, this psychiatrist says that it remains to be seen if this “small decrease” in consumption is sustained over time or if they are the result of the restrictions of the pandemic, an idea that is also influenced by the psychologist specialized in addictive behaviors in adolescence Bruno Cortés, who warns that there are those who consume a lot and in the form of binge eating.

That some adolescents abstain or drink less because they have other interests such as socializing through social networks or to play a video game as well as possible does not mean, this psychologist reminds EFE, that in that age group alcohol consumption is not problematic.

In fact, the psychiatrist warns, “those who drink are drinking more and more” and also in this generation “other complex behaviors” appear.

Both the psychiatrist and psychologists consulted by EFE warn that both situations must be taken into account, because the abuse of technology and social networks entails other risks that range from lack of rest or a sedentary lifestyle to vulnerability, lack of self-esteem or the abandonment of obligations such as study or school attendance.

The data: Many binge eaters and girls who now drink more

73.9% of young people between the ages of 14 and 18 have drunk at some time in their lives and 1.6% have done so daily in the last month.

During the last 30 days, 23.2% have gotten drunk and 27.9% have drunk five or more glasses, glasses or beers of alcohol in an approximate time of 2 hours (binge drinking or binge consumption), a figure which in the last survey was higher, up to 32.3%.

Women already drink and get drunk more than men, according to the latest data from the 2021 Estudes survey, the study on addictions that the Ministry carries out every two years to find out the reality of school kids.

And despite these data, according to the doctor, adults do not pay the attention they should to their adolescent children’s alcohol consumption, which, according to what he says, is often accompanied by the consumption of other substances.

Remains of a bottle.  'Generation Z', alcohol and the Internet
Remains of a bottle. EFE/M. Lorenzo

“They do worry that they do not come intoxicated and that as a result of that intoxication they may have an unwanted pregnancy or an accident… But the consumption of alcohol itself is of little concern because they also have normalized the beer,” he says, referring to the “lie” that alcohol consumed in small doses is good.

The risks: Parents who do not set limits

In the doctor’s opinion, the “main risk” that adolescents have today is being in a family where certain behaviors are excessively normalized, such as, he says, smoking hashish, celebrating everything with alcohol or not setting limits on the use of applications or to the game on the Internet.

“Sometimes there is a lack of a family that generates structure, that sets limits, which is what any young person needs in their growth process,” says this psychiatrist, who denounces the prevalence of young people with gambling problems that exists in areas of Madrid such as Carabanchel , Villaverde or Usera as a consequence of the fact that they are the places where there are more betting houses.

New Habits: “Better” Online Socialization

Luis Martínez Rodríguez, a psychologist specialized in addictions, has worked for years in the botellones, informing the kids of the effect of alcohol with the intention that they avoid, above all, binge drinking that can lead to serious poisoning or even alcoholism. eat ethyl

This expert who also works in the development of healthy leisure for adolescents does detect that there are groups of kids who are not interested in meeting up to have a bottle and who do not have as idealized drinking as previous generations, because they see it as something that limits their abilities. , but that doesn’t mean the other pattern doesn’t exist.

The alcoholism expert and head of Psychiatry at Hospital 12 de Octubre, Gabriel Rubio, during an interview with EFE.
The alcoholism expert and head of Psychiatry at Hospital 12 de Octubre, Gabriel Rubio, during an interview with EFE. EEFE/Marshal

Martínez points out that this phenomenon has begun to appear in recent years, around 5 years, so it remains to be seen where it leads, and that is that many kids who play video games, bet online or even the healthy ones who participate in sports competitions they abstain from drinking because they don’t want drinking to affect their successes.

Sometimes, he explains, kids are less interested in socializing face to face because they interact and get to know each other through the networks. «In this context, the shy no longer need to drink to be the funniest or get close to the girls; In this case, what they need is a good background or to look good in the photos to be liked », she exemplifies.

However, and despite the fact that there are teetotalers or very occasional consumers (as there always were), experts warn about the serious risks to adolescents’ health of drinking any type of alcohol, but specifically abusive ones.

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