A Finnish study has found that teens who abuse alcohol are more likely to struggle in early adulthood. The study looked at over 3,000 twins. In each case, one twin drank to excess while the other did not.
The result was that the twin who drank more had more financial problems, poorer health and was more likely to struggle with addiction in early adulthood. The data, which was reviewed at Indiana University, shows that heavy drinking in the teenage years also meant people were more likely to have sex earlier in life, have multiple sexual partners, have a lower life satisfaction and were likely to have a lack of education.
“Very few studies that control for expected influences of shared familial experience and shared genetic liabilities on drinking outcomes have been reported," said Richard Rose, professor emeritus in psychology and brain science at Indiana University, in a statement. "While there are many published studies documenting the association of adolescent drinking with adverse adult outcomes, none of these were genetically informative or supported causal inferences."
While the root causes of these adverse outcomes are still not fully understood, it is not possible to say that teen drinking is detrimental without having to acknowledge that genetics and upbringing could also be behind negative outcomes.
Another important thing to come from this study is that teen drinkers do not have to be alcoholics to damage their future. Binge drinking or other dangerous drinking habits can have a negative impact. This impact puts teens that drink dangerously at a distinct disadvantage when compared to their more sober peers.
While the study only followed subjects into early adulthood, it is important to remember that the disadvantages cause by teen alcohol abuse may linger far past young adulthood. Even if there is no long term physical or mental damage, teens who drink too much may put themselves at a disadvantage for a lifetime.
To learn more about alcohol abuse, check out the Life Works Alcohol Knowledge Centre.