Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria
Print version ISSN 1516-4446
PECHANSKY, Flavio; SZOBOT, Claudia Maciel and SCIVOLETTO, Sandra. Alcohol use among adolescents: concepts, epidemiological characteristics and etiopatogenic factors. Rev. Bras. Psiquiatr. [online]. 2004, vol.26, suppl.1, pp. 14-17. ISSN 1516-4446. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1516-44462004000500005.
Alcohol is the most consumed substance among young people, and the onset of its use is starting at an earlier age, raising the risks of future dependence. The use of alcohol in adolescence is associated with a series of risk behaviors, besides raising the risk of involvement in accidents, sexual violence, and participating in gangs. Alcohol use by adolescents is strongly associated with violent death, poor academic performance, learning difficulties and damage in the development and structuring of cognitive-behavioral and emotional abilities. Alcohol consumption causes neurochemical modifications, with damage in memory, learning and impulse control. Professionals who deal with adolescents must be prepared for a thorough evaluation regarding the possible abusive use or dependence of alcohol in this age group. However, it is important to emphasize that the criteria utilized by some diagnostic tools for abuse and dependence were developed for adults, and must be applied with caution in adolescents. Thus, it is fundamental that these professionals be aware of the characteristics and peculiarities of adolescence and chemical dependence in this age-group.
Keywords : Alcoholic beverages; Teen health; Substance-related disorders; Substance abuse.