A major issue in the UK at the moment is underage drinking. Many youngsters are displaying a number of worrying symptoms that point to alcohol abuse, which is starting at an ever-earlier age. The problem for teens is that as their brains and bodies are still developing, they become increasingly vulnerable to the harmful effects of alcohol. Research has highlighted that the earlier a person begins to drink alcohol, the more likely it is that he or she will develop an alcohol addiction in later life.

Confidence Boost

However, underage drinking does not just affect teenagers in the UK; it is a problem for youngsters in many countries across the world. One woman who knows the hazardous effects of teenage drinking is Sydney newsreader Talitha Cummins, who started binge drinking at the age of fourteen. When asked about it, she said that it gave her a confidence boost, which is why she kept going back for more. This carried on into her adult life and working career. By day, Talitha was a well-known and respected newsreader, but behind closed doors, she would drink alcohol to the point of passing out.

Speaking to the Daily Mail Australia, she said, “When I had my very first drink I was a shy, introverted girl, but when I got drunk my world lit up.”

Stereotypical Alcoholic

Talitha was in denial about her alcoholism for so long because of the stigma that surrounds addiction. She was worried that by speaking out, she would lose her job. Along with her devastating addiction, she was suffering from serious depression and attempted suicide by overdose, but a friend rescued her.

She added that there is a typical stereotype of an alcoholic, usually depicted as a homeless man drinking from a bottle wrapped in a paper bag in the streets. However, this label does not just apply to this type of person; it can affect absolutely anyone. By highlighting that alcoholism can affect anyone and at any time during their life, she is hoping to encourage others suffering from addiction to speak out publicly as well.

Mental Health and Alcohol

Frequent, heavy drinking can interfere with neurotransmitters in the brain; healthy neurotransmitters are essential for a sound state of mind and good mental health. This is why feelings of depression, anxiety and even suicidal thoughts can develop when suffering from an alcohol addiction, the same thing that happened to Talitha.

As an alcoholic, you can face a host of shattered relationships with the people closest to you, including family, friends and even a partner. This can lead to many issues, on both a personal and working level. It could lead, for example, to decreased performance at work, which, if continued, might result in dismissal. Losing your job can have obvious financial consequences and put a strain on not only yourself but on your loved ones as well. These issues can play a massive part in developing mental health problems such as anxiety or depression; as a result, you could find that you’re abusing alcohol more and more to try and pick yourself up, leading to the classic Cath-22 of drinking to feel better, but the alcohol causing even more issues.

Staying in Control

Many individuals find themselves trapped in a vicious cycle of drinking to make them feel better, often wondering how they will ever get their lives back on track.

Trying to stay within the recommended daily alcohol guidelines of 14 units per week will be a great first step to keeping your drinking under control. Many people try to keep track of what they’re drinking by either writing in a diary or even online. Often, this can have the effect of shocking them into drinking less when they realise the extent of their current alcohol intake. But it is also advisable to try to have a break from alcohol as well. Many experts recommend taking regular days off from alcohol to minimise the risks of, among other things, addiction.

If you feel as though you are struggling with alcohol, do not hesitate to get in touch with us here at Recovery Lighthouse. We can offer you advice, information and guidance on alcohol abuse, addiction, and treatment options.

Source: ‘When I got drunk my world lit up’: Sunrise newsreader Talitha Cummins says she turned to alcohol because it made her feel ‘more confident and funny’ (Daily Mail)