Managing Your Alcoholic Brain; Are You Impulsive or Anxiety-Prone?
When it comes to the word “alcoholism” most simply think of a person that drinks a lot with an inability to stop themselves. Whatever their motives, this is generally the perception.
According to the National Council on Alcoholism, 17.6 million people in the U.S. suffer from alcohol abuse. That’s one in every 12. Most likely you know of someone who you would at least casually label an alcoholic, or you know someone who does. That fact alone is alarming, especially when you add our children into that context.
How many kids at their school use alcohol? If our children aren’t drinking, chances are they at least know someone who is. This isn’t something we can ignore and hope they’ll learn to be responsible on their own by the time they’re 21.
It’s just not that simple.
Two Types of Alcoholics
A new study suggests that there are two types of alcoholic brains, Type I which is anxiety-prone, and Type II which is more impulsive.
Why does this matter? Because who our children are can determine the type of alcoholic they would become. Understanding this risk empowers us to approach the subject from the right angle in increases the chance they’ll listen.
According to the study, type I alcoholics can be either male or female and tends to come on later in life, but only after years of heavy drinking. It requires both a genetic predisposition to addiction as well as environmental.
Type II, however, occurs mainly in the sons of fathers who are alcoholics. These require almost nothing environmental and can hit early in life, such as around adolescence.
By examining these two types, a parent can examine their own life and environment and determine if their child is at risk. If so, it’s never too early to start the conversation.
Talking to Teens About Alcohol
It can be a difficult thing to talk to our kids about the dangers of the real world. Drugs, sex, and alcohol are all things we hope could wait until they’re adults, and conveniently wave a magic wand to grant them all the knowledge and wisdom they need. We need to talk to them, no matter how uncomfortable it may be.
Here are some tips to prepare you, but there are resources available for parents looking for a more in-depth conversation.
Always at the top of my list. Talk with them often. When talking about little things is easy, it makes talking about the big things that much easier.
2. Be on their side.
It’s not a parent vs children situation. Make sure they know you care about what happens to them, and try to get across that this is a real danger. You’re not just trying to ruin their fun.
3. Create consequences.
Just like any rule, make sure they understand how you feel, the rules regarding alcohol, and the consequences for breaking those rules. Children that have well-defined boundaries are more prone to respect them.