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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Essay on Deviant Behavior

Deviant behavior is the kind of behavior that is against the norms or the expectations of the society. It is so-called a deviant behavior because the behavior tends to deviate away from the normal behavior. As a rule, the members of the society are expected to conform to the social norms and to behave in accordance with social expectations. When individuals start to deviate from what he is expected to do then deviant behavior starts. 

            While deviant behavior is an aberration, it is quite common in today’s society. In view of the complexity of the modern culture, behavior that was once considered as a taboo is now considered the norm or at least they appear to the individual to be the norm. There is some behavior that is perceived now to be more acceptable than in the past years. For instance, engaging in alcohol and drugs are considered as deviant behavior. However, because of too much exposure to individuals who are hooked into alcohol and drugs, an individual may develop the perception that using drugs and alcohol is the norm and that staying away from it is the deviant behavior. 

Use of Alcohol
            “It is better that my kid gets hooked in alcohol. At least, he is not into drugs!” This perhaps highlights the country’s problem on teenage alcoholism. The parents and the society in general think very lightly of the evils that alcohol can do to their children. They prefer their children to get addicted to alcohol instead of drugs. They have failed to realize that alcohol also has adverse effects on their children physically, emotionally and intellectually. In fact, it is at least as dangerous if not more dangerous than drugs. Alcoholism affects not only the brain but also even our emotions and feelings to the point that we cannot control them anymore. Alcoholism consumes a person until he reaches the point that he can no longer think straight and make right decisions. It also affects the body causing damage to the liver, stomach and other internal organs. It affects our relationship with people and how we communicate with our family, friends, co-workers. However, because parents and the society downplay the effects of alcohol on a person, many people, including teenagers, continue drinking in excessive amounts as if there is nothing wrong with it. 

            The numbers of teenagers who drink and who drink heavily are on the rise. According to an article published by the British Medical Association (BMA), quoted in “The Health Effects of Teen Alcohol Use”, “…there was a general rise in the proportion of eleven to fifteen year-olds who drink alcohol regularly, but also there is an increase in the amount they are drinking on each occasion” (par.1).

In a study conducted by Drug Policy Research Center on a total of 4,390 high-school seniors and dropouts, the following were the results “a) About one of every six seniors and dropouts averaged at least one alcoholic drink every other day; b) More than a quarter of those surveyed experienced a drinking-related problem (e.g., missing school, feeling really sick) on at least three occasions during the previous year--or a more serious problem (e.g., a fight, an arrest) at least once; and c) The same proportion engaged in two or more high-risk drinking activities (e.g., combining alcohol with other drugs, getting drunk) on multiple occasions during the previous year” (Teenage Alcohol Misuse, 1998 par.3).  

            In addition, according to a 2004 study conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention about seventy-five percent of high school students have tried alcohol. Twenty-eight percent of these have had a recent episode of heavy drinking, which are more than five drinks within a couple of hours. 

            It is very alarming that most teenagers nowadays are into alcohol. What is more alarming is that most of these teenagers are completely unaware of the harmful effects of taking alcohol in their body. It must be stressed that excessive alcohol drinking can lead to serious health problems such as depression, liver problems, and heart failure and permanent damage to the person’s brain and nervous system. According to Dr. John Nelson of the American Medical Association (2002), “there is scientific evidence that may prove that even modest alcohol consumption in late childhood and adolescence can result in permanent brain damage” (Psychological Effects of Alcohol on Teenagers).

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            Aside from health issues, excessive consumption of alcohol also increases the possibility of violent behavior and victimization. Alcoholic teenagers are more likely to commit crime or be a victim of a serious crime. As a teenager gets intoxicated, he becomes more prone to engaging in violent behavior such as gang wars or fights. Since an intoxicated individual loses his inhibition and self-control, he may end up doing something that he may regret afterwards. She may also be a victim of sexual assault, harassment or rape.

Driving while under the influence of alcohol increases the likelihood that the teenager may meet accident while on the road. In a number of accidents which happen along the road, one will be surprised according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the youths are most often involved in alcohol related driving accidents (“Underage Drinking”, p.1). Statistics shows that although young drivers make up only fourteen percent of the US Population, youths aged sixteen to twenty four have been involved in twenty eight percent of the alcohol-related driving accidents (“Underage Drinking”, p.1).

            A drunken teenager is also more likely to engage in risky sexual behavior. She is also very vulnerable to coercive sexual activity such as gang rapes or sexual assault. When this happens, it is very likely that he or she may acquire sexually transmitted diseases.

            It is also worth noting that teenagers who are addicted to alcohol are more likely to be depressed and thus commit suicide. Some teenagers who are depressed and suffer from anxiety think that alcohol will help them find a solution to their problem. After taking it for so many times, they will only find out that their mental and emotional problems will not go away merely by drinking alcohol. They eventually feel that committing suicide will be the final solution to this problem. Although the cause and effect relation between suicidal tendencies and alcoholism has not yet been proven, studies have found that alcoholism and suicidal behavior are associated with each other. 

In the past, use of drugs is considered a taboo. Until now, use of drugs is still outlawed but for some individuals the use of drugs is part of their lifestyle. Drug abuse is widely regarded as one of the most serious health problems in our country today. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental health Services Administration (SAMHSA, 2002) “an estimated 13.6 million Americans were current users of illicit drugs in 1998, meaning they used an illicit drug at least once during the thirty days prior to the interview (Robert A. Trevino, p.1). This represents 6.2 percent of the population twelve years old and older. An estimated 1.8 million (0.8 percent) Americans aged twelve and older were current users of cocaine in 1998 and an estimated 4.1 million people met diagnostic criteria for dependence on illicit drugs in 1998, including 1.1 million youths aged twelve to seventeen” (Roberto A. Trevino,  p.1).

            The drug problem is not confined merely to the students but even to professional athletes. Professional athletes use drugs to enhance their performance during competitions, tournament and major sporting events. The use of prohibited drugs, or steroids, to enhance performance continues to happen until today. In fact, the demand for steroids even increased nowadays in view of the commercialism in the world of sports. It can no longer be denied that sports have evolved in today’s generation. Sports are no longer expressions of passion for some athletes but they have become big businesses not only for athletes who dream of earning fat paychecks but even for advertisers and multinational companies seeking to advertise their products. Because of the amount of money involved high-profile athletes have started using steroids for the purpose of ensuring their success in competition. Recently, a fighter was discovered to have used performance-enhancing drugs before his fight with Anderson Silva. 

However, nowadays high profile athletes are not the only ones drawn to the use of steroids. Recently, there has been a reported increase in the use of steroids even among the youth. According to a 1988 study, it found that 6.6percent of twelfths grade students had used or were using anabolic steroids. This represents an estimated number of 250,000 to 500,000 adolescent youths who are into the use of anabolic steroids. This is confirmed by other studies saying that self-reported use of anabolic steroids in adolescents range from five percent to eleven percent of males and up to 2.5percent of females (Adolescents and Anabolic Steroids: A Subject Review, 905). 

Use of alcohol and drugs are still considered deviant behavior in today’s standards. However, many individuals are drawn to them for various reasons. In order to help the victims of alcohol and drugs to stay away from its use it is essential that they be informed of its harmful effects on their body and on their future.

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