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Underage Drinking: The Reasons Behind Why It May Commonly Occur

Underage drinking has been a serious, increasing issue over the past few years.  An estimate of 72% of teenagers have consumed alcohol by the time they graduate high school.  It can be difficult to prevent underage drinking, but understanding why it happens can help stop the frequency of it occurring.  There are various reasons why underage drinking occurs, even in spite of the potentially life-threatening short and long-term consequences.

Reasons for Underage Drinking


The risk of getting caught can be enough to get the adrenaline going in anyone, especially if they are under 21.  Teens who are learning about drugs and alcohol in school may find excitement in doing something they were told not to do.  Another important aspect to notice is that teenagers are still developing both physically and mentally, which has been noted to result in impulsive and rash choices, like dabbling in the abuse of alcohol, for example.


If under the impression that alcohol is meant to make them feel good, a teenager or even child may just be more inclined to experiment with drinking and see what they think about it for themselves.  The likelihood of someone under 21 years of age to drink may also be increased if there is a history of alcohol abuse or addiction in their family.  Because it could be genetically-related or learned through observed behaviors, teenagers can easily adopt their parents’ habits.  They may turn to underage drinking if they have noticed some alcoholic patterns in their family.

Mental history

Some people are more prone to drinking alcohol before the legal age because of their mental health.  Children that grew up displaying behaviors of rage, hyperactivity, anxiety, and depression are more known to act out through their development, including partaking in underage drinking.  They may use the act of drinking alcohol as a temporary fix to relieve them of their mental distress.

Easily accessible

In some cases, underage drinking can occur simply because alcohol is present in the home.  If a teen becomes curious and the alcohol is conveniently located in their living vicinity, the temptation may grow to be strong.  It may also be a sign of rebellion and acting out on the desire to have control.

Peer pressure

Whether it is direct or indirect, peer pressure can occur with friends, family, classmates – anyone really.  It has been one of the more common reasons why underage drinking occurs.  Peer pressure can come in many sneaky forms.  Sometimes just the assumption that people are doing something can be enough for another person to feel obligated to do it as well.  Even if just joking around, friends can unintentionally spark a response of peer pressure to one another.  During teenage years it can be very tricky to avoid being influenced by others because most people want to be liked and fit in around this time.  They may want this so badly that they transform themselves accordingly, even if that means fooling around with substances like alcohol.


Believe it or not, even being at such a young age, stress can present itself to an extreme degree.  High school can be stressful for a teenager because they may also be working, trying to make or keep friends, do well in school, and then they have to figure out what colleges to apply to and decide what they want their major to be.  These stresses may be magnified because these are typically the first major decisions that they will be making going into adulthood.  So naturally, with normal stressors like these, they may turn to some form of relief and find it in underage drinking.

There are many reasons why underage drinking occurs.  Unfortunately, people who begin drinking at a young age are more likely to develop an unhealthy relationship with alcohol and in some cases alcoholism.  The best measures to take in order to prevent underage drinking, is to help children and teens understand the detrimental consequences that can come along with the abuse of alcohol, as well as reach out to them to assist with the reasons they may feel compelled to drink alcohol.

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