Home > Nurses' role in managing alcohol misuse among adolescents.

Kiernan, Claire and Ni Fhearail, Aislinn and Coyne, Imelda (2012) Nurses' role in managing alcohol misuse among adolescents. British Journal of Nursing, 21, (8), pp. 474-478. doi: 10.12968/bjon.2012.21.8.474.

Over the past decade, there has been an increase in the amount of alcohol consumed by young people, aged 11-17 years, in the UK and Ireland, which has implications for all health professionals caring for adolescents. Alcohol misuse is increasingly common among adolescents and is a significant concern for families, communities and society. Health professionals need to be aware of the dangers involved with underage drinking, how to recognise the signs of alcohol misuse, and how to intervene appropriately.

Over the past few years, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of adolescents presenting to emergency departments (EDs) owing to alcohol-related injuries. This increase means that all nurses and other health professionals are suitably placed to provide education and support to adolescents who are consuming excessive alcohol. Regular alcohol misuse can lead to adverse health outcomes, and therefore nurses need to take an active role in health promotion to ensure that adolescents are aware of the associated dangers.

This article summarises the harmful effects of underage drinking, the influencing factors and outlines the current guidelines on alcohol misuse in young people. It discusses strategies that nurses can use in the ED setting, and all healthcare settings, to motivate adolescents to change health-damaging behaviours.

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