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Apart from the established physical and psychological problems associated with alcohol use, parents also need to be aware of the risks associated with games high school teens and young adults often indulge in while drinking. “Drinking games” as they are popularly called, make alcohol consumption the focal point and encourage young people to consume large amounts of alcohol within a short period of time while playing a game. These games contribute to high risk behaviors amongst teens including heavy drinking, binge drinking, and alcohol intoxication-induced problems.

Some popular drinking games include:

  • Beer pong: The game comprises of two teams with two or more players with 6 to 10 cups filled with beer, arranged in the form of a triangle at each end of a table. Each team takes turns to shoot a ping pong ball into the opponent team’s cups. If the ball lands in a cup, its contents are emptied by the members of the other team. The team that first succeeds in eliminating all the cups at the opponent’s side is the winner.
  • Quarters: All the participants sit in a circle around a table with an empty glass or a shot glass is placed in the middle of the table. Going clockwise, each person gets to bounce a quarter or a similar-sized coin off the table and into the glass. If the shot is successful, the shooter can ask anybody to take a sip from their glass of alcohol. The shooter can keep shooting till they miss, upon which the next player will take a shot. The game continues till participants pass out or leave the table if they have had enough alcohol. The last person remaining in the game wins.
  • Flip cup: This game comprises of two teams with equal number of players standing across each other on the opposite sides of a table. In front of each participant, there is a disposable plastic cup full of beer. After raising a toast, the flipping member of each team gulps down the entire contents of their cup. Once this is done, the empty cup is placed open side up towards the table’s edge and this player, who drank its contents, has to now flip the cup by lifting its bottom or flicking it, till the time it lands face down on the table. Once this person is done flipping the cup, the next teammate can proceed. The team that manages to finish drinking and flipping all the cups first wins.
  • Bear paw: In this game, a group of friends sit in a circle. The starting player has a cup of beer and vodka. They take a sip of beer, refill the cup with vodka and pass it on to the next player who repeats the same procedure. After some time, the cup mostly has vodka and backwash. Now, the players start moving this cup in the opposite direction and for each sip of vodka, they refill it with beer. The game continues till everyone passes out.
  • 21 for 21: This drinking game is played to celebrate a person’s 21st birthday. The person turning 21 is supposed to take 21 shots of alcohol as quickly as possible. Consuming this much alcohol in a short span of time can get very dangerous and there have been multiple reported cases of many youngsters succumbing to alcohol on their 21st birthday.
  • Power hour/Centurion: In power hour, players consume a shot of beer for every minute of an hour. The same theory applies to centurion except here the players take a shot of beer every minute for 100 minutes. While playing power hour, one can be expected to consume around 7.5 bottles of beer in an hour.
  • Blarney ball: For this game, one needs to grab a green ball of any kind and sit at a watering hole. When one is drunk enough, they are expected to throw the ball at someone’s head which can get them 100 points, at the bar mirror which can get them 1000 points, and 5000 points for hitting a cop. The person with the highest points wins the game.
  • Danger can (danger beer): In this, a group of friends sit in a circle and start circulating a beer can chanting the word danger. While chanting, each participant is supposed to smash the beer can on their head and whoever breaks the can gets to drink the contents through the laceration they made, and this person gets to be the winner.

Time and again, some drinking games become popular and become internet rages around the world. One such dangerous drinking trend is NekNomination. The game was started in Australia but soon became a sensation worldwide. This game requires a young person to indulge in daring activities while drinking and post the results on social media platforms while challenging another person to do something similar. Individuals have recorded daring activities such as speed drinking, driving while drinking, disrobing in public, taking toxic concoctions of alcohol and other substances, and many more activities.

Consumption of large volumes of alcohol in a short span of time leads to binge drinking. Binging increases the risk of developing alcohol dependence in teens which might eventually lead to an addiction.

Dangers of drinking games

Most of the drinking games tend to begin as a party progresses. By the time they begin, most of the teens have already consumed alcohol and are under mild or moderate alcohol influence. Some of them may be highly intoxicated. This impairs their decision-making ability and judgment leading to grave situations. Teens under the influence of alcohol seldom think about the consequences of their behaviors. Some of the dangers associated with binge drinking are: 

  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Liver-related diseases
  • Physical injuries, either self-sustained or as a result of aggression and violence
  • Drunk driving while endangering self and others
  • High risk sexual behaviors leading to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
  • Rape/sexual assault
  • Suicide ideation and attempts

Another problem faced by teens around the globe is social media broadcast. Under the influence of alcohol, teens tend to indulge in activities such as drunken driving, public intoxication, and rash behavior, among others, and post it online. As a consequence, many times, a teen may have to face social embarrassment due to the acts performed during intoxication.

Drinking games are also associated with bullying. Most often, teens who get defeated at such games are made fun of and are bullied by their so called “cool” peers. Participating in such games to achieve social acceptance might lead to dependence and eventually an addiction in the future.

Effects of binge drinking

Binge drinking during drinking games means consumption of large amounts (five or more drinks) of alcohol in a short span of time. It can lead to several short-term and long-term physical and/or mental health consequences in teens.

Some of the short-term effects of binge drinking are:

  • Blacking out
  • Cerebral damage
  • Unconsciousness
  • Excessive vomiting
  • Low blood pressure
  • Gagging and choking
  • Low body temperature
  • Suffocating on own vomit
  • Seizures
  • Death

Some of the long-term effects of binge drinking are:

  • Liver disorders
  • Heart ailments
  • Cancers
  • STDs
  • Strokes and paralysis
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Suicide ideation and attempts
  • Alcohol addiction

At a time when a young individual is rearing to join a college, bag a scholarship or launch their career, excessive alcohol consumption can jeopardize their hopes for a promising future.

Treatment for alcohol addiction

Alcohol addiction can be treated. However, it is impossible to keep a physical check on a teen all day long. Therefore, it is necessary for a parent or a guardian to keep a few pointers in mind to lower the chances of their wards participating in such games.

  • It is important to have a regular and open discussion with children regarding the harmful effects of alcohol consumption.
  • Plan activities that are fun which can be something as simple as a movie night to having a picnic together. Teens need to be shown that it is not necessary to consume alcohol to have fun.
  • Encourage your teens to invite their friends over for meals or parties. This way a parent can know the social circle their teen is a part of.
  • Always boost a teen’s morale as it is important for their self-esteem. Frequent criticism leads to negativity which can push them towards alcohol use.
  • In case of alcohol abuse, it is important to seek help from experts. Sometimes, only medication might not be enough, therapy and counselling may also be needed.
  • Parents need to keep track of their teen’s activities and any signs of alcohol abuse should not be neglected and must be dealt with immediately.

The 2017 National Survey of Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) report stated that 443,000 adolescents aged 12 to 17 suffered from alcohol use disorder (AUD) in the past year. It is important to ensure that at a time when an adolescent is supposed to be preparing for their upcoming life, they are not influenced by activities that might destroy their future.


Treatment for alcohol addiction at Adeona Healthcare

One of the preliminary steps of an alcohol addiction treatment program is a detox. A comprehensive detox treatment involves not just the use of essential medications but also intense behavioral therapies and round-the-clock care. A medically supervised detox program helps in flushing out the toxins from the body and behavioral therapies help a patient identify their triggers, control negative behaviors, and learn coping mechanisms to maintain their recovery.

Adeona Healthcare, a rehab center for teens aged between 12 and 17, provides comprehensive treatment programs for teens dealing with alcohol or drug addiction, mental disorders, and dual-diagnosis. In addition to medication management, we also offer therapies like solution-focused therapy (SFT), dialectical behavior therapy (BDT), and cognitive behavior therapy (CBT); and alternate therapies like art and yoga, increasing the chances of a lasting recovery. For more information about our center and the services we offer, call our 24/7 helpline 888-379-9360 or chat online with a representative.

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