What is intoxication?

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Intoxication

Intoxication is a temporary and reversible condition that affects the central nervous system after a person ingests certain substances, such as alcohol or drugs. Intoxication affects judgment, the ability to think clearly, and behavior.

People who are intoxicated may become belligerent, aggressive (including sexually aggressive), or quiet and may not be able to perform work, family, or social responsibilities. Physical signs of intoxication include slurred speech, clumsiness, and problems with memory and attention. Some people who are intoxicated pass out. Severe intoxication can be a serious threat to health, and it can even cause death.

How can you help your teen say no to drugs and alcohol?

You can teach your teen these ways to respond if someone offers them drugs or alcohol.

  • Look the person in the eye and say "No, thanks." Sometimes that's all you need to do. Say it as many times as you need to. Also tell the person not to ask you again: "I'm cool with my decision, so don't bother me again."
  • Say why you don't want to use drugs or alcohol. Here are some examples: "I don't like how I act when I drink or use drugs," "I like to know what I'm doing," "If my parents find out, they'll take my car away," or "I have to practice with my band tomorrow."
  • Walk out. It's okay to leave a party or group where others are drinking or using drugs.
  • Offer another idea. For example, say "I'd rather play video games" or "Let's listen to some music." By doing this, you might also prevent your friend from drinking or using drugs.
  • Ask for respect. Make it clear that you don't want to drink or use drugs and that continuing to ask you is showing no respect for your opinions: "I don't give you a hard time. So why are you giving me a hard time?"
  • Think ahead. If you think you might go someplace where people are drinking or using drugs, don't go. But if you do go, think in advance about what you will do if someone offers you drugs or alcohol.

Why do teens use alcohol or drugs?

Teens may use alcohol or drugs for many reasons. They may do it because they:

  • Want to fit in with (or may be pressured by) certain friends or groups.
  • Like the way it makes them feel.
  • Believe it makes them more grown up.
  • Want to escape from their problems. For example, some teens may use drugs to try to:
    • Avoid the symptoms of mental health conditions, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or depression.
    • Ease feelings of insecurity.
    • Forget about past trauma or abuse.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.