Facts On Adolescent Binge DrinkingDefinition › What is Adolescence?

What is Adolescence?

Adolescence is the period of psychological and social transition between childhood and adulthood. This transition involves biological (i.e. pubertal) and psychological changes. Adolescence is also a cultural and social phenomenon; therefore, its endpoints are not necessarily tied to physical milestones. The word derives from the Latin verb adoare meaning "to grow up.” Adolescence is generally considered to begin somewhere between ages 12 and 14, and end at 19 or 20, with the period in between defined by dramatic changes in the body, developments in a person's psychology, and transitions through one’s academic career.

Many youth announce the onset of adolescence with a dramatic change in behavior around their parents. They start to separate from parental figures and to become more independent. At the same time, youth this age are increasingly aware of how others, especially their peers, view them, and youth desperately try to fit in amongst their social groupings.

During this period, youth often start "trying on" different looks and identities, and they become acutely aware of how they differ from their peers. This internal struggle with self-image can play out externally with episodes of distress and conflict with parents. It is essentially a time of experimentation, and often, binge drinking is part of that experimentation.