Proving that no one is too young to suffer from alcoholism, Cheng Cheng, a two year old boy in China has sparked quite a bit of concern after pictures of him drinking alcohol have surfaced. The boy's parents, who are under investigation by local authorities, report that he is in fact addicted to alcohol, and that he can drink as much as a bottle of beer without any noticeable effects. This disturbing reality only showcases the dangers of alcohol consumption and the drug's severe impact on those who abuse it.
Exposed to Alcohol at a Young Age
Cheng Cheng, who now throws tantrums if his parents do not give him beer, was first given alcohol at the age of just ten months old, when his father allegedly dipped chopsticks in wine and gave them to the infant. The boy now prefers wine and beer to milk and his parents report that they try to hide alcohol from the child to no real avail. Most addiction counselors agree that given the young age at which Cheng Cheng was given alcohol and the fact that he has continued to receive increasingly large amounts of the substance, it is not at all surprising that the toddler has developed a chemical dependency.
Alcohol and Withdrawal
Cheng Cheng's tantrums are indicative of an issue that all alcohol addicts must deal with on a regular basis: withdrawal. Alcohol is a very addictive substance. When a person is addicted to alcohol, their brain develops a chemical dependency on the drug, as the brain's reward receptors become highly used to the feelings associated with using and actually rewire the brain so that if alcohol is not continually consumed, the brain will trigger what is known as withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms are among the most severe of any drug's withdrawal symptoms and may include headache, nausea, and tremors, just to name a few. Once the brain has become dependent on alcohol, it is very difficult and even inadvisable for an alcoholic to stop using without professional help. It seems highly likely that Cheng Cheng's tantrums are a result of his alcohol use and withdrawal.
Tolerance and Abuse
The fact that a child as small as Cheng Cheng can drink an entire bottle of beer without feeling an effects is also a sign that he has already developed quite a tolerance to alcohol. Tolerance occurs when the body gets used to any one substance and this requires larger and larger quantities to feel virtually the same effects. This is alarming news for a toddler, who's body weight is so little, and who has such a high tolerance. Without proper medical help, Cheng Cheng is at a high risk of continuing to consume toxic levels of this dangerous substance. As it is, Cheng Cheng will be a recovering alcoholic for his entire life, even if he stops drinking.
Most medical professionals agree that the risks of chronically consuming alcohol are much greater for children and teens than they are for adults. A child as young as Cheng Cheng is still developing in virtually every way, and drinking poses a serious threats to his neurological development. Cheng Cheng may be at risk for serious deficiencies in his processing abilities as well as his short and long term memory and his ability to regulate his emotions. The fact that Cheng Cheng's parents have allowed his health to be so jeopardized by allowing him to consume alcohol is something that has sparked quite a bit of controversy both in China and in other areas, as pictures of Cheng Cheng chugging alcohol have surfaced all over the internet.