Teenagers can succumb to alcohol addiction just as adults do. The manner that teens drink, though, differs significantly from their older counterparts. To understand teen alcohol addiction, you need to know why teens drink and what signs your teen may exhibit to indicate that they suffer from a problem. For more information about the treatment options available for young people, contact Fort Behavioral Health today at 844.332.1807 to learn more. We also offer a female-only adolescent treatment program for young women. Read on to learn more about teen alcohol addiction and how to seek help.
Teen Drinking Patterns and How They Contribute to Addiction
When it comes to substance abuse, alcohol ranks at the top among teenagers. They use alcohol more often than marijuana or cigarettes. Also, their alcohol use tends to increase as they age. Percentages of teens who use alcohol among girls and boys do not have significant differences. Therefore, your teen girl is not exempt from underage drinking or alcohol addiction.
Teenagers do not have the same pattern of alcohol use as adults. Adolescents don’t drink as often, but much of what they consume happens through binge drinking episodes. Repeatedly binge drinking impacts the still-growing teenage brain. Teens who binge drink can experience long-term effects with cognitive impairment, attention, and memory.
The impacts on the brain can also make drinking in teens more likely to become an addiction. Teen drinking that starts before 15 can lead to a significantly greater likelihood of developing alcohol addiction in the future. However, external factors that lead teens to drink can also affect their chances of developing a dependency on alcohol and needing a substance abuse treatment program.
Reasons Why Teen Alcohol Addiction Starts
Just as teenagers have different drinking habits from adults, they also differ in their reasons for drinking. As noted, drinking alcohol in adolescence increase the chances of adult or teen alcohol addiction. The reasons that teens drink include the following:
- Fitting in/peer pressure
- Dealing with emotional pain, potentially from a traumatic event or abuse
- Socializing and partying
- Needing to handle life transitions
- Trouble coping with demands and expectations at home or school
First, teens may drink due to peer pressure and a need to fit in. When others around them start drinking, teens may feel they also need to partake to become a part of the crowd.
Secondly, experiencing emotional pain or undiagnosed mental illnesses and not having resources to handle the issue could lead to drinking. In fact, many teens with alcohol dependency or other types of substance abuse also have co-occurring problems with loneliness, depression, anxiety disorders, or low self-esteem.
Thirdly, teens may use alcohol to help them to relax in social situations. Some feel that they must drink to become socially active or to participate in social functions.
Lastly, all teenagers undergo significant life transitions from changes to their bodies and minds during puberty. However, other major upheavals in their lives, such as moving, illness, divorce, relationship problems, and the death of a family member, can make drinking or other substance use more likely as they try to find a way to ease their pain.
Signs of Teen Alcohol Addiction
If you have a teenager and wonder if they have a problem with alcohol, look for the following symptoms of addiction:
- Speech or coordination problems
- A drop in academic performance
- Changing friend groups
- Low energy levels
- Decreased interest in activities
- Smelling alcohol on the breath or clothes
While these signs don’t always indicate a problem with alcohol use, they are red flags that your teenager needs help. Consult with a program that specializes in helping teens with alcohol addiction. Your teen has hope for recovery, especially if you seek treatment as soon as possible.
Risks Associated with Teen Drinking
Many dangerous and potentially deadly risks are involved with alcohol addiction and drinking. Still, these are significantly amplified in teens who may not necessarily know how to control themselves or regulate their feelings or actions yet. Growing up is hard and comes with many difficult lessons; alcohol addiction will only add to that. Some risks associated with teen drinking include:
- Damage to reputation or social life
- New or worsening problems within the family
- Resorting to stealing or other illegal activity to get alcohol
- Suffering grades, new or worsening problems in school, or dropping out entirely
- “Blacking out” from drinking too much raises the risk of assault and makes it difficult to remember one’s own actions
- Drinking too much can result in alcohol poisoning, which can be deadly and is often not reacted to properly by teens
- Early development of severe health issues like liver cirrhosis, high blood pressure, heart disease, digestive problems, and strokes
- New or worsening anxiety or depression, which can become severe enough to start affecting one’s ability to function in daily life
- Teens who drink may be more likely to experiment with drugs
- The potential beginning of a life-long battle with addiction that will eventually affect every aspect of one’s life
There are so many things a teen should be experiencing in this phase of their young life–alcohol addiction should not be one of them. If you suspect your teen is struggling with an addiction to alcohol, please seek out help.
Get Help for Teen Addiction in TX from Fort Behavioral Health
Teen alcohol addiction disrupts the lives of the entire family. Get help for your teenager from Fort Behavioral Health. This facility provides a variety of addiction treatment options, including our female-only adolescent treatment program. Start the process of getting your teen help for alcohol addiction by phoning Fort Behavioral Health at 844.332.1807. Taking this first step toward moving your teen toward recovery could help her to avoid a future of alcohol addiction.