Author: James Anderson

Get the Facts About Underage Drinking National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism NIAAA

Teenage Alcohol Abuse

There are some situations that will require further intervention, such as outpatient and, potentially, inpatient substance abuse treatment should the situation call for it. There are other, more obvious signs that a teen is abusing alcohol. These could include the presence of alcohol or empty alcohol containers among a teen’s belongings.

Teenage Alcohol Abuse

Other studies have shown that alcohol use tends to increase with age during adolescence, with older teens more likely to drink and engage in heavy or binge drinking. Thus, as a parent or a loved one of a young person, we want you to know more about teen alcohol abuse and underage drinking. Before illuminating the problem of teen binge drinking, going into the risk factors for teenage alcohol abuse, and then detailing the signs of teen drinking, you need to know the statistics.

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Since they know they’re not allowed to drink, teen alcohol abuse tends to be wrapped in a thick layer of secrecy. Drunk teens often end up fighting for no apparent reason at all, and they use whatever weapons happen to be available, including guns, knives, and broken bottles. Overall, the prognosis for alcoholism can be positive with early intervention, effective treatment, and ongoing support. It is important for individuals with alcoholism to seek help and work with healthcare professionals and loved ones to develop a personalized treatment plan that meets their unique needs and goals.

  1. According to the NIAAA, the definition of teen binge drinking is 5 or more drinks for males and 4 or more drinks for females on the same occasion within a few hours.
  2. Indeed, teen alcohol abuse statistics are downright frightening and extremely tragic.
  3. Thus, understanding and comprehending the extent of the problem of teen drinking and alcohol abuse in teens is essential.
  4. Indeed, there is a reason why underage drinking accounts for 11 percent of all the alcohol consumed in the United States.

In adults, drinking alcohol impairs decision-making and impulse control, and can lead to a range of negative consequences. For adolescents, drinking alcohol can make it even more difficult to control impulses and make healthy choices. In both adolescents and adults, drinking also compromises the ability to sense danger by disrupting the function of a brain region called the amygdala. Alcohol often produces rewarding feelings such as euphoria or pleasure that trick the brain into thinking the decision to drink alcohol was a positive one and that motivate drinking again in the future. The simple truth is that teens binge drink because they want to get drunk. Given the difficulty in obtaining alcohol for teens and finding a place to consume it, binge drinking helps get the job done quickly.

What are the symptoms of alcohol intoxication and alcohol abuse?

Either directly or indirectly, we all feel the effects of the aggressive behavior, property damage, injuries, violence, and deaths that can result from underage drinking. This is not simply a problem for some families—it is a nationwide concern. Teenagers who are abusing alcohol may also show alcohol withdrawal symptoms when they aren’t drinking, or they may find that they need to drink more and more to achieve the same effects. In addition, they may drink to the point of putting themselves in danger, such as becoming drunk and then driving home. Parents need to understand the grim consequences of alcohol poisoning and recognize this severe and potentially fatal reaction to an alcohol overdose. By knowing the signs of alcohol poisoning, you can take the actions needed to save your teen’s life.

Thus, as a parent, you want to catch a problem before it becomes a problem that requires treatment. Indeed, there is a reason why underage drinking accounts for 11 percent of all the alcohol consumed in the United States. In a 2015 study, 7.7 million young people (ages 12–20) reported that they drank alcohol beyond “just a few sips” in the past month. Given these statistics, it becomes clear that teen alcohol abuse is a serious gateway to additional problems and substantial threats. Moreover, the teens that are drinking are not just taking a sip here and there. Hence, many teens are doing a lot more than sneaking an occasional beer at a sporting event.

Some research indicates that psychiatric medications like lithium (Lithobid), fluoxetine (Prozac), and sertraline (Zoloft) may be useful in decreasing alcohol use in teens who have another mental health disorder in addition to alcohol abuse. Ondansetron (Zofran) may reduce alcohol cravings in people whose problem drinking began before they were 25 years old. Binge drinking is dangerous regardless of a person’s age, but the effects of alcohol on teens can be especially devastating. Teens who drink are at risk of a number of negative outcomes, ranging from brain damage to death. Having easy access to alcohol can contribute to underage drinking. In a national survey, 54% of 8th graders, 71% of 10th graders and 86% of 12th graders reported that it would be fairly or very easy for them to obtain alcohol.

Teenage Alcohol Abuse

Adolescents are particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of alcohol due to their developing brains and bodies. As adolescents mature, they undergo complex developmental changes, especially in their brains. The widespread changes in the organization and functioning of the brain—which continue into a person’s mid-20s—bring about the cognitive, emotional, and social skills necessary for adolescents to survive and thrive.

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Given the extent of the health consequences, including the dangers of alcohol poisoning, such a reaction is a tragedy waiting to happen. As a result, you also need to know the warning signs of underage drinking. As a parent, by knowing what behaviors raise a red flag, your awareness of teen drinking will increase.

The nature of these rapid changes may also increase the adolescent brain’s vulnerability to alcohol exposure. Read about the mental health challenges facing teenagers at Healthline and Psych Central’s Youth In Focus series, which shares useful tips, resources, and support. Formerly known as alcoholism, alcohol use disorder (AUD) can affect people of all ages. Underage alcohol consumption is common in the United States and can have harmful outcomes. A comprehensive approach that includes effective policy strategies can prevent underage drinking and related harms.

Indeed, teen alcohol abuse also opens the door to adult predators and the criminal element. Unfortunately, such poor decisions often have fatal consequences. Perhaps no action proves this more than the all too common combination of underage drinking and teen drunk driving and its harmful effects. For youth in the first stage of alcohol use (having access but not having yet used alcohol), preventive measures are used.

Thus, teen alcohol abuse impairs judgment, leading to young people saying and doing things that they will later regret. In truth, teen drinking beyond “just a few sips” is a perfect example of teens downplaying the stark reality of the teenage alcohol abuse crisis. Signs of teenage alcohol abuse can include problems at school or at home. According to experts, teens who engage in underage drinking may act rebelliously or begin spending time with new groups of friends. They may also demonstrate mood swings and be irritable and angry.