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What is Teenage Alcoholism?

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Author: Thomas Roth

Last Updated: 2/07/2022

Teenage alcoholism occurs when teenagers become dependent on alcohol consumption. A teenager is someone who is under the age of 20 years old but teenage alcoholism typically refers to teenagers between ages 15 and 18. These years are when it’s more likely for teenagers to begin drinking, binge drinking, and abusing alcohol.

What are the Causes of Teenage Alcoholism?

The causes of teenage alcoholism vary but some common patterns include pressure from peers, mental health disorders, and parents who consume large quantities of alcohol. These are only a few of the most common reasons but here are some other causes of teenage alcoholism.

  • Peer pressure
  • Coping with emotional trauma
  • To help teenagers feel older and more mature
  • To be rebellious
  • Mental health disorders
  • Parents who consume alcohol
  • Being around alcohol constantly
  • Having alcoholism run in the family

These are only a handful of factors that contribute to alcoholism causes. Teenage alcoholism can also be caused by other things or a combination of the factors listed above.

Does Alcoholism in Young People Have a Relevance to Envy?

Yes, in some cases teenagers become envious of adults that consume alcohol to have a good time. Feelings of envy in these situations cause teenagers to drink because it makes them feel more mature and like other adults. Teenagers can also be envious of their peers and these emotions can lead to alcohol consumption developing as a coping mechanism.

What are the Warning Signs of Teenage Alcoholism?

There are many warning signs of teenage alcoholism but some of the most common include emotional issues, isolation, and finding alcohol in their dwelling.

Some other warning signs of teenage alcoholism include:

  • Breath that smells like alcohol
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Slurred speech
  • Fatigue
  • A decline in hygiene
  • Alcohol tolerance
  • Declining grades in school
  • A new social group
  • Mental health issues like anxiety and depression
  • Mood swings

Teenagers have brains that are still developing, so warning signs vary greatly depending on the teenager. Some teenagers may display a few of these warning signs, while others might show them all.

What are the Risks and Harms of Teenage Drinking?

The risks and harms of teenage drinking vary but it causes a lot of problems for teenagers and their families. Teenage drinking can cause teenagers to perform poorly in school, lashing out against parents, and developmental health disorders like depression. Because teenagers have brains that are developing, alcoholism can even damage a teenager’s brain development.

Does Alcohol Affect Teens’ Development?

Yes, alcohol affects teens’ development. Alcohol damages the body and interacts with the brain and other organs. This can cause damage to liver tissues and even cause teenagers to have growth problems. Puberty and other natural processes can be altered with frequent alcohol abuse. Alcohol can also cause a teenager’s athletic abilities to decline because of fatigue, dehydration, and inadequate muscle recovery. In some cases, alcohol abuse also leads to poor hygiene.

Does Alcohol Affect Teens’ Brains?

Yes, alcohol affects a teen’s brain development. Alcohol can damage structures of the brain like the hippocampus, which is responsible for memory. When teenagers abuse alcohol and damage this part of their developing brain, it causes issues with memory, attention, focus, and even personality disorders. When alcohol is abused in large quantities the damage can be permanent.

Does Underage Drinking Cause Death?

Yes, underage drinking leads to death. Teenagers have less alcohol tolerance than adults and alcohol is particularly dangerous at young ages. When teenagers abuse alcohol at a young age it can lead to alcohol poisoning, which is a fatal condition if blood alcohol concentration (BAC) gets too high. Teenagers are also more likely to binge drink, which increases the risk of alcohol poisoning and poor decision-making that can increase the risk of death.

What are the Statistics About Underage Drinking?

There are statistics about underage drinking that reflect how much of a problem it has become. Some statistics provide percentages for death, drinking and driving, binge drinking, and other alcohol-related issues.

Some noteworthy statistics about underage drinking include:

  • 24.6% of Teenagers between the ages of 14 and 15 reported having an alcoholic beverage (2019)
  • 7 million teenagers admitted to consuming more than just a sip of alcohol in the past month (2019)
  • 4.2 million teenagers reported binge drinking behaviors
  • Over 800,000 teens have admitted to binge drinking more than 5 times in one month
  • Underage drinking caused 3,500 deaths and over 200,000 years of potential life lost in 2010
  • Female high school students are more likely to binge drink than male students. While this used to be the opposite, females became more active drinkers in 2019
  • 10% of 8th-grade students admitted to drinking in a study conducted by the University of Michigan
  • 29% of seniors in high school reported drinking alcohol in the last 30 days

While some of these statistics have improved and continue to improve, there is still a major problem with teenage drinking. In fact, 2% of people aged between 12 and 13 years reported drinking alcohol.

What are the Prevention Methods of Teenage Alcoholism?

The best prevention methods of teenage alcoholism include limiting the amount of alcohol in a home and participating in family activities that aren’t centered around drinking. Building and maintaining a strong relationship with teenagers is a great way to monitor their behavior while teaching them about good habits and ways to have fun without alcohol consumption. Parents can also evaluate friends that their child is hanging around with to see if they’re a bad influence. While convincing a child to ditch their friends is next to impossible, it can remove the peer pressure element from teenage drinking. Parents should also be aware of the warning signs and intervene when necessary.

What is the Role of Parents in Teenage Alcoholism?

Parents play a role in teenage alcoholism when providing a teenager with alcoholic beverages or by drinking around a teenager. To prevent teenagers from developing alcohol abuse disorder, parents should only drink responsibly around teenagers because it sets a good example. If teenagers are already alcoholics, parents should remove alcohol from the home and have a conversation with them. When conversations fail, parents can resort to rehabilitation programs for teenagers.

Should You Let Your Teenager Drink Alcohol?

No, you shouldn’t let your teenager drink alcohol. More than a dozen studies confirm that teenagers who have strict rules around alcohol consumption are less likely to develop alcoholism. Based on this evidence, parents should not encourage teenagers to consume alcohol, even at home.

How to Help an Alcoholic Teen?

To help an alcoholic teen there are a few methods you can try. While having them attend outpatient counseling sessions is one of the best ways to help, there are things that parents can do at home to help. Parents of alcoholic teens can have an intervention where they address the problem. Interventions are an abrupt way to handle the problem but they’re effective if alcoholism is caught early enough.

Parents can also limit a teenager’s access to alcohol. Another good method is to remove alcohol from the home, which also sets a good example for the teenager to follow. The last method is to check a teenager into inpatient rehab or medically-assisted detox. These decisions should only be made after consulting with a medical professional or addiction counselor.