Alcohol use in teens is a problem of epidemic proportions. Though it doesn’t typically receive as much media coverage as other types of substance use disorders, the presence of alcohol addiction signs in teens can set up a whole generation for significant issues in the future.
How Common Is Alcohol Addiction In Teens?
You might be surprised to learn that alcohol addiction signs in teens are common. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), almost 60 percent of teens have had at least one alcoholic beverage by their 18th birthday. The organization also estimates that people aged 12 to 20 consume about 11 percent of all alcoholic drinks in the United States.
Consequences Of Alcohol Addiction In Teens
Like adults, alcohol addiction signs in teens can have serious consequences that lead to illness, injury, and even death. While teens and adults have many of the same, or similar, outcomes of alcohol addiction, there are significant differences that they cannot avoid.
Interferes With Development
There’s a reason why the legal age for the consumption of alcohol is 21 years old in the United States. Up until that time, young adults and teens still have developing brains. Their lack of real-world experience exacerbates this problem.
Teens who drink alcohol experience problems reaching their academic potential. The individual’s central nervous system development might also be compromised. Abstaining from alcohol in the future might not correct significant brain development.
Can Lead To Risk and Further Abuse
Teens who abuse alcohol might be at an increased risk of by sexually and/or physically assaulted. Also, an individual who uses alcohol at an early age could be more likely to experience other types of drug abuse and/or use. A teen that starts displaying signs of alcohol abuse when they are 15 is more likely to have alcohol use disorder when they are older.
Legal Issues Might Be Present
Teens who display alcohol addiction signs and who get into legal trouble might find that these follow them to adulthood.
6 Alcohol Addiction Signs In Teens
Alcohol addiction signs in teens differ from those seen in adults.
- Change in their friend group
- Rebelliousness increases
- Daily hygiene declines
- Mood changes such as irritability, depression, and anger
- School problems such as low grades, incomplete work, and behavioral issues
- Slurred speech, silly behavior, lack of coordination, and other physical signs
Risk Factors That Can Lead to Alcohol Addiction Signs In Teens
Education, support, and lack of access are some key components that can help prevent teens from turning to alcohol. Of course, no teen can be watched and protected 24/7. However, the following are just a few risk factors that you should be aware of:
Alcohol Use Or Addiction In the Family
A teen who grows up with alcohol use and abuse as the norm is likely to follow that pattern themselves. Besides this, there is a genetic component to alcoholism that you should not ignore.
Availability Of Alcohol
A home that has alcohol that teens can access can contribute to their use of the substance. If alcohol is readily available, teens are more likely to experiment with it.
Many people — teens and adults — who struggle with a substance use disorder also must contend with a mental health condition. It is not unusual for a person to use alcohol as a way to combat anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues.
Promises Behavioral Health is committed to helping individuals across the United States address their addictions. If you have concerns that your teen is displaying signs of alcohol use, please contact us at 844.875.5609 so we can help.