The Dangers Of Teen Drinking

Underage drinking in teens and young adults is a serious problem. Maybe you are a teenager yourself, the parent of a teen, or have a sibling who is a teen drinker. There are many dangers of teen drinking and the situation should not be taken lightly. Underage drinking is when anyone under the legal drinking age of 21 chooses to drink.

As a friend, sibling, or a parent, you need to seek help now if you or a loved one has an alcohol addiction. If a teen is expressing interest in underage drinking, you should also seek help. Remember, underage drinking is against the law and it’s best to seek help right away.

Facts You Need To Know

Consuming alcohol at any age can pose risks to your health and safety. An adolescent’s brain does not fully develop until at least 25 years of age, though some fully develop a little before or after this age. Consuming alcohol at an early age will have devastating consequences for their developing brain. Young adults do not have fully developed brains, which might help explain why they may engage in riskier behaviors and might not think through their actions as an adult would. Here are some facts you need to know regarding teen drinking:

  • Young people in America aged 12-20 drink 11% of the alcohol consumed in the United States.
  • Teens and young adults may drink less frequently than adults, but when they drink, they drink more. This is called binge drinking and teens and young adults consume 90% of their alcohol this way, which is extremely dangerous and could be deadly.
  • 5.4 million young adults aged 12-20 binge drink.
  • In 2013, 8.7 million Americans aged 12-20 reported they drank “more than a few sips” within the last month.
  • There were 190,000 emergency room visits by teens under 21 in 2010 alone due to injuries linked to alcohol or alcohol misuse.
  • The top 3 leading causes of death for those aged 15 through 24 are homicides, suicides, and car crashes (all 3 involve alcohol and it is a leading factor in these deaths).
  • Alcohol consumption increases with age. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported in 2011 that 2% of youths drink at age 12, 21% at 16, and 55% of youths drink at age 20.
  • Approximately 4,358 young adults under 21 die each year due to alcohol related incidents (car crashes, homicides, suicides, falling, drowning, and alcohol poisoning among others).

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The Signs Of Alcohol Abuse

If you suspect your teenager is drinking or has an alcohol addiction, there are signs to watch out for. Below are some signs that may indicate your teenager is abusing alcohol:

  • Difficulty remembering things or lack of concentration
  • Poor or decreased school performance
  • Behavioral problems in school or at home
  • Slurred speech or coordination problems
  • Discovering alcohol in their belongings or smelling it on their breath
  • Less desire to engage in activities they once enjoyed
  • Less interest in personal appearance
  • Change in group of friends
  • Hanging out with a group of friends that influence bad behaviors or thoughts
  • A desire to fit in with peers or feeling isolated for not drinking (“everyone else is doing it”)
  • Engaging in risky behaviors as a cry for help or to seek attention
  • Listening to music that has a message that encourages destructive behaviors, such as drinking alcohol
  • Technology usage:
    • Do they frequently visit alcohol sites online or post things to social media that puts alcohol in a positive light?
    • Do they chat online or text friends about alcohol or when the next party will be?
    • Are they keeping their phone or texting conversations private?

The Many Risks Of Teen Drinking

There are many risks involved with underage drinking. Death and serious injury could happen to your teen if they continue abusing alcohol. Impaired judgement is another risk for teen drinking. When your teen drinks, they are further limiting their brain’s ability to process situations, which could cause them to engage in risky behaviors that could risk their lives or others.

Teens who drink are also at more risk for physical and sexual assault (either as the victim or the one who carries out the action). And as mentioned before, the human mind does not fully develop until at least the mid-20s. If a teen is drinking alcohol, they are risking damage to their developing brain.

What You Can Do To Help

Perhaps you are a parent who is also struggling from an alcohol addiction with a teen who is engaging in drinking behaviors. You need to seek help for yourself and your teen now. Teens have been watching what their parents do, and if you are a parent who struggles from an addiction, you may be encouraging your teen to develop the same addiction. If only your teen is drinking and you as the parent do not drink, your teen also needs help. Be a positive role model for them by becoming an active part of your child’s life and to be “in the know” with what’s going on in their life before it’s too late.

Talk with your teen about your concerns. It is best that they seek counseling or even attend a rehab facility depending on the severity of the addiction. If your teen is severely addicted to alcohol, it is best they attend an inpatient rehab facility for alcohol detox and not try detoxification at home. Outpatient rehabs are better suited for less severe addictions or for individuals who have already completed an inpatient program. Do not make the judgement alone on what facility your teen should attend. Seek the help and advice of a professional to find out the best program or place of recovery for your teen.

If you have further questions about this topic or need help to find a counselor or rehab facility, we’re here to help at Struggling with an alcohol addiction is tough, so do not delay. Contact us today, and we’ll get you and your teen the help you need.

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