How Does Alcohol Affect Teens?

How Does Alcohol Affect Teens?

Alcohol use is very prevalent among teens because it is often easily accessible and socially acceptable for them to experiment with. In fact, the legal drinking age was once set at 18 in some states and is 16 in some countries. Because it is so common, it’s important to be aware of just how prevalent it is and what signs to look out for that may indicate that your teen is struggling with alcohol use. 

How Common is Alcohol Abuse in Teens?

The Monitoring the Future results from 2019 indicated that alcohol use among teens has continued to be on the decline. However, it is still very prevalent. In 2019, rates of alcohol use in the past year were 52.1% for 12th graders, 37.7% for 10th graders, and 19.3% for 8th graders. Rates of binge drinking (defined as consuming five or more drinks in a short time) were 14.4% for 12th graders, 8.5% for 10th graders, and 3.8 % for 8th graders. 

Signs of Teen Alcohol Abuse

There are several tell-tale signs that a teen may be abusing alcohol (or other drugs), but it’s important to know that many of these signs are also often common teenage behavior. These signs are not a guarantee that a teen is using alcohol or other drugs, but they certainly indicate that something is going on with your teen and may require further assessment to determine the best intervention. Some of the common signs include

  • Sudden change in mood in which your teen has increased temper outbursts, often irritable, and increased defensiveness.
  • A change in academic performance, such as decreased attendance, lower grades than is routine for your teen, and increased need for disciplinary action at school. 
  • They are not interested in things they used to enjoy or generally have low energy. They often seem like “nothing matters.” 
  • Finding alcohol in your teen’s room.
  • Sudden physical or mental changes that are not typical for your teen include memory lapses, poor concentration, lack of coordination, or slurred speech. 
  • Changing friends and not wanting family members to get to know them.

How to Treat Alcoholism in Teens

The first step in treating alcoholism is detoxification. This step is not necessary for all individuals addicted to alcohol, but it is recommended to seek a medical professional’s opinion before skipping this step. Depending on the severity of the addiction to alcohol, people can have withdrawal symptoms when trying to stop use, which can be life-threatening. Therefore, it’s important to evaluate a medical professional to determine if inpatient detox treatment is necessary.

Once your teen has completed detoxification, they will start at a substance use program where they will engage in individual therapy, family therapy, and group therapy. Depending on the program, they may also have other activities available to them to help improve skills to maintain sobriety. These services may be provided in the context of a residential program, partial hospitalization, sober living home, intensive outpatient, or outpatient program. The program that a teen will need will depend on the individual teen, so it’s important to reach out to a mental health professional as soon as possible to create an individualized treatment plan.  

How to Find Teen Alcohol Rehab in Los Angeles, CA

It can be challenging to try to help your child with their addiction. It’s tough when they are not ready for treatment. However, talking with them, going over their options, and letting them know that you will always be there for support can be helpful. Once they are ready for treatment, it’s important to point them in the right direction of trusted mental health professionals that are trained in substance use. The Last House can help. 
The Last House has been around for over ten years to help men strive to achieve sobriety in their life. We offer a supportive environment with skilled staff whose passion is to help those with addiction concerns and services that promote building skills to maintain a sober lifestyle. Our program includes groups, therapy, accountability, and exploring sober activities. When you leave The Last House, you will leave with long-lasting connections and the skills you need to continue your sobriety long-term. The Last House is connected with Thrive Treatment to easily contact quality treatment teams to ensure the care you are getting is consistent. Contact us today to learn more about our program and how we can help you.

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