If your child struggles with alcohol addiction, it can be difficult to determine the best way or time to seek help. Understanding the causes and warning signs of alcohol addiction in adolescents can help you determine how and when to seek out a proper treatment program for your teen.
How Many Teens Are Addicted to Alcohol?
Alcohol addiction among teenagers is a serious concern. In 2021, 5.9 million youth between the ages of 12 to 20 reported drinking alcohol in the past month. This staggering statistic shows the rampant frequency of teens getting access to and becoming tempted to try alcohol. While alcohol use at an early stage does not always lead to addiction, it can come with serious health risks and lead to further issues down the road if not addressed. However, it is easy for teens to drink alcohol unnoticed, as the behavioral problems or physical changes in teens do not stem solely from alcohol addiction.
If you suspect your child is addicted to alcohol, it is best to seek professional help immediately in order to address your concern. Intervening early can prevent an even harder battle to recovery for your child.
How Alcohol Impacts Teens
Alcohol can create serious implications for teens both physically and mentally, regardless of whether they are addicted or not. Some ways alcohol impacts teens includes:
Physical health risks: Alcohol can harm various organs and systems in the body. It can lead to liver damage, weaken the immune system, disrupt hormonal balance, and impair overall physical growth and development.
Brain development: The teenage brain is still undergoing critical development, particularly in areas responsible for decision-making, impulse control, and risk assessment. Alcohol consumption during this period can interfere with normal brain development and have long-lasting effects on cognitive abilities, memory, and learning.
Increased risk-taking behavior: Alcohol can impair judgment and decision-making, leading to an increase in risky behaviors among teenagers. This can include drunk driving, unsafe sexual practices, violence, and accidental injuries.
Academic performance: Alcohol use can negatively impact school performance. Regular alcohol consumption may lead to poor concentration, memory problems, decreased motivation, and a decline in academic achievement.
Emotional and mental health effects: Teenagers may turn to alcohol as a way to cope with stress or emotional issues. However, alcohol can exacerbate mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, and mood disorders. It can also increase the risk of developing a substance use disorder later in life.
Addressing teen drinking early can help prevent these issues and more. Alcohol addiction in teens is not an easy thing to recover from. The sooner you seek treatment, the safer they will be as you could be preventing them from further exposure to serious health risks that stem from alcohol abuse.
Treatment Programs for Adolescent Alcohol Addiction
There are plenty of services available for teens who suffer from substance use disorder. Individual psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and outpatient treatment centers are all available options for you to help your child suffering from substance use disorder. Talk with a licensed professional about your child’s substance use disorder in order to find the best treatment to help them recover.
Alcohol addiction treatment programs for teens are conducted by licensed health professionals with experience helping adolescents suffering from substance use disorder. You should only seek treatment from a licensed professional to help your child recover. Psychologists, psychotherapists, social workers, and clinical nurses are all required to have proper licensing for their state. You can research the credentials of your child’s caregivers in order to determine which programs are best for your child. Consulting with a behavioral healthcare program can help put your child in touch with the right individuals to help them recover.