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Teen Alcoholism

Teen alcoholism has very little to do with what kind of alcohol a teenager drinks, how long they have been drinking, or even the amount of alcohol that the adolescent consumes; but instead, it has a great deal more to do with a teenager's uncontrollable need for alcohol. Teen alcoholism will become progressively worse as alcohol abuse begins to alter the young person's brain chemistry.

Teen alcoholism develops for a variety of reasons, but many times, teenagers will began drinking because they want to fit in with the crowd and feel good; unfortunately, the teen may begin to drink habitually, as they try to repeat the "feel good" experience. Because alcohol has become socially acceptable in our society, it can be difficult to identify when a teen is slipping from social drinking, to something much more problematic, and entering into teen alcoholism.

Teen alcoholism risk factors may include a low level of parental supervision and communication, family conflicts, inconsistent or severe parental discipline, and a family history of substance abuse problems. Individual teen risk factors may include problems with impulse control, emotional instability, thrill-seeking behaviors, peer pressure, and perceiving the risk of using alcohol to be low. A large body of government research has indicated that those individuals who had mothers who struggled with an alcohol addiction and that begin drinking prior to the age of 14 years old, have been reported to have a much higher chance at developing teen alcoholism. It is important to recognize that many different environmental factors have also been reported to be common risk factors that are related to teen alcoholism; on the other hand, just because a person has grown up with an alcoholic parent, does not mean that they are destined to develop teen alcoholism.

Signs and Symptoms of Teen Alcoholism:

  • Obvious changes in a teenager's attitude; many kids will become much more withdrawn or angry, even if they were relatively happy before; in many instances, these changes will appear to happen almost overnight.
  • Many chronic teenage drinkers will become extremely depressed; thus, the suicide rate among teens that drink heavily is up to 4 times greater than non-drinking teens.
  • Teens who are abusing alcohol tend to have a very low level of concentration and they are forgetful and may also get into trouble at school, ending up with suspensions and warnings as well as bad grades. If your teenager was formerly an A student and is suddenly failing most of their classes, this could be a warning sign of teen alcoholism.
  • When a teenager suddenly has a new peer group that he or she hangs out with but doesn´┐Ż''t want you their parents to meet them, this is an indication of teen alcoholism.
  • Chances are your teen will take steps to cover up any alcohol on their breath, so watch for sudden, constant gum chewing or if they try to and stay at a distance from you upon returning home at night.
  • Parent should stay alert for when liquor or money goes missing, as these are both obvious signs of teen alcoholism.