Alcoholism is a disease that is widespread throughout the United States. A lot of people think that alcoholics are old, drunk men that smell bad but that is not necessarily the case. “Alcohol is by far the most used and abused drug among America’s teenagers. According to a national survey, nearly one-third (31.
5%) of all high school students reported hazardous drinking (5+ drinks in one setting) during the 30 days preceding the survey” (Kann, 2001). A lot of teenagers, both boys and girls, suffer from the disease of alcoholism.It is also known that, “Children of alcoholics are at a high risk for developing problems with alcohol and other drugs; they often do poorly at school, live with pervasive tension and stress, have high levels of anxiety and depression, and experience coping problems” (Ensuring Solutions to Alcohol Problems, n. d. ).
There are also other possible causes as to why some teenagers have problems with drinking. Parents, do not fret, there are signs to look for in your children, as well as ways to intervene if it is already happening. There are a few different causes as to why teenagers become alcoholics.One of the most obvious is peer pressure. Most kids try drinking with their friends for the first time, not by themselves. If all their friends are drinking, they might do it too to fit in and be considered “cool”. Kids that are shy or suffer from social anxiety can use drinking as a way to loosen up and be more outgoing around their peers. Also, if kids hangout with a certain group of friends that drink on a regular basis, they usually tend to do the same.
Another cause can be from emotional influences, such as abuse or trauma. Drug Addiction Support says that teenagers may develop alcoholism as a way to block pain in their life” (Livestrong). If a child gets verbally, physically, or sexually abused, they are more likely to turn to alcohol as a way to numb the pain and to be able to forget about what is happening. One more cause of teenage alcoholism is brain function. “A teenager becomes more inclined to develop alcoholism when they drink because their brain responds to alcohol in an inappropriate way. Alcohol makes them feel good, confident, as if they can do anything they want to do.Why not drink all the time if that is the case? We all know that almost every teenager is going to experiment with alcohol at some point.
What differentiates a normal teenager from a teen who has alcoholism? Luckily, there are many symptoms and signs to look out for. A huge sign is a significant downfall in school. When kids are abusing alcohol, they do not care about school enough to do well. They start skipping school or classes. They would rather go out with their friends on a school night, not sit home and do their paper that is due the next day.They may even quit sports or activities that they used to love, due to lack of motivation, and wanting more free time to party. If the teenager is developing strange sleeping patterns, this can also be a sign of alcohol abuse, although not necessarily because a lot of teenagers like to sleep until 12 noon. Severe mood swings is a symptom of alcohol abuse.
If a teen starts to seem angrier or has violent outbursts, it is probably not because his mom is asking him to clean his room. One more huge sign is if a teenager starts stealing from their parents, friends, or anyone else.Teenagers abusing alcohol usually run out of money very easily, so they need more money to support their addiction and just to spend on other things since all their money is going to alcohol and/or drugs. They may steal valuables and bring them to the pawnshop, or steal their parent’s credit card or cash out of their wallet. There are also the obvious signs if a teen comes home slurring their speech, throwing up, falling down, with bloodshot eyes, they are already drunk and there may be a more serious problem to consider. There are many dangers associated with teenage alcoholism.Underage drinking is linked to injury and risky behavior.
“Research indicates that the human brain continues to develop into a person’s early 20’s, and that exposure of the developing brain to alcohol may have long-lasting effects of intellectual capabilities and may increase the likelihood of alcohol addiction” (Don’t Serve Teens, n. d. ). Drunk driving is also another huge risk that teenagers who have drinking problems take. They are putting their lives on the line, as well as everyone else who is on the road, due to their destructive decisions. “Young people are more susceptible to alcohol-induced impairment of their driving skills.
Drinking drivers aged 16 to 20 are twice as likely to be involved in a fatal crash as drinking drivers who are 21 or older” (Don’t Serve Teens, n. d. ). If they are lucky and don’t crash their car, they are at a risk for being pulled over and arrested for a D. W. I. and having their license suspended for at least 3 months and up to a year if it is their first offense.
Teenage alcoholics are a lot more likely to contemplate and/or commit suicide. This is because alcohol is a depressant and it can lead a person to become more depressed or more stressed out.Higher drinking levels also increase the risk of sexual activity. Teenagers who drink too much are at risk for having sex with someone they don’t know, failing to use birth control, and also at risk of getting raped or taken advantage of. Teenagers who think they may have a problem with alcohol can still have hope. There are thousands of rehabs all over the country that specialize in the treatment of young people who are trying to recover from alcoholism or drug addiction.
There are self-support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, which are held basically every time, every day, in every town, in every state.Within AA there are national conferences held for young people in recovery every year, in which tens of thousands of sober young people attend for a weekend. Even if a teenager has stole from their parents, crashed a car, been in jail, or dropped out of high school due to their drinking, it is never too late to get help. If they think their life is over because they cannot drink anymore they will soon learn it is the exact opposite.
Their life is just beginning and they can have plenty of fun with other sober young people in recovery.