The last thing parents want to see in their teen are the signs of alcoholism. However, it is one of the most commonly used substances among teens. The younger an individual begins to drink, the more likely it could develop into an issue during adulthood. Knowing the signs ahead of time is critical for parents of adolescents.
About Why Teens Drink
While alcohol addiction issues are often thought of as something adults struggle with, it is a common issue among teens as well. We learn from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Addiction (NIAAA) that, during 2018, over seven million young Americans between the ages of 12 and 20 drank more than a few sips of alcohol. This data also indicates that over four million youths reported binge drinking. Many teens report the following as reasons for their alcohol use:
- Battling anxiety or depression
- Believing it was cool
- Experiencing peer pressure
- Feeling accepted and making friends
- Feeling the need for them to prove themselves to others
- Needing to feel comfortable around their friends
- Watching their parents drink
Understanding the Signs of Alcoholism in Teens
Even though there are many ways alcohol affects a teen’s health negatively, using it is also extremely dangerous. Data from the NIAAA shows us that, during 2018, nearly 861,000 youths ages 12 to 20 used alcohol heavily during the previous month. These statistics further reveal that there are approximately 88,000 fatalities annually due to alcohol use. That is why parents must understand the following signs of alcoholism in teens:
- Bloodshot eyes
- Deteriorating grooming and physical hygiene
- Reckless behavior
- Slurred or slow speech
- Smelling alcohol on their breath
- Withdrawing from family and friends
Emotional Red Flags and Mood Swings
In addition to those signs of alcoholism, teens might also exhibit mood swings or other emotional red flags. These are often two of the most telling signs of teen alcohol use. The main reason is that, when they abuse alcohol, it creates a direct link to their emotions. For example, adolescents might turn to alcohol as a means of resolving anger or reduce sad feelings. As a result, they are using alcohol as a way of self-medicating and self-soothing.
Extreme mood swings are also an indicator that teens could be using alcohol. For example, one day, they might be agreeable, and, at other times, they may seem combative. As a teen’s brain works to regulate emotions, their use of alcohol could cause lasting issues. When teens show the signs of alcoholism, that could lead to a litany of problems, including exposing themselves to harmful or life-changing risks.
Teenage Drinking Risks
Once parents understand the signs of alcoholism, they must also take steps toward learning the risks of teenage drinking. Teenage drinking poses many different consequences compared to an adult using this substance. For example, when teens consume large amounts of alcohol, that could lead to stunting their intellectual development. As a result, that could lead to struggles with juggling home life with schoolwork.
It is not uncommon for teens to start learning how to socialize or drive during this time in their lives. When they add alcohol use to these experiences, that might warp their sense of perception and safety. That leads to the following teen drinking risks:
- Damaging property or getting into a car accident
- Engaging in dangerous or risky behavior
- Exhibiting poor academic performance
- Experimenting with other harmful substances
- Getting arrested or engaging in violent acts
- Impairing their memory
Reach Out for Help from Blueprint Recovery Center
Do you have concerns about your teen potentially showing the signs of alcoholism? That is a scary situation that no parent should have to go through alone. Now is the time for you to take proactive steps toward learning more about these signs, as well as the ways you can help your teen. We have programs to help your loved one overcome addiction and prepare for e better future. Some of the programs include:
- Outpatient Treatment Program
- Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)
- Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)
- Alumni Program
Contact 833.654.1004 to learn more about what you can do and how we can help.