Alcohol abuse in teens is on the rise as more and more adolescents experiment with drinking. One in four teens will engage in underage drinking, and about half of those will develop an alcohol use disorder (AUD). Because the consequences of underage drinking to brain development in teens are potentially irreversible, early intervention is critical. If you are worried about your teen’s drinking and are looking for alcohol addiction treatment in Rehrersburg, PA, reach out to Pennsylvania Adult & Teen Challenge (PAATC) to learn how we can help.
Teenagers believe themselves to be invulnerable, and that experimenting with alcohol is not a big deal. They may believe they have it all under control and think the adults in their lives are exaggerating. After all, many of their friends drink. Their parents drink too—and have a full liquor cabinet in the house. They wonder how dangerous can alcohol be. Teenagers often simply do not believe that what they are doing is dangerous—until it’s too late. Don’t wait. Reach out to PAATC to ask questions and find out how we can help your teen understand the consequences of underage drinking and begin recovery while they are still young, with a full life ahead of them. Use this online form or simply call us at 844.442.8673.
Alcohol Abuse in Teens
Many teens are drawn to alcohol for the way it reduces their inhibitions, fulfilling the role of social lubricant to help awkward teens feel as if they fit in and can navigate the perplexing social dynamics of adolescence.
There are numerous effects that teenagers may be seeking by drinking alcohol. They may feel that alcohol helps them:
- Mute difficult or painful emotions
- Ease social anxiety
- Find a place in their peer group by acquiescing to social pressures
- Treat the symptoms of a mental disorder of which they may or may not be consciously aware
- Find escape from difficult home environments or family dynamics
- Escape from the effects of trauma, for example, sexual assault
Of course, alcohol’s soothing effects are fleeting and illusory. When the alcohol wears off, teens face the same stressors and feel the same anxieties as before. It isn’t hard to see how a vicious cycle ensues and teens can become dependent on alcohol to function in their lives.
The Consequences of Underage Drinking
Alcohol doesn’t affect an adult brain the way it affects the adolescent brain, which is still developing. A few of the consequences of underage drinking are listed below:
- Addiction – When teens start drinking before the age of 15, their risk for alcohol addiction quadruples
- Accidents – Teens who are under the influence are much more likely to be in a car or other potentially fatal accident
- Physical health dangers – Drinking among teens can lead to heart damage, harm to the central nervous system, liver disease including cancer, and stroke
- Cognitive impairment – Teen brains can be permanently altered by drinking young, including impaired brain development, learning, and memory
- Unprotected sex – Drinking impacts decision-making and teens are more likely to have sex at a younger age; drinking also increases the risk of unprotected sex and unwanted pregnancy
- Aggression – A teen is more likely to become the victim of violence, including sexual violence, or to be the perpetrator of aggression while under the influence of alcohol
- Suicide – Teens with AUDs are at greater risk of death by suicide
The dangers associated with underage drinking are significant enough that it’s considered a health crisis among teens. The absolutely safest and most productive way to intervene in a teen’s spiral of alcohol addiction is to seek professional treatment in a rehab facility that understands teen addiction.
Alcohol Treatment for Teens at PAATC
Alcohol abuse in teens rarely goes away by itself. It may or may not lead to addiction, but any abuse of alcohol by a teen can have serious consequences. If you’re concerned about your teen, reach out to speak to one of the professionals at PAATC to learn more about teen alcohol addiction treatment. Our online form is an easy way to connect. Also, you can reach us by phone at 844.442.8673.