Many individuals develop a problem with alcoholism when they begin drinking as a teen. A number of factors play into how people develop as they become adults. However, there’s a significant likelihood that teen alcohol abuse can become problematic later in life.
One of the more severe complications that can arise from alcoholism in teenagers concerns the brain’s development. The brain continues to grow until the early 20s, and alcohol can hinder this process. Teens who develop drinking problems could inadvertently deprive themselves of brighter futures through decreased cognitive abilities.
Current Trends in Teen Alcohol Abuse
Although current studies show that alcoholism and drug abuse in teens are waning, the problem is still a facet in everyday life for many. Some will begin drinking at a young age due to peer pressure, while others are influenced by alcoholic parents. Regardless of how the drinking begins, the problem of underage alcoholism is a reality in today’s world.
Although the rate of alcohol use among teens has dropped by roughly 1.5 percent since 2012, more than one out of every 10 high school students experiment with drinking. This means that in an average classroom, at least three teens are using alcohol. While this may be a slightly better percentage than in the past, it’s still an alarming number of teens who are in the process of hurting their futures. It’s important to note that the number of underage drinkers may actually be higher when considering that not all children will tell the truth to surveyors, even in an anonymous environment.
In the three leading causes of death for those between the ages of 15 and 24, alcohol plays a prominent role. From automobile crashes to suicides, many of these deaths can be prevented if drinking is removed from the equation. Teen alcohol abuse results in a large portion of these deaths, which have lasting repercussions within a community.
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, one out of five 16-year-olds consumes alcohol. While this percentage grows with each age group, it puts into reality the effect of drunk driving among young people. In a driver’s education class of 30, six of the students may be responsible for driving while under the influence once receiving a driver’s license.
In a recent study by Columbia University, more than 11 percent of the alcohol consumed in the United States was done so by those under the legal age. It’s a sobering realization that at least two units of a 24-pack of beer will find their way into the hands of children. This can happen whether an adult buys the alcohol for the teen or the child steals it from the refrigerator himself. Underage drinking doesn’t always mean that someone is directly supporting the habit of the alcoholic.
Out of those over the age of 12 who need treatment for substance and alcohol abuse, nearly 11 percent get the help they need. A large majority of those suffering from teen alcohol abuse may never receive assistance to overcome their addictions. More than 20 million people in the United States live and suffer from abuse disorders, while only approximately 2.5 million receive treatment.
The Risk for Future Alcoholism in Teen Abusers
According to studies, teens who begin drinking before the age of 15 are five times more likely to develop alcoholism later in life as opposed to adults who begin drinking after the age of 21. Teens who develop a drinking problem beforehand will be more likely to continue with their addictions. However, the likelihood of alcoholism can be reduced greatly if parents take a more interactive role in teaching about abuse.
Even though the number of reported cases of abuse is declining, the risk to young people is still great when facing drugs and alcohol. While many children may try a substance once or twice in their lives, the averages don’t bode well for those who develop a drinking problem. Most teens have a defiant nature and attempt to assert themselves as individuals, so drinking might be seen as a rite of passage and the first steps to adulthood. Unfortunately, it also makes it more likely a teen will develop a significant problem later in life.
Seek Help Today for a Healthier Tomorrow
A single drink doesn’t necessarily make a teen an alcoholic. Many will try alcohol out of sheer curiosity. It’s the proceeding drinks and habits that could form of which parents should be aware. Getting help immediately could prevent a teenager from developing a more serious problem later in life.
If your teen has developed a drinking problem, call the helpline today at 800-447-9081. The future holds many opportunities that could be easily missed by succumbing to alcoholism. Give your child the best chance for success in the years to come by addressing teen alcohol abuse today.