Research shows that people who start drinking before age 15 are more than 5 times likelier to develop alcohol use disorder (AUD) later in life, as compared with people who only drank after reaching legal age. Risks for AUD are even higher among teens who have a family member who has struggled with addiction. When your teen abuses alcohol, it’s easy to judge yourself or negatively compare your family to others. But it’s worth remembering that the teen years don’t last forever.
- You can help by exposing your teen to healthy hobbies and activities, such as team sports, Scouts, and after-school clubs.
- Treatment providers can connect you with programs that provide the tools to help you get and stay sober.
- Having strategies planned ahead of times can help your child better handle peer pressure and resist the need to drink.
- In 1988, the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 was passed with hopes of decreasing the rate of driving while under the influence (DUI) related accidents and deaths among young people.
- From a very young age, kids see advertising messages showing beautiful people enjoying life — and alcohol.
Due to inexperience with alcohol, generally lower aversion to risk, and susceptibility to peer pressure, teenagers have a substantially higher risk for binge drinking than most other age groups. Binge drinking is defined as consuming 4 or more alcoholic beverages in under 2 hours for women or consuming 5 or more alcohol beverages in the same amount of teens alcohol use time for men. Binge drinking impacts the body, creating uncomfortable symptoms like vomiting, hangovers, headaches, and low energy. Sadly, 45% of 9th graders, 50% of 10th graders, 58% of 11th graders and 65% of 12th graders admit to binge drinking at least once. Because the drinking age in the US is 21, alcoholism is often thought to be an adult issue.
Prevent Underage Drinking
More than 90% of all alcohol drinks consumed by youth are consumed through binge drinking5 (see the “What Is Binge Drinking?” box). Teenagers often feel invincible—that nothing bad will ever happen to them—so preaching about the long-term health dangers of underage drinking may fail to discourage them from using alcohol. Instead, talk to your teen about the effects drinking can have on their appearance—bad breath, bad skin, and weight gain from all the empty calories and carbs. You can also talk about how drinking makes people do embarrassing things, like peeing themselves or throwing up. So, if drinking is exclusively for adults only, that’s what they’ll do.
Furthermore, recent research shows that teen alcohol abuse interferes with the expression of a protein that is crucial for brain development. Hence, teen alcoholism can cause lasting changes in the part of the brain that regulates emotion. One of the most telling signs of teenage alcohol abuse is a direct link between drinking and a teen’s emotional state. For example, they may turn to alcohol to suppress feelings of anger or relieve feelings of sadness. Approximately three-fourths of adolescents have tried alcohol by the end of high school.
Gender Differences in Alcohol Consumption
Understand what it is, its appeal to youth, what research has to say about the known and unknown risks, and what you can do prevent your child from vaping. Personalized support for addressing your child’s substance use or addiction available in English and Spanish. Teens who have progressed to the more advanced stages of alcoholism are typically treated intensively, using a combination of the medical, individual, and familial interventions already described. According to the 2022 Monitoring the Future study the proportion of students reporting they have been drunk in the past 30-days remained steady. If you or a loved one is ready to overcome an alcohol addiction, reach out today.
Drinking underage comes with legal consequences including mandatory community service, suspended license, fines and potential time in jail. Not only do individuals put themselves in danger, but they also put others in jeopardy if they get behind the wheel of a car or become violent. Prevention of alcohol abuse in younger individuals starts at home. According to data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and SAMHSA, alcohol use is a significant factor in the deaths of many young people who are under the age of 21. In 2011, alcohol was related to over 4,300 deaths in individuals under the age of 21.