Alcoholism, now diagnostically known as alcohol use disorder, is a substance-use disorder in which the sufferer has problems managing how much and how frequently they drink alcohol and its negative effects on their lives as a result.
The symptoms of alcoholism include tolerance to alcohol, withdrawal episodes, craving alcohol, using more alcohol or for longer periods than intended, and problems managing life issues due to alcohol.
Alcoholism is the result of a number of individuals, family, genetic, and social factors rather than due to any one cause.
Although a number of genes play a role in the development of alcoholism, other factors more strongly influence its occurrence in this disease.
Medical professionals diagnose alcoholism by evaluating whether the individual shows a number of symptoms of problem drinking on a regular basis.
Alcoholism treatment depends on the stage of the addiction, ranging from management of risk factors and education to intensive residential treatment followed by long-term outpatient care and support.
Alcohol is the most frequently used drug by teenagers in the United States. Significant statistics regarding alcohol use in teens include that about half of junior high and senior high school students drink alcohol on a monthly basis, and 14% of teens have been intoxicated at least once in the past year. Nearly 8% of teens who drink say they drink at least five or more alcoholic drinks in a row (binge drink).
Mood swings refer to rapid changes in mood. The term may refer to minor daily mood changes or to significant mood changes as seen with mood disorders such as major depression or bipolar depression.
What are the dangerous effects of alcohol use in teens?
Just a few of the many dangers of alcohol use in teens include the following:
Alcohol decreases teens’ ability to pay attention too.
Teens who have experienced alcohol withdrawal tend to have difficulties with memory.
The teenage brain exposed to alcohol is at risk of being smaller in certain parts.
In contrast to adults, teens tend to abuse alcohol with other substances, usually marijuana.
Male teens who drink heavily tend to complete fewer years of education compared to male teens who do not.
The younger a person is when they begin drinking, the more likely they are to develop a problem with alcohol.
Each year, almost 2,000 people under the age of 21 die in car crashes in which underage drinking is involved. Alcohol is involved in nearly half of all violent deaths involving youth.
In 2016, 58% of teen drivers killed in motor-vehicle crashes after drinking and driving were not wearing a seat belt.
More than three times the number of eighth-grade girls who drink heavily said they have attempted suicide compared to girls in that grade who do not drink.
Intoxication is associated with suicide attempts using more lethal methods, and positive blood alcohol levels are often found in people who complete suicide.
Teens who drink are more likely to engage in sexual activity, have unprotected sex, have sex with a stranger, or be the victim or perpetrator of a sexual assault.
Excess alcohol use can cause or mask other emotional problems, like anxiety or depression.
Drinking in excess can lead to the use of other drugs, like marijuana, cocaine, or heroin.
Clear communication by parents about the negative effects of alcohol, as well as about their expectations regarding drug use, has been found to decrease teenage drinking significantly. Adequate parental supervision is a deterrent to alcohol use in youth. Alcohol, and other drug use, occurs most often between the hours of 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., immediately after school and prior to parents’ arrival at home from work. Teen participation in extracurricular activities is, therefore, an important measure in the prevention of alcohol use in this age group. Parents can also help educate teens about appropriate coping and stress-management strategies.
For example, 15- to 16-year-olds who use religion to cope with stress tend to use drugs significantly less often and have fewer problems as a result of drinking than their peers who do not use religion to cope. Since effective treatment of teen depression can be a deterrent to alcohol use, parents who seek help for their depressed teen in a timely manner can also help prevent their adolescent from engaging in underage drinking.
Signs that indicate a person is intoxicated include the smell of alcohol on their breath or skin, glazed or bloodshot eyes, the person being unusually passive or argumentative, having slurred speech, unsteady walk or poor coordination, and/or deterioration in the person’s appearance or hygiene. Other symptoms of intoxication include flushed skin and memory loss; intoxication can result in a coma in extreme instances.
One of the best things you can do to combat teenage alcohol abuse is to have clear and open communication with your teen. Encourage them to talk to you about how they feel about alcohol, and encourage them not to fall into teenage alcohol abuse. You can find many resources at Nimcoinc.com that will help you have a healthy, productive conversation with your teen about alcohol abuse.