How to Help an Alcoholic Teen

If your teenager is drinking alcohol to the exclusion of normal, everyday activities, the problem may be more serious than typical underage drinking.

If you suspect that your teenager is drinking, you should know that there are resources available to help you learn how to help an alcoholic teen. Drinking when under the age of 21 can have serious repercussions. In some states, the parents can even be held responsible for a teen's behavior while drinking. Alcohol is one of the easiest substances for teens to access, since it is not illegal for adults and is widely available. Teens may get alcohol from a friend's house, purchase it from a store that does not check identification carefully, buy it with a forged driver's license, or steal it.

How Will I Know if My Teenager Drinks Too Much?

"Teens may drink to cope with stress, including worries about family life, school, romantic partners, or friends."Any amount of alcohol is dangerous for a teenager. Teenagers' bodies are physiologically different than adults' bodies. This means they do not process and metabolize alcohol the same way. Alcohol strongly affects the brain, reducing the speed at which impulses travel from neuron to neuron. Because the brains of teenagers are still growing and developing, experts believe that altering the behavior of neurons artificially might cause damage that adults are not at risk for. Scientists are still conducting research on this subject. Because alcohol is illegal for teens, it is also more likely that a teenager will avoid seeking treatment for alcohol-related illness than an adult. Teens who are afraid to get help after ingesting too much alcohol are more likely to die or experience serious side effects from alcohol poisoning. The kind of help you seek for your teenager will depend on the seriousness of the teen's drinking problem. If your teenager is drinking alcohol to the exclusion of normal, everyday activities, the problem may be more serious than typical underage drinking. If your teen skips school to drink or recover from a hangover, he or she is putting future plans and goals at risk. Stealing alcohol or stealing money to buy alcohol is also a sign that your teen may be an alcoholic. If you feel your teen is exhibiting these traits, get confidential help by calling 1-888-919-3845  or filling out an information request form.

Why Do Teens Drink?

"Teens are also more likely to drink if another member of the family, especially a caretaker, is an alcoholic."Teens drink for many of the same reasons that adults who abuse alcohol drink. Teens may drink to cope with stress, including worries about family life, school, romantic partners, or friends. Teens also may cope to manage an underlying depression problem. Fortunately, many of these issues can be dealt with in therapy as part of a treatment program. In therapy, teenagers can learn coping mechanisms to handle the normal stresses of daily life without resorting to drinking. If your teen is exhibiting a change in personality, habits, or attitude in addition to drinking, do not delay making an appointment with a qualified therapist. In some cases, drinking is a sign of a larger problem, and getting early help can make a great difference in the teen's long-term ability to control the urge to drink. Teens are also more likely to drink if another member of the family, especially a caretaker, is an alcoholic. If this is the case, family therapy may be helpful. Call 1-888-919-3845  for help finding a therapist who can deal with alcohol-related issues.

What to Do if My Teenager Is an Alcoholic

You should know that if your teen is an alcoholic, it is important not to blame yourself or your teen. Instead, focus on getting your teen the help he or she needs. Recognize that your teenager is not doing this to punish you or to be bad. Just as with adults, alcoholism is a disease that should be treated with compassion. Call 1-888-919-3845  to learn how to help an alcoholic teen.

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