*Teens who are addicted to chemical substances must detox before their enrollment at Shepherd’s Hill Academy. Our facilities do not provide detox services.

teen alcohol

As the parent of a teenager, the thought of your teen abusing alcohol is a terrifying one. With teen alcohol abuse on the rise, and staggering statistics concerning underage drinking coming to light, this is one issue that cannot be ignored.

Do you suspect your teen is using alcohol? You are not alone. Alcohol is the most widely used substance used and abused by today’s teens. Teenage drinking poses health and safety risks, not just for your teen, but for those around them.

Whether or not your teen is drinking, being in an environment of alcohol abuse can be dangerous. Teen and adult alcoholism can result in aggression, property damage, injuries, violence, and even death. In fact, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), teenage drinking is a national concern.

My Teen is Too Young to Have Tried Alcohol

The NIAAA statistic surrounding teens and alcoholism are staggering. Did you know that by age 15 there’s a 33% chance your teen has tried alcohol? This increases to 60% by age 18!

Teens between the ages of 12 and 20 account for 11% of our country’s alcohol consumption. This may seem unreal, but when youth drink they tend to drink more than the adult who is over legal drinking age. Binge drinking is common among this age group and can lead to devastating consequences.

Warning Signs of Teen Alcohol Use

No parent wants to think of their teen abusing alcohol. However, it is important to recognize the warning signs. These signs should not be ignored. If your teen is using and/or abusing alcohol, the earlier you can intervene the better.

Adolescents is a volatile time for teens. They are growing and changing. Many teens have mood swings and other behavioral issues that may be temporary. It is important to identify your teen’s habits and to recognize any long term changes in behavior.

Is your teen exhibiting any of the following signs and symptoms? If so, these may be warning signs that your teen is drinking alcohol.

  • Irritability and Anger
  • Changes in Mood
  • Behavioral Problems in School
  • Academic Problems in School
  • A Change in Friend Groups
  • Low Energy Levels
  • Less Interest in Activities
  • Less Care in Appearance

Other Indicators may also include:

  • Problem Concentrating or Remembering
  • Slurred Speech
  • Coordination Issues
  • Finding Hidden Alcohol in Their Possession
  • Smelling Alcohol on Your Teen’s Breath

Safety Concerns of Teen Alcoholism

Underage drinking and teen alcoholism are real problems today. When a teen drinks alcohol they are more likely to abuse the substance than an adult due to the current stage of their growth and development. The pleasure centers in the brain of a teen mature much quicker than the part responsible for sound decision making, according to the Addiction Center on underage drinking.

Teens consuming alcohol are likely to not fully grasp the consequences of their actions. Alcohol use in minors can cause physical consequences such as brain damage or developmental issues. Over-consumption of alcohol can also lead to common alcohol-related incidents such as vehicle accidents or sexual assault.

Because teens do not yet have the cognitive ability to fully recognize consequences of decisions, the results of alcohol consumption can be fatal. Teens are more likely to overestimate their capacity to operate a motor vehicle. They may also make impulsive decisions to start a fight or cause public scenes. All of these actions affect society, rather than simply the user.

Underage drinking is especially dangerous and may cause unwanted consequences; including, but not limited to:

  • Interference with Brain/Cognitive Development
  • Increased Risk of Alcoholism & Life-Long Dependency
  • Trouble in School
  • Trouble with the Law
  • Increased Risk for Physical or Sexual Assault
  • Impaired Judgement
  • Physical Injury
  • Death of Self or Others

Risk Factors for Underage Drinking

While both boys and girls are susceptible to alcohol use, there tend to be differences in the drinking behavior among each gender. Boys are more likely to binge drink, act out, or recklessly drive a motor vehicle. Meanwhile, girls are more likely to drink to cope with stress or family issues.

While no one is immune to developing a dependence on alcohol, there are some contributing factors that may increase your teen’s risk of dependency:

  • Genetics: Teens who have family members who are alcohol dependent are four times more likely to become dependent as well.
  • Ethnicity: Some ethnicities are particularly susceptible to alcoholism. For example: American Indians or Native Alaskans are at a higher risk of developing alcoholism.
  • External Pressure: It comes at little surprise that peer pressure plays an important role in your teen’s decision to drink. It’s not just their peers that may pressure them. If a teen is in an environment surrounded by heavy drinkers (parents, siblings, relatives), they are likely to find this behavior as acceptable.
  • Personality: Teens who are more social tend to lean towards alcohol addictions in order to “fit in.” Addictive personalities may also play a role in teen alcohol use.

Other reasons teenagers indulge in alcoholic beverages are because of:

  • Peer & Social Pressures
  • Desire for Increased Independence, or to “Be an Adult”
  • Coping Mechanism

How You Can Help Prevent Your Teen from Engaging in Underage Drinking

Parental involvement is key to the success of your teen in all aspects of their life. As your teen will spend a large portion of their time between home and school, it is imperative for both teachers and parents to encourage teens to abstain from alcohol. They should also be educating teens on the dangers of underage drinking.

In the home, parents can have either a positive or negative impact on their teen in concern to their alcohol use. Parents can give positive advice on leading a healthy lifestyle by leading by example in their own life. More is caught than taught in the parent/child relationship.

Some points of discussion with your teen can include:

  • Dangers of Drinking (particularly at a young age)
  • Responsible Decision Making
  • How You (the parent) can be a Positive Role Model
  • Life in General (take interest in your teen’s life)

Some ways you can directly influence the sobriety of your teen include:

  • Do Not Make Alcohol Available
  • Get to Know Your Teen’s Friends
  • Connect with Other Parents to Communicate Your Influence
  • Supervise All Parties to Ensure Alcohol-Free Venues
  • Encourage Participation in Healthy Activities

Research shows that teens and children whose parents are actively involved in their lives are less likely to consume alcohol.

Treatment is Available for Your Teen

If your teen is already using or abusing alcohol, it is imperative that you seek treatment immediately. When it comes to harmful chemicals and substances on your child’s young, developing brain, time is of the essence. Stopping alcohol use before it reaches addiction is necessary.

Some options for treatment of teen alcoholism are:

  • Seek a Counselor or other Trained Professional
  • Participate in Outpatient Treatment
  • Participate in Inpatient Treatment

How Shepherd’s Hill Academy Can Help

*Teens who are addicted to chemical substances must detox before their enrollment at Shepherd’s Hill Academy. Our facilities do not provide detox services.

At Shepherd’s Hill Academy, we have seen and worked with a variety of addictions among young teens. We are dedicated to offering your teen the environment they need in order to heal from addictive behaviors.

At Shepherd’s Hill Academy, we work to get your teen back on track. Our wilderness therapeutic methods allow your teen to be removed from an environment of peer pressure, technology, and access to alcohol. It encourages character building, hard work, and clean activities where your teen can thrive.

Our counseling is tailored to meet the needs of your teen with an individualized treatment plan. Your teen will participate in individual counseling, group counseling, family counseling, and equine therapy. We also offer resources for you, the parents, in order to help you create a home environment to nourish the sustainable growth and development of your teen when they graduate from our program.

Our accredited academy is included with our therapeutic programs. Here your student will receive individualized attention to get them back on track academically. Our 5:1 student to staff ratio ensures your child will be provided with the tools they need for success!

Learn More

If your teen is struggling with underage drinking, then Shepherd’s Hill Academy may be what your teen needs to start on the path to a successful future.

Inquire Online today, or give us a Call to see how we can help your teen.