With drinking a relatively common part of teen culture, parents need to learn how talking to teens about alcohol can prevent substance abuse issues. Alcohol is a neurotransmitter inhibitor that is physically and psychologically addictive. Recreational drinking can lead to abuse, as well as dependency. Teens are more susceptible to engaging in risky behavior, such as binge drinking because their brain is still developing.
Another reason why talking to teens about alcohol is important is that excessive drinking can cause alcohol poisoning, which requires emergency medical treatment. Adolescence is a trying time, as teens must balance academic, social, and extracurricular responsibilities. Stress and peer pressure increase the risk of teens experimenting with alcohol. If your teen needs adolescent alcohol abuse treatment, contact our North Carolina addiction treatment center today.
Talking to Teens About Alcohol
With most 18 year-olds and nearly 30% of 15 year-olds drinking alcohol at least once, talking to teens about alcohol is important because recreational drinking can lead to severe consequences. Peer pressure is more influential among teens than adults, which can increase the risk of teens experimenting with alcohol and other substances.
Teens who drink are more likely to try other substances, such as marijuana, prescription medication, and opiates. Parents should be open-minded, understanding, and realistic when talking to teens about alcohol. It is important to provide your teen with accurate information and discuss how your teen should handle potential problems, such as drunk driving. You can tell your teen to call you if they are drunk and drove to the social event to ensure they avoid making dangerous decisions.
When talking to teens about alcohol, it is also wise to explain the potential consequences of underage drinking, which can include:
- Underage drinking charges
- Driving while intoxicated charges
- Ethanol poisoning
Although talking to teens about alcohol may not prevent your teen from drinking, it can reduce their risk of experiencing potentially life-altering consequences, such as experiencing a car accident because they drove drunk.
Anyone can develop an alcohol abuse disorder, as addiction does not discriminate. That makes it important to understand the signs of teen alcohol abuse. Although underage drinking is illegal, teens can obtain access to alcohol in a variety of ways, such as:
- Stealing alcohol from parents
- Using a fake identification card
- Paying adults to purchase alcohol for them
If you notice alcohol missing from your home or find a falsified identification card in your teen’s room, it may indicate they are abusing alcohol. Alcoholism is a chronic condition that can cause physical problems, such as liver problems and cognitive damage. Since alcohol abuse is a progressive condition, symptoms become worse until you become sober.
It can be difficult to recover from an alcohol abuse disorder without treatment because alcohol abuse causes alterations to your brain chemistry. Your brain associates alcohol and everything that reminds you of it, with pleasure. Anytime you drink, your pleasure and reward center releases a rush of pleasurable neurotransmitters. When you are sober, your brain restricts the release of neurotransmitters.
Cravings occur when you are exposed to triggers, which can make it hard to resist drinking. Peer pressure is another potential trigger, especially among teens. Teens are more cognizant of social acceptance than adults, which can make them more likely to drink if their friends consume alcohol.
When you develop an alcohol abuse disorder, effective treatment ensures you have the support, tools, and structure you need to achieve sobriety. Teen alcohol abuse treatment can occur in an inpatient setting. Alcohol abuse treatment programs provide you with healthy coping strategies to resist cravings. Another important part of teen alcohol abuse treatment is teaching teens how to identify and change negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.