Teen Alcohol Abuse & Teenage Drinking Problems

Teen alcohol abuse often is downplayed. Given the prominence of teen drug abuse, this is not surprising. However, from binge drinking and alcohol poisoning to drunk driving, the dangers of teen alcohol abuse are real. They can’t be ignored.

It’s easy to think of alcohol use as part of the normal teen experience. But evidence shows that alcohol abuse in teens is far from benign.

For example, according to a study published by Reuters, the median onset of alcohol abuse was age 14. Note that the word here is “abuse.” These aren’t teens who are drinking just once, just for fun. These are teens who are developing serious problems with alcohol. Such drinking could progress into a lifelong addiction issue.

Teenage Binge Drinking and Intoxication Signs

Teens who are intoxicated with alcohol may believe that they’re keeping their symptoms hidden and well under control, yet the signs of intoxication and teen alcohol abuse may be remarkably easy to spot. These signals include:

  • Flushed face
  • Slurred speech
  • Lack of coordination
  • Half-closed eyes
  • Nausea
  • Giggling

Teens may ‘ in party situations, taking in huge amounts of alcohol all in one sitting and developing remarkably high levels of blood alcohol as a result. Teens who drink like this might develop alcohol poisoning. These teens may breathe very shallowly and slowly, until they’re not breathing at all. They might also feel cool to the touch and be completely unresponsive to any stimulus.

This is a medical emergency, and the teen must go to the hospital right away.

External Signs of Teen Alcohol Abuse that are Harder to Spot

Teens who abuse alcohol tend to mask the flavor of the alcohol with sweet, sugary mixtures such as cola or juice.

Teenagers who need to pack huge amounts of cola with them to take to another friend’s house might be holding up a red flag of teen alcohol abuse. In addition, teens who drink at home might filch alcohol from the family liquor cabinet, and then replace that alcohol with colored water.

Parents who suddenly notice that their own drinks seem remarkably weak might have a teen drinker living in the home.

Teens who abuse alcohol might also leave bottle caps in their bags or their cars, or they might begin to carry bottle openers on their key chains. Teens might also begin to carry small flasks or thermoses of alcohol with them to school. Since alcohol has a distinctive smell, these are rarely adequate disguises.

Get Help for your Teen Today!

According to a study published in the journal Health Education Research, parents who monitor their teens closely and make sure they are not drinking while with friends can keep their children from drinking. Close monitoring is associated with a lower consumption of alcohol, but teens who already drink to excess might need counseling in order to quit. Please call us at Newport Academy to find out more.