Teenage Alcoholism: Warning Signs & How You Can Help

Did you know that more than half of Americans aged 12 – 20 have experimented with alcohol? Adolescents who drink are at a high risk of engaging in various dangerous activities. Learn more about teenage alcoholism, warning signs, and how you can help.

If you or a loved one need a safe space to stay sober, our sober living environment at The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation may be right for you. Contact us and learn how we can help.

Risks Associated with Teenage Drinking

Teens are still developing. When drinking alcohol, their ability to make smart, informed decisions significantly decreases. Making poor choices at an early age can lead to long-term consequences that impact their future and health.

Some of the primary risks associated with teenage drinking include:

  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Drunk driving
  • Destroying property
  • Engaging in violence
  • Getting arrested
  • Engaging in risky sexual behaviors
  • Falling victim to sexual assault
  • Experimenting with other drugs
  • Long-term organ damage
  • Impaired memory
  • Decreased academic performance

Warning Signs

Parents and loved ones need to know what to look for to identify if the teen is experimenting with alcohol. These are some key warning signs of teenage alcoholism:

  • Difficulty getting up for school in the morning (more so than usual)
  • Covering up school absences
  • Withdrawing from formerly close friends and family
  • Withdrawing from extracurricular activities
  • Being sick or exhausted often
  • Appearance of unaccounted-for bottles or cans in their room or the garbage
  • Stealing money
  • Radical changes in behavior
  • Spending time with new people who are poor influences, such as friends who drink
  • Drinking in isolation
  • Drinking more frequently
  • Drinking large amounts at a time

How You Can Help

If you suspect your loved one is experiencing teenage alcoholism, here are some ways you can help them get back on the right track:

  • Confront them directly. Present your teen with evidence as to why you believe they are experiencing teenage alcoholism. Point out their mood swings, how you’ve found their empty bottles, and anything else that has been telltale warning signs.
  • Get to the root of their behavior. Ask your child what lead them to start drinking. Perhaps they were peer pressured and wanted to fit in, or maybe they’ve been struggling with anxiety. Whatever the case, it’s important to know the root of their behavior to help them recover. Addressing these issues is what will help them find an alternative coping method to drinking.
  • Provide professional help. It’s best to convince your teen why they need to seek professional help so that they do so willingly. However, a parent or guardian has the legal ability to enroll them in professional help even if they are unwilling.

Consider The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation

It’s important to be aware of the risks of teenage alcoholism, the warning signs, and how you can help. If you believe your teen’s drinking habits have gone too far and that they need assistance pursuing their sobriety, The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation is here to help. A sober living environment will allow your teen to recover in a supportive, understanding community. To learn more, contact us to discover how we can provide the help your teen needs.