Teenage Drinking – A Millennial Problem in Today’s World
High levels of alcohol consumption are directly proportional to damaging life effects, ranging from complex personal relationships to problems dealing with social situations. Teenage Drinking and the symptoms of alcoholism include tolerance to alcohol, withdrawal episodes, alcohol cravings, extended alcohol use, and problems managing life issues due to alcoholism. Los Angeles has the highest number of teenage drinkers in the state of California.
Alcoholism, now clinically called alcohol use disorder, is a substance-use disorder in which the consumer has problems managing how much and how frequently they drink alcohol.
Legal Age for Teenage Drinking in Los Angeles
The legal drinking age in Los Angeles is 21, but many teens can gain access to alcohol despite this age barrier. Alcohol often appears at social gatherings and parties where teens are present. Peer pressure leads to alcohol use among teens who have never consumed alcohol before.
Children grow up and become teenagers quickly. As they age, their social groups and gatherings change—their definition of fun changes. Princess acts and superhero games become childhood memories as teens enter the grown-up world. Under the mistaken assumption that most adults enjoy any social gathering with a glass of alcohol, teenagers begin to spice up their drinks for fun. Some may even enter into the realm of teen drug abuse.
Parents and Alcohol Restraint
Parents do their best to steer their children down the right road, but the temptation for teenage drinking is all around. If a child is determined to use alcohol, they will find a way. The child may lie about where he/she is going or what he/she is doing. Parents should be attentive to their teens and openly discuss alcohol use and abuse with them.
Teenagers who feel like they need to sneak around to use alcohol will employ all kinds of deceitful practices. They might add alcohol to soda or sports drinks. They may hide it in water bottles or reusable drink containers. Teens who are addicted to alcohol use will find a way to get it, no matter what lengths they have to go. Teens in Los Angeles may steal from parents or friends, having older people purchase it, or stealing from retail establishments. If you’re a parent and keep vodka in the home, a trick is to keep it in the freezer. Teens are smart nowadays and will empty some of your vodkas into their own containers – replacing your vodka with water to make it seem like nothing is missing from your vodka bottle. This is why you should keep vodka in the freezer because it won’t freeze – but water will.
The Adverse Effects of Alcoholism
Alcoholism is the result of many factors. A family history of alcohol is the single most influential factor in teen alcohol abuse. Seeing parents or other family members impaired by alcohol daily establishes a false norm in the teen’s mind. They begin to view the behavior as normal and acceptable.
Alcohol is the most frequently used drug by teenagers in Los Angeles, California. Statistics regarding alcohol use among teens indicate that half of junior high and senior high students drink alcohol every month. A high percentage of teens in California have been intoxicated at least once. Many admit to binge drinking. Learn more about our Los Angeles teen alcohol treatment program.
How to stop the chain?
Parents’ clear communication about the adverse effects of alcohol and their expectations regarding drug use has significantly decreased teenage drinking. Adequate parental supervision is a deterrent to alcohol use among youth. Alcohol, and other drug use, usually occur immediately after school, before parents arrive home from work, or on the weekends.
Therefore, teen participation in extracurricular activities is helpful in the prevention of alcohol use in this age group. Parents can also help educate teens about appropriate coping and stress-management strategies. Our Los Angeles-based Teen Outpatient Program provides structure to teens while helping pair them with passions and group therapy. If you or a teen you know is struggling with drugs or alcohol addiction, contact us today for a free and confidential consultation.
Signs of Alcohol Toxicity
- Signs that a person is intoxicated include the smell of alcohol on their breath, slurred speech, and a not well-kept appearance or hygiene. Other symptoms of intoxication include flushed skin and memory loss. Intoxication can result in a coma, in extreme instances.
- There are five stages of alcohol and drug abuse. The first stage involves access to alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, or other drugs. In this stage, minimizing the risk factors that make teenagers vulnerable should be the primary concern. Parents need to be sure teens don’t have access to these substances.
- The second stage of alcohol and drug abuse ranges from experimentation to the occasional use of alcohol, tobacco, inhalants, or other drugs.
- The third stage involves increasing the frequency of alcohol and drug use. This stage may also include the teenager illegally buying alcohol or drugs.
- In the fourth stage of alcohol and drug use, adolescents have established regular use. They become preoccupied with getting intoxicated and develop problems in their social, educational, or family life due to substance use.
- The final stage of alcohol or drug abuse involves the youth only feeling normal when they are intoxicated. During this stage, risk-taking behaviors may begin. Fighting or driving under the influence is a commonplace concern. Teens may also start, at this point, to have suicidal ideas.
Family Risk Factors of Alcohol Consumption
Specific family issues can contribute to teen alcohol abuse.
- Low parental supervision or communication.
- Family conflicts.
- Inconsistent or severe parental discipline.
- A family history of alcohol or drug abuse.
Individual problems can also contribute to teen alcohol abuse.
- Problems managing impulses.
- Emotional instability.
- Thrill-seeking behaviors.
- Downplaying the risk of using alcohol.
- Poverty and neighborhood violence are community risk factors for teen alcohol abuse disorder.
Alcohol use puts teenagers at risk of many consequences. Drinking large amounts of alcohol while developing one’s identity can stunt personal growth and make it difficult to juggle school and home responsibilities, potentially negatively affecting one’s future.
Alcohol Across Gender Groups
Girls in Los Angeles who drink alcohol often begin drinking before 14 years of age, and those whose mothers have drinking problems are more likely to develop alcoholism. While boys are more likely to binge drink and incur alcohol-related offenses, girls more often drink to cope with negative emotions or family problems or due to peer pressure. Teen risk factors for alcoholism differ a bit between the 14- 16-year-old and 16- 18-year-old age groups, in that 16- 18-year-olds are less likely to drink in excess if they have a close relationship with their mothers.
Societal risk factors for adolescent alcoholism include peer pressure and the portrayal of teen drinking in the media. For example, research shows that the Internet and advertising, including that on social media, promote drinking behaviors in teenagers.
Alcohol poisoning is the potentially fatal result of drinking too much alcohol in a short period. It slows down the body’s functions, potentially causing choking, coma, heart failure, and death. Treatment involves getting the person to the hospital immediately, so medical professionals can observe the patient, administer oxygen and fluids, and take other measures to prevent death.
Other Risks of Teenage Drinking
Teens who drink are more likely to be sexually active and have unprotected sex. Resulting pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases can change or even end lives.
The risk of injuring yourself, maybe even fatally, is higher when you’re under the influence, too. One-half of all drowning deaths among teenage boys are related to alcohol use! Using alcohol also increases the chance that a teen will be involved in a car crash. Teen drinkers are more likely to have long-term health problems, too.
Getting The Right Help is Essential.
Without treatment, teenagers who drink excessively are more likely to become problem drinkers as adults. Depending on the severity of alcohol misuse, teen alcohol treatment programs range from a teen outpatient program, to teen rehab facilities. All of these involve the teen’s parents, family and have the teen participate in alcohol abuse therapy groups.
Teens begin using alcohol due to several factors, including peer pressure, family issues, or a desire to do something daring. Parents need to talk openly to their teens about the dangers of alcohol use and drug abuse. Involve kids in family activities and sports. Provide positive role models for them. If your teen does begin using alcohol or drugs, contact our professionals at Key Transitions for a confidential and free consultation with an expert.