young man participating in underage drinkingAlthough today’s teens drink less than some teens of the past, underage drinking still presents a major problem. About 10 million teens drink now, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). A large percentage of these engage in unhealthy binge drinking and others abuse alcohol frequently.

If a teen in your life drinks alcohol, you know the fear this problem puts in your heart. But help is available for teens with a drinking problem. Through this help, they still have a chance for a bright future with freedom from addiction.

Impacts of Underage Drinking

Teens experience a higher likelihood of alcohol abuse than adults who drink. This is partly due to their brains not being fully developed. They do not make sound decisions because of their neurological immaturity. This means adults possess greater self-control around alcohol and concerning peer pressure.

The young person’s brain suffers some damage from alcohol abuse. The underage drinking delays puberty. Effects of alcohol abuse also include memory problems, poor coordination and motor skill problems later in life.

Teen impulse control is not mature enough to handle alcohol exposure. They do not understand the full picture of the consequences of their drinking. This puts them at higher risk for deadly drunk driving accidents and sexual assault.

When a teen engages in underage drinking, the whole family suffers. This problem puts immense stress on everyone in the household. It affects parents and causes many problems for siblings.

Genders and How They Drink

Males and females all face the same problems associated with underage drinking. But each gender has its own triggers and consequences of alcohol abuse. Girls experience a lower tendency to binge drink or suffer legal problems from drinking, as compared to boys.

Why they drink differs between boys and girls, too. Girls drink to deal with stress or anger, often choosing alcohol as a means of escaping problems. Family problems more likely cause young females to drink, than peer pressure. Boys commonly fall into drinking through peer influence and pressure to do so.

Teen Risk Factors for Drinking

Underage drinking is not as harmless as some parents think. Using alcohol early leads to a greater likelihood of alcohol dependence as an adult. Factors increasing the teen risk for alcohol abuse include:

  • Genetics
  • Family alcohol abuse
  • Peer group pressures
  • Depression, anxiety or other mental health issues

Researchers believe young people form an opinion of alcohol before starting elementary school. Expectations of how drinking will affect them develop in their minds at this young age. So the risk for teen drinking often relates to the impression they had of alcohol many years before their first drink.

Teens with social anxiety often believe drinking makes them more social and attractive. This puts them at risk for drinking problems. For many, drinking provides a means of fitting in among peers.

Help for Alcohol Dependence at Steps to Recovery

The earlier in life someone needs alcohol treatment, the more critical it is to involve the family in that treatment. Your teen or young adult needs help. But so does the rest of the family, as they suffered in the wake of the alcohol abuse.

In Levittown, PA, Steps to Recovery provides family-centered treatment for drug or alcohol addiction. This treatment includes a variety of therapies and programs meeting Joint Commission accreditation standards. So your loved one has a real chance of lifelong sobriety through treatment at Steps to Recovery.

Programs of Steps to Recovery include:

You can help the young person in your life achieve a successful, productive future. They need the right help now. That help takes place at Steps to Recovery. Call Steps to Recovery now at 866-488-8684 and learn about how to stop underage drinking.