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Teen Drinking

How Do I Recognize If My Teenager Is Using Drugs Or Alcohol?

Posted by Sue Scheff on May 24, 2020  /   Posted in Featured Article, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Parenting Teens, Residential Therapy, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Depression, Teen Drug Use, Teen Help, Troubled Teens

How Do I Recognize If My Teenager Is Using Drugs Or Alcohol?

This is a difficult question that many parents have to face on a daily basis.

By Shawnda P. Burns, LMHC, CAP

Parents who spend a great deal of time with their teenagers are often tuned into what is normal behavior and what is not.  However, even parents who are actively involved in the daily activities of their teenagers may overlook – or subconsciously deny – the earliest signs of a substance abuse problem.

Some of the clues that your teenager may exhibit when using drugs or alcohol are fairly subtle, but others are rather obvious:

*Many hours spent alone, especially in their room; persistent isolation from the rest of the family.  This is particular suspicious in a youngster who had not been a loner until now.

*Resistance to taking with or confiding in parents, secretiveness, especially in a teenager who had previously been open.  Be sure that your teenager is not being secretive because every time he tries to confide in you, you jump on him or break his confidence.

*There is marked change for the worse in performance and attendance at school and/or job or other responsibilities as well as in dress, hygiene, grooming, frequent memory lapses, lack of concentration, and unusual sleepiness.

*A change of friends; from acceptable to unacceptable.

*Pronounced mood swings with irritability, hostile outbursts, and rebelliousness.  Your teenager may seem untrustworthy, insincere or even paranoid.

*Lying, usually in order to cover up drinking or drug using behavior as well as sources of money and possessions; stealing, shoplifting, or encounters with the police.

*Abandonment of wholesome activities such as sports, social service and other groups, religious services, teen programs, hobbies, and even involvement in family life.

*Unusual physical symptoms such as dilated or pinpoint pupils, bloodshot eyes, frequent nosebleeds, changes in appetite, digestive problems, excessive yawning, and the shakes.

These are just a few of the warning signs that can be recognized.  Be careful not to jump to the conclusion that your teenager may be using when you see such behavior.

Evaluate the situation.  Talk to your teenager.  Try to spend time with her so that she feels that she can trust you.  By creating a home that is nurturing, she will understand that despite of unhealthy choices that she will always get the love and moral support that she deserves.

Building a strong relationship with your teenager now will mean that in time of crises your love, support, wisdom, and experience won’t be shut out of your teenager’s decision making.

If you have a suspicion that your teenager is involved in the use of drugs or alcohol, don’t hesitate to bring the subject up.  The sooner the problem is identified and treated, the better the chances that your teenager’s future will be safeguarded.  Raising the subject will be easier if you already have good communication in the family.

Discuss the ways in which you can seek help together.  An evaluation by a substance abuse professional may be the key to understanding what is really going on with your teenager.

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If you have exhausted your local resources, such as therapists, out-patient and possible short-term in-patient, and still find that your teenager is struggling with behavior issues, it might be time to consider residential therapy. Contact us for more information.

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Signs of Teenage Drug and Alcohol Use

Posted by Sue Scheff on April 12, 2020  /   Posted in Mental Illness, Parenting Teens, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Depression, Teen Drug Use, Teen Help, Troubled Teens

Signs of Alcohol Abuse and Drug Use in Teens

By Meredith Bonacci, PhD

Your teen has been acting differently lately; you are worried but can’t figure out what’s going on. There are several warning signs of drug use in teens to look for if you truly are worried that your child might be using drugs or alcohol.

Remember that one sign does not absolutely confirm use, but it’s important to remain on the lookout for teenage drug and alcohol use.

Warning Signs of Drug Use In Teens

1. Changes in appearance and behavior

There may be subtle or stark changes in your teen’s appearance and behavior as a result of using drugs and alcohol. It may be easier to notice when they are under the influence. There would be several changes in appearance and behavior, such as:

  • bloodshot eyes (may use eye drops to try and mask this)
  • larger or smaller pupils
  • slurred speech
  • impaired coordination
  • smell of drugs or alcohol on breath or clothing (may use air freshener or incense to cover odors).

However, it is sometimes harder to notice the other signs your teen is on drugs or alcohol, which persist even when they are not under the influence. These include:

  • changes in appetite
  • changes in sleep patterns
  • sudden weight loss or gain
  • tremors
  • smell of drugs or alcohol on clothing or other belongings
  • finding drug or alcohol related items is another red flag (rolling papers, pipes, small plastic baggies or vials, short straws, bottle caps, or remnants of drugs)

2. Changes in relationships and responsibilities

Any drastic change in relationships or responsibilities may be a sign of teenage drug or alcohol use. Some examples of “drastic changes” would be:

  • spending time with an entirely new peer group
  • getting into trouble
  • disregarding rules (either at school, in the neighborhood, or any legal issues)
  • failing or skipping classes
  • secretive or suspicious behavior; for example, suddenly demanding more privacy or locks on bedroom door,
  • lying about their whereabouts
  • unexplained need for money
  • sneaking out of home or school.
  • a “code” for drugs and alcohol terminology, so that it can not be detected by parents during phone or text conversations.
  • disregard curfew, while many teens rebel against curfews, teenagers who are using drugs or alcohol may disregard curfew and create hard to believe or weak cover stories
  • choosing to stay home from family outings, holidays, or weekend trips to spend unsupervised time with friends
  • missing items from the house like money, expensive items, or prescriptions

3. Changes in mood and motivation

The psychological changes that result from drug or alcohol use may be less apparent than the above changes, but are still very important to watch for. Drug and alcohol use could result in otherwise unexplained changes in personality or outlook. For example, your teenager may have been relatively even tempered, but suddenly begins having angry outbursts, mood swings, or engaging in violent behavior. At the other end of the continuum, drug and alcohol use could result in sudden loss of interest in activities and hobbies and drastic decline in energy and motivation. For example, your teenager was an active athlete and thriving student, who suddenly becomes lethargic and looses motivation in both school and sports.

How You Can Help

1. Have a conversation.

Don’t wait until it has become a problem to have a conversation with your son or daughter about substance use. Ask about the level of drugs and alcohol that is being used at parties, free periods, before/after school. And if the answer is “yes, some kids I know do that stuff” or something along those lines, don’t freak out! Have a discussion (not a lecture) about drugs, alcohol, and the potential dangers. Try to make this discussion collaborative. Ask how they have handled it in the past and how they can continue to make responsible choices.

2. Monitor your teen’s activity.

This means every day (not just on the weekends). It is important to know where they are and who they are with. Some parents also choose to search the home for drugs and alcohol, other parents choose to lock up prescription pills and liquor that is in the home.

3. Establish appropriate rules and consequences for drugs and alcohol use.

Consult with your spouse or partner about what appropriate rules and consequences would be. Make sure that you both feel comfortable enforcing them. When you set a limit, it is crucially important that you send a consistent message from both parents. Follow through so that your teenager knows you mean business.

4. Get professional help if needed.

If your teenager continues to use drugs and alcohol, call a psychologist or social worker. It is important to reach out to a mental health clinician who specializes in substance use treatment.

5. Encourage your teenager!

Sports, reading, volunteer work, after school job, or other constructive hobbies will occupy their time outside of school. When teens are busy with fun and rewarding activities, they are less likely to experiment with drugs and alcohol.

Article contributed by Your Teen Magazine for Parents. Sign-up for your newsletter today.

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If you believe your teen is using or abusing drugs or alcohol, you have exhausted your local resources, please contact us for more information on residential therapy.

 

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Seven Signs Your Teen is Hiding Drug or Alcohol Abuse

Posted by Sue Scheff on May 11, 2016  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help, Troubled Teens

7DrugsThere are over 7,800 new users of illicit drugs, daily. Over half of those new users are minors. Marijuana, over-the-counter, prescription, ecstasy, and cocaine are among the most popular drugs teens use – but how are parents getting in front of their teen’s drug use before it starts?

TeenSafe, one of the most popular parental monitoring services, wants to empower parents with the tools to monitor and manage a child’s online activity in order to help know when they need to open a dialogue and start a conversation, before their activities lead to serious problems.

Below is a roundup of signs your teen may be hiding drug or alcohol abuse.

7 Signs your teens is hiding or abusing drugs or alcohol:

1.       Suddenly messy or unkempt appearance – A teen abusing substances may suddenly become messy or unkempt, have poor hygiene, or have unexplained marks or burns

2.       Separate social groups – Teens are more likely to do drugs in social situations. The introduction of drugs or alcohol also often comes with new friends, separate social groups, or the loss of old friends

3.       Sudden drop in grades – If your teen’s abuse has led to addiction, it can also impact their academic performance, including increased truancy, sudden drops in grades, or loss of interest in extracurricular activities

4.       Unexplained income – Dealing with drugs can lead to dealing drugs. Be on the lookout for unexplained income, cash flow problems, increased requests for money, or signs of theft

5.       Dramatic weight loss or gain – Signs that substance abuse is impacting your teen’s health include dramatic weight loss or gain, erratic sleep schedule, slurred or unintelligible speech, and clumsiness or lack of balance

6.       Altered emotional state – Drugs and alcohol don’t just affect a child’s physical health. It also alters their mental and psychological well-being, causing rapid mood swings, loss of inhibitions, loss of focus, and hyperactivity

7.       Abrupt personality change – Perhaps the most worrisome sign is that substances can create changes in the core personality of your teen. If your teen has developed secretive behavior, the tendency to lie, or depression, it may be time to seek help

7SignsAlcoholAbuse

If you believe your teen is struggling with substance abuse, seek help through a local therapist.  If you have exhausted your local resources and it doesn’t seem to be helping, please contact us for options in residential therapy. There are programs that will accept PPO insurance and IEPs as a portion of their tuition.

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How To Keep Your Teens Safe On Prom Night

Posted by Sue Scheff on April 08, 2016  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help

PromHilary2016_2From picking a dress or tux to asking a date, prom night can be an exciting time in teens’ lives, however it can stressful for parents. Unfortunately, prom night is not only associated with fun music and dancing, but also with peer pressure, drinking and sex. To keep kids safe on prom night, follow these tips:

Have a written timeline.

If your teen plans on hopping from place to place on prom night to meet up with friends, go out to dinner and then to the dance, it’s best to have a written timeline of their activities. Go through the night step-by-step with them to make sure you know what time they’ll be at each location and what they’ll be doing. With all of the commotion going on during prom night, you may be unable to get in touch with your teen.  Parents can easily check teens’ locations with a cell phone tracker when they begin to worry about why they can’t get in touch. This tracker will put your fears at ease without disturbing your teen’s fun night!

Talk about underage drinking.

Many teens think that celebrating prom night isn’t complete without alcohol, so to keep your child safe, it’s important to have conversations about underage drinking early on. Make sure you expressly say you do not approve of underage drinking, since 80% of teens say their parents are the leading influence on their decision not to drink. Also, let teens know that you’ll be able to tell if they’ve been drinking. Some teens think they can sneak it by their parents without getting caught, so if you make them aware that this is not the case, they’ll be less likely to engage in this dangerous behavior.

PromHilary2016Have the talk.

Teens may find themselves feeling pressured to have sex on prom night, so it’s important for parents to prepare them for what may happen. Although this may be an awkward conversation for teens to have with their parents, it’s crucial for their safety since 63% of high school seniors have sex. Talk to teens about saying no and being assertive when they don’t feel comfortable, and warn them about different scenarios they may be in. You may want to give teens a secret code or phrase that they can text you or call you with if they want to be picked up, but don’t want others around them to know.

Be there for teens.

Remind your teens that no matter what happens, you’ll be there for them on prom night. Many teens may be nervous to call their parents for help if they find themselves in an uncomfortable situation on prom night. It’s important to let them know that you would rather they reach out to you for help than make bad decisions.

Arrange transportation.

Teens tend to travel in groups to prom, so it’s essential that parents find out who will be driving. Even if you trust your own teen not to drink, if they’re driving with someone else, you have to trust this person to make smart decisions as well. Some parents choose to carpool teens themselves or arrange for a limo service. Either way, make sure that transportation to and from prom is arranged ahead of time so teens don’t have to jump in the car with someone they don’t know at the last minute.

Don’t wait until the last minute to talk to your teens about staying safe on prom night. As they plan their memorable evening, have small conversations every step of the way to make sure you’re reinforcing your expectations, love and support.

Contributor: Hilary Smith

About Hilary Smith: Born and raised in Austin, TX, Hilary Smith is a free-lance journalist whose love of gadgets, technology and business has no bounds. After becoming a parent she now enjoys writing about family and parenting related topics.

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How Advertising Affects Teen Consumption of Alcohol

Posted by Sue Scheff on February 28, 2016  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Residential Therapy, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help, Troubled Teens

TeenDrinking5It is easy to ignore the effects that advertising has on the habits of our teens, yet research suggests that exposure to specific marketing campaigns does, indeed, lead to unhealthy choices. One study (Wellman et al, 2006) found that exposure to tobacco marketing increased smoking by teens, and another (Hastings et al) concluded that food marketing increases food intake and the likelihood of obesity. Alcoholism, too, is a risk, with various longitudinal studies showing a link between exposure to alcohol advertising, and increased consumption.

Important findings include:

  • 12-year-olds who are heavily exposed to alcohol advertising are 50 per cent more likely to start drinking one year later compared to those who are only slightly exposed to similar material (Collins et al, 2007).
  • Teenage males who own a promotional item from an alcohol manufacturer are almost twice as likely to start drinking alcohol than male teens who do not own these items; statistics are similar for female teens (for whom percentages are slightly lower). (McClure et al, 2009).
  • Teens who have been heavily exposed to alcohol marketing tend to drink greater amounts than those who are slightly exposed to similar material. (Snyder et al, 2006)
  • Youths who watch 60 per cent more alcohol advertising are 44 per cent more likely to have ever drunk beer and 26 per cent more likely to have consumed three or more alcoholic beverages on one occasion. ((Stacy et al, 2004).

In one important study carried out by researchers at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, it was found that one in every three youths choose a brand of alcohol based on advertising and marketing. The reasons for the choice of a specific brand include:

  • Fondnessfor a particular celebrity or brand ambassador who endorses a specific alcoholic product.
  • Taste: Some youths choose a particular brand because they expect that it will taste good.
  • Price: Youths can make their selection based on the low cost of some items.
  • Emulation: Youths can opt for a particular brand because they see adults drinking it or see movie or television stars make the same choice.

Those who see alcohol as a lesser problem for youths in the U.S, should think again: alcohol is the most commonly abused drug among teens in America; it causes over 4,000 deaths among youths, every year. Research shows that around 70 per cent of 12th grade students have consumed alcohol and the problem extends to younger students, with around 13 per cent of eight graders admitting that they have consumed alcohol in the previous 30 days.

Meanwhile, the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (2013) found that among high school students, in the 30 days prior to the survey, 21 per cent engaged in binge drinking, 10 per cent drove after drinking alcohol, and 22 per cent rode in a car driven by a person who had been drinking. Some 35 per cent in total consumed some amount of alcohol.

As a whole, it can be said that exposure to marketing and advertisements promoting alcohol, is linked to a greater chance of teens starting to drink, and of teens drinking more than counterparts who have not been bombarded with promotional material. It is therefore vital that parents and teachers enlighten teens on these findings, so that they become more aware about the link between what they view, and the choices they make. They should also be presented with the facts: alcohol and drugs are the leading factors in teen suicide, over 23 million people aged 12 and above are addicted to alcohol or drugs, and there is a direct relationship between addiction and poor academic results.

Of course, advertising is not the only reason teens use drugs and consume alcohol. Other factors are in play, which should be recognized and addressed by parents and teachers. These include the influence of other teens, escape, boredom, rebellion and instant gratification. For others still, drugs and alcohol are a way to gain the confidence they might not otherwise have. These people may use alcohol to rid themselves of inhibition and social anxiety. Finally, misinformation is one of the biggest culprits as far as abuse and addiction are concerned. Most teenagers will come across friends who used drugs and alcohol, yet seem to be functioning at school and socially. It is vital that schools and families work together to enlighten children on the pure, unadulterated facts regarding drugs and alcohol.

It is easy to ignore the effects that advertising has on the habits of our teens, yet research suggests that exposure to specific marketing campaigns does, indeed, lead to unhealthy choices. One study (Wellman et al, 2006) found that exposure to tobacco marketing increased smoking by teens, and another (Hastings et al) concluded that food marketing increases food intake and the likelihood of obesity. Alcoholism, too, is a risk, with various longitudinal studies showing a link between exposure to alcohol advertising, and increased consumptionImportant findings include:

  • 12-year-olds who are heavily exposed to alcohol advertising are 50 per cent more likely to start drinking one year later compared to those who are only slightly exposed to similar material (Collins et al, 2007).
  • Teenage males who own a promotional item from an alcohol manufacturer are almost twice as likely to start drinking alcohol than male teens who do not own these items; statistics are similar for female teens (for whom percentages are slightly lower). (McClure et al, 2009).
  • Teens who have been heavily exposed to alcohol marketing tend to drink greater amounts than those who are slightly exposed to similar material. (Snyder et al, 2006)
  • Youths who watch 60 per cent more alcohol advertising are 44 per cent more likely to have ever drunk beer and 26 per cent more likely to have consumed three or more alcoholic beverages on one occasion. ((Stacy et al, 2004).

In one important study carried out by researchers at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, it was found that one in every three youths choose a brand of alcohol based on advertising and marketing. The reasons for the choice of a specific brand include:

  • Fondnessfor a particular celebrity or brand ambassador who endorses a specific alcoholic product.
  • Taste: Some youths choose a particular brand because they expect that it will taste good.
  • Price: Youths can make their selection based on the low cost of some items.
  • Emulation: Youths can opt for a particular brand because they see adults drinking it or see movie or television stars make the same choice.

Those who see alcohol as a lesser problem for youths in the U.S, should think again: alcohol is the most commonly abused drug among teens in America; it causes over 4,000 deaths among youths, every year. Research shows that around 70 per cent of 12th grade students have consumed alcohol and the problem extends to younger students, with around 13 per cent of eight graders admitting that they have consumed alcohol in the previous 30 days.

Meanwhile, the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (2013) found that among high school students, in the 30 days prior to the survey, 21 per cent engaged in binge drinking, 10 per cent drove after drinking alcohol, and 22 per cent rode in a car driven by a person who had been drinking. Some 35 per cent in total consumed some amount of alcohol.

As a whole, it can be said that exposure to marketing and advertisements promoting alcohol, is linked to a greater chance of teens starting to drink, and of teens drinking more than counterparts who have not been bombarded with promotional material. It is therefore vital that parents and teachers enlighten teens on these findings, so that they become more aware about the link between what they view, and the choices they make. They should also be presented with the facts: alcohol and drugs are the leading factors in teen suicide, over 23 million people aged 12 and above are addicted to alcohol or drugs, and there is a direct relationship between addiction and poor academic results.

Of course, advertising is not the only reason teens use drugs and consume alcohol. Other factors are in play, which should be recognized and addressed by parents and teachers. These include the influence of other teens, escape, boredom, rebellion and instant gratification. For others still, drugs and alcohol are a way to gain the confidence they might not otherwise have. These people may use alcohol to rid themselves of inhibition and social anxiety. Finally, misinformation is one of the biggest culprits as far as abuse and addiction are concerned. Most teenagers will come across friends who used drugs and alcohol, yet seem to be functioning at school and socially. It is vital that schools and families work together to enlighten children on the pure, unadulterated facts regarding drugs and alcohol.

Contributor: Helen Canning – Now working primarily as a writer, Helen Canning used to work in the health care sector, initially in social care. After battling her own problems with depression and stress, she decided to leave the pressure of her job behind and become a stay-at-home writer. It fits in perfectly with raising her two children and means she can pen articles on the topics she knows most about.

If you feel your teen is struggling with an alcohol problem, don’t waste time in seeking them help. If you have exhausted your local resources and feel outside options might be your last resort, contact us for information on what’s available for your teen’s individual needs.

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Teen Alcoholism: What is the Mentality Behind It?

Posted by Sue Scheff on November 13, 2015  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Residential Therapy, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help, Troubled Teens

Teen drinking, which is underage drinking, is an issue that many parents face.

Being an educated and prepared parent helps to keep your child safer.

The Pre-Game
Teens often indulge in a “pre-game” drinking binge before parties or sports events. Large quantities are consumed quickly in order to sustain a sense of inebriation over many hours. The point of a pre-game binge is to achieve inebriation before an event where access to alcohol and drugs will be restricted.

Pre-gaming is especially dangerous in that it often occurs in a vehicle. Although drinking can occur during the drive to the event, teens may also drink in the parking lot of the event venue. Alcohol can also be smuggled into venues, disguised in water bottles or hidden inside large purses or jackets.

The Parent Game Plan: Before parties and big events, be involved as your teen prepares. When possible, drive your teen and his friends to the venue. As always, be honest with your teen about the dangers of drinking and your stance on the issue.

Working for the Weekend
Some kids work hard all week on academics and sports, but see the weekend as a time to partake in illicit activities and party behavior. This mindset is especially prevalent at competitive high schools. This attitude toward drugs and alcohol equates recreation as something that is rebellious against responsibility and is seen as a reward for good behavior. After working hard, they feel as though they deserve to play hard. This type of attitude can lead to a dependence on drugs or alcohol as a means to relax.

The Parent Game Plan: Explain to your teen that responsible behavior throughout the week does not warrant complete independence. It is also important to teach your teen positive ways to relax. Positive recreational activities and hobbies not only occupy a teen’s time, but they also offer a sense of accomplishment and self-worth that alcohol and drugs can never provide.

Social Lubricant
Let’s face it. Being a teenager is difficult, and social interaction can be awkward. Many teens drink to feel less inhibited and more secure in social settings. Unfortunately, some teens will drink in response to anxiety about a crush, which heightens the risk of poor sexual decisions. Forming these habits during formative years can have a drastic effect on a teen, potentially making it difficult for her to socialize without alcohol or other substances.

The Parent Game Plan: Teens needs to learn how to face the fears and risks of social interaction in a substance-free environment. Host co-ed movie nights or game nights for your teen’s friends and serve as a chaperone. Sometimes teenagers turn to illicit activities because the peer group doesn’t accept wholesome activities as fun. It is your job to provide your teenager with a healthy example of “adult” fun.

Another option is to introduce your teen to an older mentor. Encouraging your teen to spend time with mentors with similar interests can help him adapt to a more mature standard of behavior. This will also give your teen the opportunity to talk about embarrassing or difficult situations he may not be able to come to you about.

For the Win
During unsupervised parties, many kids participate in drinking games popularized by college students. While these games can seem as harmless as table tennis to teenagers, the truth is those who participate in drinking games are at a higher risk for developing alcoholism. Once teens accept the rules of these games, the height of tolerance levels is tantamount to strength. These teens think they are winning at a game, but they are actually exposing their brains to toxic levels of alcohol.

Essentially drinking games are a way for teenagers to bond while participating in binge drinking behavior. Unlike pre-gaming, there is no time limit in drinking games. This means that many teens will drink until their physical limits are reached. Alcohol poisoning and black-outs are two immediate effects of binge drinking.

The Parent Game Plan: Teenagers who binge drink will be unable to hide the effects from their parents, which means they will most likely “crash” where the party was thrown or they will stay with a friend who has lenient or oblivious parents. Parents can discourage binge drinking by confirming plans with other parents and enforcing curfews. Let your teenager know that you expect him not only to behave responsibly, but to look out for his friends who may be affected by this social behavior.

How to Stop Teen Alcohol Abuse

Be involved.

Parents who are involved in their teenagers lives – offering support, encouraging questions and providing wholesome outlets for socializing – are following the #1 rule to keeping their children safe from alcohol abuse.

Contributor: Lauren Bailey

If you suspect your teen is drinking, be sure to seek outside help. Have you exhausted your local resources and you find their behavior is escalating? Don’t be a parent in denial and believe this is only a phase they will grow out of. Sometimes it is, and sometimes it’s not. Learn more about your options if you feel you are at your wit’s end – contact us for more information.

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Teens and Underage Drinking

Posted by Sue Scheff on June 29, 2015  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help

TeensAlcoholWhether it’s summer break, back to college freedom or a Friday night without parents, underage drinking is a concern that parents need to take seriously.

Do you believe underage drinking is okay?

People have different philosophies about alcohol. One thing everyone can agree on is that drinking and driving kills, as does buzzed driving.  Especially with young drivers, such as teenagers, mixing alcohol with an automobile is not only potentially deadly for them, but for others on the road.

Facts About Underage Drinking:

You probably see and hear a lot about alcohol—from TV, movies, music, and your friends. But what are the real facts about underage alcohol use?

Myth Alcohol isn’t as harmful as other drugs.
FACT Alcohol increases your risk for many deadly diseases, such as cancer. Drinking too much alcohol too quickly can lead to alcohol poisoning, which can kill you.

Myth Drinking is a good way to loosen up at parties.
FACT Drinking is a dumb way to loosen up. It can make you act silly, say things you shouldn’t say, and do things you wouldn’t normally do (like get into fights).

Myth Drinking alcohol will make me cool.
FACT There’s nothing cool about stumbling around, passing out, or puking on yourself. Drinking alcohol also can cause bad breath and weight gain.

teendrinking4 (1)Myth All of the other kids drink alcohol. I need to drink to fit in.
FACT If you really want to fit in, stay sober. Most young people don’t drink alcohol. Research shows that more than 70 percent of youth age 12 to 20 haven’t had a drink in the past month.1
 
Myth I can sober up quickly by taking a cold shower or drinking coffee.
FACT On average, it takes 2 to 3 hours for a single drink to leave the body. Nothing can speed up the process, not even drinking coffee, taking a cold shower, or “walking it off.”

Myth Adults drink, so kids should be able to drink too.
FACT A young person’s brain and body are still growing. Drinking alcohol can cause learning problems or lead to adult alcoholism. People who begin drinking by age 15 are five times more likely to abuse or become dependent on alcohol than those who begin drinking after age 20.2
 
Myth Beer and wine are safer than liquor.
FACT Alcohol is alcohol. It can cause you problems no matter how you consume it. One 12-ounce bottle of beer or a 5-ounce glass of wine (about a half cup) has as much alcohol as a 1.5-ounce shot of liquor. Alcopops—sweet drinks laced with malt liquor—often contain more alcohol than beer!

underage_drinkingMyth I can drink alcohol and not have any problems.
FACT If you’re under 21, drinking alcohol is a big problem: It’s illegal. If caught, you may have to pay a fine, perform community service, or take alcohol awareness classes. Kids who drink also are more likely to get poor grades in school and are at higher risk for being a crime victim.

Sources

1 Office of Applied Studies (2008). Results from the 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National findings. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.2 Office of Applied Studies (2004). Alcohol dependence or abuse and age at first use. The NSDUH Report.


If your teen is struggling with a drinking problem, don’t hesitate to reach out for local help.  If they refuse to get help or you find it isn’t benefiting them, contact us to determine if residential therapy would be an option.   Exhausting your local resources is always your first path.

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