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Alcohol use problems in teens can be identified by two-question screening tool
Sep 20 2019

Alcohol use problems in teens can be identified by two-question screening tool

Addiction Teen Alcohol Addiction

According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), nearly 2.2 million individuals aged between 12 to 17 consumed alcohol in the previous month, which comprised of 1.2 million binge drinkers and 131,000 teens who were into heavy drinking. The legal age to buy alcohol in the U.S. is 21. Unfortunately, underage drinking is a major public health concern making it imperative to identify such teens and help them get treatment.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) has introduced a new simple and quick tool to identify the youth at risk for alcohol-related disorders. As per this tool, youth are “screened” on the basis of two questions:

  • Personal drinking frequency
  • Friends’ drinking frequency

The questions, however, varied slightly for middle and high school students and were followed-up by 3 other questions. Screening could be defined as the testing of people from a certain population to evaluate the likeliness of the group in developing certain disorders such as addiction.

Tool helps identify current AUD and those at risk

In a recent survey, 2209 participants aged between 12 to 17 who were being treated for non-life-threatening injuries or mental health disorders were screened for alcohol use disorder (AUD) based on these two questions. Initial screening showed that teenagers who were classified as non-drinkers had the fewest drinking days after 3 follow-ups. Those identified with the highest risk for AUD had the highest number of drinking days. They were also likely to have AUD within 1 to 2 years of the initial screening.

Speaking on the two-question screening tool, Dr. Michael G. Bruke, chairman, Department of Pediatrics, St. Agnes Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland, said that the tool works for those having current AUD as well as for those at the highest risk of developing the disorder. He added that even though the screening is quick, one must be ready with a plan in case of a positive response.

Benefits of screening tool

According to the statistics presented in the 2018 NSDUH report, approximately 401,000 teenagers between the ages of 12 to 17 suffered from an AUD in the past year. It is essential that the health and wellbeing of children remains top priority. The benefits of the tool developed by the NIAAA are as follows:

  • Quick and multipurpose: It involves only two questions and can be easily combined with the patient’s pre-assessment.
  • Helps in early detection: The tool helps in the early detection of AUD in teens which helps in prevention.
  • Based on experience: The tool is based on experience and has been developed after extensive surveys while keeping the current and future effects of AUD in mind.
  • Includes peer: This tool is first of its kind to include the drinking habits of the patient’s friends. This helps in identifying the patient’s exposure to alcohol and thus identifying those at a high risk.

Treatment for alcohol use

Several studies have shown that alcohol is the preferred choice of drugs amongst teens. An adolescent’s first experimentation usually begins with alcohol. Teen alcohol use often leads to several problems such as aggression, infections, unwanted pregnancies, HIV from unprotected sex, and mental health disorders as well. Prolonged alcohol use leads to dependency and addiction later on in life.

If you know a teen showing symptoms of alcohol abuse, then get in touch with Adeona Healthcare. A leading addiction treatment center for teens aged between 12 to 17, Adeona Healthcare offers evidence-based treatment approaches for treating alcohol abuse in teens. Call our 24/7 helpline (888) 997-3966 and speak to a certified representative to understand the kind of plans we offer. You can also chat online with our representative to seek proper guidance and avail our customized world-class alcohol addiction treatment for teens at our teen alcohol treatment facility.