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Teens, adolescents, and young adults often drink alcohol to relax, socialize or celebrate. However, those struggling with alcohol use disorder (AUD) drink too much, putting themselves and others at risk.

AUD is a chronic and relapsing brain disorder manifested by compulsive alcohol use, loss of control over alcohol consumption and a negative state of mind when not drinking. Approximately, 16 million people struggle with AUD in the United States. Alcohol is immediately observed in the bloodstream, increasing blood alcohol concentration (BAC). The higher the BAC, the more impaired one becomes due to the effects of alcohol.

Consequences of Underage Drinking

Using alcohol early in life can lead to various short- and long-term consequences like:

  • Confusion
  • Motor impairment
  • Slurred speech
  • Reduced inhibitions
  • Breathing problems
  • Concentration problems
  • Memory problems
  • Coma
  • Death

Other problems can be accidents, violent and risky behavior, suicide and homicide.

Physical Effects of Alcohol

Excessive alcohol consumption at one time or over a period of time can have debilitating consequences on the body such as:

  • Disruption of communication pathways of the brain resulting in mood changes and coordination problems
  • Cardiac side-effects like cardiomyopathy (stretching and sagging of the heart muscle), arrhythmias (irregular heart beat), high blood pressure (hypertension), and stroke
  • Liver disorders like fatty liver disease, alcoholic hepatitis, fibrosis, and cirrhosis
  • Weakened immune system making one susceptible to diseases like pneumonia and even tuberculosis
  • Inflammation and swelling of the pancreatic blood vessels leading to pancreatitis.
  • Development of various types of cancers like head and neck cancers, breast cancer, liver cancer, esophageal cancer, and colorectal cancer.

Symptoms of Teen Alcohol Addiction

Teens using alcohol display changes in personal appearance, behavior, performance at school, relationship troubles, health indicators, social habits, friend circles, and more. Look for the following signs and symptoms to determine alcohol use in your teen:

Personal appearance: Adolescents indulging in alcohol abuse tend to ignore personal hygiene. They would appear unkempt and would experience sudden and unexplained weight loss or gain.

Behavioral symptoms: These include changes in the overall personality of the teen using alcohol. They would display an increased need for privacy, drastic mood swings, irritability, oversensitivity and resentful behavior.

Performance at school: One would notice a drop in the grades of an adolescent indulging in alcohol. Further, they would defy authority, display risk-taking behavior and would lose interest in studies and other school-related activities.

Relationship trouble: Young adults using alcohol would withdraw from friends and family and show a disinterest and non-engagement in family-related activities.

Other indicators of teens indulging in alcohol use include depression, disturbed and unusual sleep patterns, excessive sweatiness, nausea, unexpected nose bleeds, dilated pupils or bloodshot eyes, vomiting and nausea.

Underage Drinking

In the United States, alcohol is the most widely abused substance among the youth.

  • The 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey revealed that among the high school students, in the last 30 days, 30 percent consumed some quantity of alcohol, 14 percent indulged in binge drinking, 6 percent drove under the influence of alcohol and 17 percent rode with a driver who was under the influence of alcohol.
  • According to the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 19.7 percent Americans aged between 12 and 20 years drank alcohol and 11.9 percent reported binge drinking in the last 30 days.
  • The Monitoring the Future Survey of 2017 revealed that 8 percent of eighth graders and 33 percent of twelfth graders indulged in drinking in the last 30 days and 2 percent of eighth graders and 19 percent of twelfth graders binge drank during the same period.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD)

Fetal alcohol exposure occurs when the mother-to-be drinks during her pregnancy. Alcohol consumption in any amount is unsafe during pregnancy. It can lead to a range of cognitive, developmental, and behavioral changes in the fetus. These changes can surface anytime during childhood. According to research, binge drinking or taking more than four drinks on a single occasion can be detrimental to fetal health. Individuals struggling with FASD face difficulties in coordination, socialization, emotional control, school work, and holding onto a job. They are poor at decision making, trust the wrong people and repeat their mistakes.

Risk Factors of FASD

The severity of FASD is determined by how much and at what stage does a female drink during her pregnancy. However, some other factors can also qualify as risk factors. These are:

  • High exposure to stress
  • Isolation in the social setting
  • Compromised prenatal care
  • Little knowledge about FASD
  • Malnutrition and poor health
  • Living in a setting where binge drinking is common

Special Population

Some of the special populations are vulnerable to the effects of alcohol because of their age, gender or ethnic history. These special populations are:

  • Individuals under the age of 21 years
  • Older adults
  • College students
  • Ethnic and racial minorities
  • Females

Dual Diagnosis

Prolonged use of alcohol can change brain chemistry leading to the development of a mental illness. This is known as dual diagnosis, that is the simultaneous presence of an AUD and a mental disorder.

Alcohol Addiction Treatment at ADEONA Healthcare

Alcohol addiction treatment plans for teens are different from those used for adults. ADEONA Healthcare, a world leader in teen addiction treatment, addresses both the symptoms and the cause for alcohol abuse.

The first step of treatment for alcohol addiction at ADEONA Healthcare is a detox program. Our state-of-the-art treatment center at Rancho San Diego provides a healthy environment conducive for healing while allowing the patient to deal with the withdrawal symptoms. Once the detox is complete, the ensuing treatment is started during which the teen is taught coping mechanisms through behavioral and experiential therapies. After treatment, support groups and continuing care ensure that the recovery is long-lasting.

For more information about how ADEONA Healthcare can help someone you know, please get in touch with our 24/7 helpline (888) 997-3966. You may even chat online with our representative for immediate resolution.

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