Latest Statistics for Teenage Alcohol Abuse

Friday, October 12th, 2012

Teenage alcohol abuse is a big problem in the United States as more teens use alcohol than smoke cigarettes and 70 percent of teens have had at least one drink by age 18. In 2011, 4.37 million teens, age 12 and older had tried alcohol for the first time within the past year, which means that 12,900 young people try an alcoholic beverage for the first time each day.

Statistics for teen drinking for 2011:

  • Approximately 6.1 million teens reported being binge drinkers.
  • About 1.37 million teens reported heavy drinking (meaning drinking a minimum of five drinks on each occasion).
  • Males are more likely to consume alcohol and suffer from teenage alcohol abuse than underage females as adolescent males tend to be higher risk takers.

While these statistics are shocking to some, they actually have improved since 2010.

Symptoms of Teenage Alcohol Abuse

Some teenagers are at a higher risk of developing a serious problem with alcohol and drug addiction. This is particularly true for teens from a family where substance abuse is a problem or teens who are suffering from a mental health disorder such as depression or anxiety . Teens with low self-esteem and those they feel like they just don’t fit it are also at higher risk.  It can be especially difficult for a teen to say no to peer pressure, so it is important to speak openly with your teen about teenage alcohol abuse, to understand the symptoms and seek professional help when necessary.

Physical symptoms of teen drinking are:

  • Unusual fatigue
  • Red, glassy or watery eyes
  • Changes in eating and sleeping habits
  • Staggering, walking with poor coordination or shaking hands are signs of intoxication or more serious abuse.

Emotional and social changes resulting from teenage alcohol abuse:

  • Personality changes and emotional disturbances
  • Lack of interesting in activities that the teen used to enjoy
  • Overly argumentative and irritable
  • Loss of interest in school and often a drop in grades
  • Change in peer group
  • Difficulties at school

Alcohol treatment programs are very effective at overcoming the challenges of teenage alcohol abuse.  When dealing with teenage alcohol abuse the focus of the treatment programs is slightly different than when dealing with adults, as they are still developing and maturing into adults.

Some teens are able to stay at home while attending alcohol abuse treatment.  They attend treatment as part of their day and may complete school work at home.  For some, maintaining a normal routine while in alcohol abuse treatment is effective, for others it is not enough sober support.  Some teens will see better results in a full-time residential program.

Most teenage alcohol abuse occurs because a teen is unable to deal with emotional stress and day to day problems.  Coping skills and other mechanism to help a teen manage their emotions, stress and anxiety are life skills that can be learned in an alcohol abuse treatment program.  Individuals, especially teens, who suffer from substance abuse problems benefit from having a strong support network when they leave rehab.  This support network can be family, friends or other loved ones, many of whom may be directly involved in the treatment process. Family therapy programs can be especially beneficial for teens and their families to overcome the difficulties of teenage alcohol abuse and move on to a more positive, healthier life.