America’s most popular drug does not come from a dealer. It comes from a store. Alcohol abuse can begin at any age but in the US, the average age is as young as 11 years old for boys and 13 for girls. Unfortunately, teens are highly susceptible to alcohol abuse because the pleasure center of the brain is more mature than the part of the brain responsible for self-control. In teens and young adults, alcohol abuse can have devastating effects on development.
If you believe that alcohol abuse is taking control of your child, contact one of our alcohol and drug rehab centers in St. Louis, Columbia, or Kansas City for information on alcohol abuse and to learn about how our treatment programs for teens and young adults can help.
The Affect of Alcohol Abuse on Adolescents
Alcohol is a depressant that affects the central nervous system and the body’s organs. Children, teens, and young adults suffer the most from the effects of alcohol abuse because their bodies are not equipped to process the alcohol that the body considers a poison. Additionally, because of the different developmental stages of the brain, teenagers can become addicted to alcohol easily because the good feelings are perceived as stronger than any of the negative consequences.
Alcohol abuse is defined as a pattern of drinking, which results in harm to one’s health, interpersonal relationships, or ability to work. When left untreated this can lead to alcoholism or alcohol dependence, which is a diagnosable disease where a person suffers from a strong craving for alcohol and/or continued use despite harm or personal injury.
One of the first signs of an alcohol problem is often binge drinking. Binge drinking is classified as consuming four or more drinks in a row for a woman and five or more drinks in a row for a man at least once in the previous 2 weeks. This level of alcohol abuse is most common in young adults (ages 18-25). Because the body cannot clear alcohol from the body quickly enough, binge drinking leads to intoxication. If the liver is further subjected to doses of alcohol it may lead to alcohol poisoning, the most life-threatening consequence of binge drinking. People often assume that it is alright to “sleep off” a night of drinking. However, because alcohol may still be present in the stomach or the intestines after a person has passed out, the blood alcohol content of a person may continue to rise hours after they have stopped drinking leading to dangerous risks.
Signs of Alcohol Poisoning Include:
- Extreme confusion
- Inability to regain consciousness
- Slow or irregular breathing
- Low body temperature
- Clammy, bluish, or pale skin
- Strong odor of alcohol on the breath and coming from the skin
If you observe someone exhibiting these symptoms, you should call 911 and seek medical attention immediately.
Signs & Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse in Teens
The most common signs of intoxication include:
- Slurred or Loud Speech
- Difficulty Expressing a Thought
- Lack of Coordination
- Poor Balance
- Breath that Smells like Alcohol
- Red Eyes or Flushed Face
- Morning Headaches
- Odor of Alcohol on Breath or Sweat
Teens and young adults engaging in alcohol abuse may act irrationally, engaging in risky sexual behaviors or physical violence, and may have a generally unstable mood. Alcohol abuse can lead to emotional problems that strain relationships with parents and friends. Alcohol damages the brain, as well as the liver, kidneys, stomach, and intestines. Over a prolonged period of time, alcohol abuse can lead to painful and irreversible diseases. Young adults who suffer from alcoholism often have trouble in school, holding down a job, or sustaining a good relationship because of the negative mental and physical effects of persistent binge drinking.
Learn More About Treatment for Alcohol Abuse
If your child shows signs of an alcohol problem, it is important to contact an alcohol abuse treatment center for help. With locations in St. Louis, Columbus, and Kansas City, The Crossroads Program is an alcohol and drug rehab center in that specializes in alcohol rehab programs for teens and adolescents. Our program focuses on “Enthusiastic Sobriety ™” and teaches teens to experience and enjoy life without a need for chemical substances to feel good.
To learn more, contact The Crossroads Program at 636-532-9991 in the St. Louis area, 573-256-8020 in the Columbia area, and 816-941-4000 in the Kansas City area.