Teens are at the most risk of becoming addicted to alcohol when they start drinking at an early age. When you research statistics about alcoholism over the years, you’ll find that most people who have developed a problem with alcohol began drinking at an early age. Each year, our young people begin drinking at a younger age than ever before. Some statistics about alcoholism in certain areas show that the average age that kids begin drinking is as young as twelve years old.
Understanding the Risk Factors
There are many different reasons why people become addicted. Some people have the disease of addiction that runs in their family, which makes them more likely to become addicted. This is due to a problem with the pre-frontal cortex of the brain. Another common risk factor is a person’s environment, which means people in poverty or from a broken home are more likely to become addicted. Mental illness is the most common reason that people become addicted to alcohol, but young people are at the biggest risk.
When you take all of the above risk factors and put them on a teenager, the statistics about alcoholism show that a teen is more likely to become addicted. Teens are learning who they are as a person during these years, and they’re also trying to understand where they fit into the world. They’re overwhelmed with a variety of different stresses that include trying to make friends, succeed in school and plan their future, but alcohol can offer them an easy escape.
The main reason that teens are at a bigger risk of becoming addicted is because their brains aren’t fully developed yet. The prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for impulse control and moderating the pleasure system, doesn’t fully develop until a person is in their mid-20s. This is why most countries enforce some type of legal drinking age. When a teen drinks alcohol, they experience an intensified feeling that most adults don’t feel when they drink alcohol.
Alcoholism Is a Serious Issue
According to the statistics about alcoholism from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 697,000 children between the ages of 12 and 17 suffered from some type of alcohol use disorder in 2013. Every year, roughly 88,000 people die from an alcohol-related accident. This can include alcohol poisoning, automobile accidents as well as other incidents involving alcohol. This makes alcohol-related deaths the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States.
Helping Your Teen Recover
Alcoholism is a progressive disease, which means that it gets worse over time. Much like cancer and other potentially fatal illnesses, there is a much greater chance of recovery when it’s caught in the earliest stages. It’s a common misconception that parents should wait until their teen’s alcoholism reaches a point where it’s extremely severe because sometimes that means that it’s too late. The best way to prevent the teen from enduring a life of hardships and pain is to have them enter treatment as soon as possible.
There are many different treatment centers around the country that can help your teen overcome their addiction to alcohol. It’s often recommended that teens enter an outpatient treatment center if at all possible. Outpatient allows the teen to continue with their regular life of living at home and going to school while they receive treatment for their addiction to alcohol. This helps the teen not be overwhelmed with treatment and is more likely to accept the help that is being given to them.
When a teen is in a treatment center with other teens, they’ll see that there are other people who are dealing with their same issues, which can be beneficial for their recovery. The teens in treatment together will begin to form strong bonds and a support group so they’ll be able to rely on one another for help when they’re thinking about drinking again.