Teens and Alcoholism

One of the most alarming things about the escalating alcoholism rate across the globe is the number of teens and adolescents being swept up in the storm. Teens and alcohol have been closely associated for years, but the numbers just keep getting worse. It's a tragically common phenomenon right here in the United States for children as young as 12 years old to regularly engage in binge drinking (i.e. having five or more drinks in a row) on a consistent basis. An individual's teenage years are often where alcoholism takes root. Teens are seldom aware if they have any family history of alcoholism and are significantly more likely to act impulseively or succumb to peer pressure. Alcohol is present in many social situations during one's teen years, with many parents even willing to assist in its acquisition in the name of controlled consumption.

Causes of Teenage Alcoholism

When a teenager picks up their first drink, be it at a party, a friend's house or right out of their parents' refrigerator, they're never expecting to be taken down a road of addiction and all of the complications that accompany it. Their assumption that they're invincible often leads to a heightened and expedited pattern of drinking. An annual study consistently finds that 40% of 10th grade students and over 50% of those in their senior year of high school admit to drinking within the past month. These studies also find that males more frequently engage in binge drinking than females. The leading cause of teenage alcohol abuse tends to be a response to the social world around them.

Teenage Drunk Driving

One statistic that closely links teens and alcoholism is the drunk-driving rate in the United States. The CDC estimates that teenagers make up about 50% of the country's binge drinkers, and these numbers spill over directly into automotive fatality rates. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 6.4 percent out of 194.3 million drivers licensed in the United States fell in between the ages of 16 to 20. In 2012, over 10,000 people died in an alcohol-related car accident. In 2011, over 1.2 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. That is less than one percent of the 147 million self-reported episodes of alcohol-impaired driving among U.S. adults each year. Year after year, teenagers are found to be the group most likely to engage in and be impacted by drunk driving.

Ramifications of Teenage Alcoholism

In addition to the rampant rates of injuries and fatalities due to drunk driving, the combination of teens and alcoholism has also given birth to numerous underlying cultural problems that one might not even consider. Such problems include, but are not limited to:

  • Violent crime
  • Increased sexual activity
  • Unwanted pregnancy
  • Juvenile incarceration
  • Expulsion and premature exit from high school
  • Hospitalization from alcohol poisoning 

Contact the National Alcoholism Center anytime toll-free at (888) 515-7704 or through our online form for our recommendations of the best alcohol treatment centers for you or your loved one!

Alcoholism treatment should never be attempted in your home or without medical supervision at a professional licensed treatment facility.