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Teen Drinking and Risk Factors

Teen drinking carries its own set of risk factors. Teens are especially vulnerable to alcohol use and abuse. Their age also requires a unique approach to educating, preventing, and addressing alcohol problems. During April’s Alcohol Awareness Month, we are focusing on ways to recognize alcohol abuse, talk to your teen about it, and help prevent it.

Teen drinking and risk factors

The scary fact is that teens who start using alcohol before the age of fifteen are four times more likely to become alcohol dependent as they get older. This is why education and prevention are so key. A brain compromised from alcohol abuse will cause a teen to miss important developmental lessons, so early intervention is crucial.

Teens’ lack of coping skills, peer pressure, changing environments and stress levels all put them at risk for alcohol abuse. They are also often unaware of the health risks that alcohol can pose, or the related problems like sexual assault, further drug use or dependence, and drunk driving. In addition, even involved parents can miss some of the signs of alcohol abuse or not be entirely sure on how to broach the topic with their teen.

The NCADD has a great self-test that teens can take to see how they score when it comes to teen drinking. Though alcohol use among teens is pervasive, some teens are more at-risk than others. For example, teens that are most at-risk for early alcohol use may also suffer from depression, anxiety or lack coping skills. Isolation at home or school is also a warning sign, as is any involvement with alcohol-involved peer groups. Teens with family members who have alcohol problems are also more at-risk.

To help prevent alcohol use at a young age, parents can keep a more watchful eye and make their disapproving feelings about alcohol use and teen drinking known. Both have been shown to lower alcohol use among teens. Discuss the negative mental and physical effects that alcohol can have on their developing brains and body. And let them know that early use can put them at risk for dependence as they get older. Set strong boundaries and adhere to consequences when these expectations aren’t met. Be consistent. And keep the dialogue open.

For teens who are struggling with a drinking problem, reach out to one of our addiction specialists to discuss options like NAD therapy such as NTR Brain Restoration to help get the situation under control. NTR is 10 days, outpatient, and reduces cravings, anxiety and depression, while increasing optimism and a sense of well-being. All of which better prepares a teen for the life changes necessary for sobriety.

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