The numbers and statistics do not lie – alcohol is the most widely used drug/substance amongst America teenagers. In fact, 14% of teenagers have been intoxicated one or more times in the past year. Even more frightening than the amount of teenagers who do drink, is the amount of teens that are drinking extreme volumes of alcohol in short periods of time. Additionally, the majority of teens under the age of 19 binge drink regularly.
The dangers inherent in these staggering statistics and trends are limitless. Not only do 2000 teens under the age of 18 die every year, but nearly 50% of violent deaths involving teens also involve alcohol.
With such extreme quantities of alcohol being consumed by younger and younger individuals, the risk of full-blown alcoholism is increasing dramatically. The teenage or adolescent mind and body are constantly developing and wiring themselves for their life ahead. During this development, the introduction of alcohol into the system can cause the mind and body to hardwire itself around the intake of alcohol, putting them at a very high risk of becoming addicted to it in a very short time.
Since severe alcoholism is brought on very quickly in teenagers, it is very important to tackle the problem as soon as possible – at the very first signs of abuse.
Recovery treatment centers are taking notice of this alarming trend, and are beginning to implement programs that focus on this aspect of the disease of alcoholism. Ever-developing and expanding, these programs can be very successful, utilizing a process of rewiring the mentality of individuals back to a life of sobriety. Whether it is through outpatient substance abuse treatment or through inpatient services, these recovery programs take the basics of treatment for adults, and bring in nuances specific to a younger individual.
By having a solid plan for treating alcoholism in youth, both the disease and the underlying issues that enabled the disease can be treated in the most effective manner possible.
Often, employing these teen programs in a group setting can yield greater and more successful results. Teenagers are both highly social and anxious in awkward situations. By performing therapy alongside peers with the same issues, the individual addicts can form bonds and strive to battle the addiction “en masse.”
Though addiction in teens – whether to drugs or alcohol – is a serious condition, new treatment options and recovery processes are being tested and implemented every day. By diagnosing abusive behavior early and getting a teenager into one of these emerging programs, the dangerous disease of alcoholism can be stopped dead its tracks, and the individual can return to a life of normalcy and sobriety.