Teen Troubles: Alcohol

Alcohol abuse seriously affects not only the individual and those closest to him, but all of society. Teenage drinking is a major cause of highway deaths. Half of all teenage suicides are alcohol-related.

Alcohol use in teenagers can begin for any number of reasons. Peer pressure, stress at home or school, and psychiatric problems such as depression or anxiety can all push your teen toward underage drinking. If you suspect your teenager is drinking, try to determine if your child drinks alcohol regularly or is just experimenting with it. While both are serious problems, there is a significant difference between experimenting with and abusing alcohol. The articles in this section can give you more information on teenage alcohol use and its dangers.

The First Drink

On average, teenagers first try alcohol sometime between the ages of 11 and 13. Because alcohol affects the developing teenage body much more seriously than it does an adult, it is important talk to your teen about alcohol and address the situation as soon as possible. In addition, According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, teenagers who start drinking before age 15 are 4 times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than those who begin drinking at age 21.

What You Can Do

As a parent, you can treat the situation with empathy and understanding—without condoning the actions of your teenager. Scolding and accusing your son or daughter for even experimenting with alcohol can increase their desire to use it. Attending self-help support groups and receiving encouragement from family members can help your teenager combat alcohol abuse. The articles in this section can give you more information about alcohol and its affects on teenagers. Use these resources to help you make decisions about helping with your teen.