Underage drinking has long been a problem. Some people believe it is a right of passage for teens to test out alcohol. Yet, studies indicate that underage drinking has numerous health risks not just in that moment but in the years to come. If you or someone you love is engaging in underage drinking, getting help may be critical to minimizing these risks. Our team at Georgia Addiction Treatment Center can help.
Underage Drinking Is a Public Health Problem
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism notes startling statistics on alcohol use in those who are under the age of 21. It noted that in 2019, an estimated 24.6 percent of kids between the ages of 14 and 15 had at least one drink. In those from 12 to 20, 7.0 million stated they had more than just a few sips in the previous month.
Considering these factors, it is clear that underage drinking often happens in communities throughout the country. Sometimes it is not clear what the risks are, nor that alcohol abuse can occur even in those who are younger.
What Are the Risks of Underage Drinking?
A few sips may not produce much of a difference to many teens. Yet, over time, continued use, especially alcohol abuse, can lead to numerous complications. This may include:
- A drop in cognitive function
- Reduction in development, especially slowing of mental health development
- Health risks including damage to kidneys and heart
- Increased risk of reckless behavior resulting in accidents, injury, or death
- A higher risk of developing a substance use disorder later in life
A teen who consumes alcohol on a consistent or inconsistent basis may develop health risks. They may also develop substance abuse issues. That can translate into health complications, including a higher likelihood of developing other forms of addiction later in life.
Underage Drinking and Binge Drinking
Another key concern for those who are underage is binge drinking. That is consuming five or more drinks for males or four or more drinks for females in a short period of time, often two hours. Binge drinking can lead to alcohol poisoning, a life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention.
Binge drinking also increases the risk of addiction and dependence. When dependence occurs, the brain and body adjust to the presence of alcohol and, over time, become reliant on it to function normally. This makes it difficult for a person to stop using without feeling intense cravings and physical pain.
Underage Drinking and Increased Risk of Mental Health Disorders
Young adults and teens who consume alcohol and develop substance abuse problems are more likely to experience mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression. This can carry over into every aspect of their life, including relationships, academic progress, and physical health. Sometimes these individuals use alcohol as a way to manage mental health disorder symptoms.
How to Find Help for Alcohol Abuse
There is never a benefit to waiting too long to get help. The sooner help for underage drinking is obtained, the less likely the damage will be significant.
Our team at Georgia Addiction Treatment Center offers a range of services that may help. This includes therapies such as:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Dialectical behavior therapy
- Individual therapy program
- Family therapy program
- Group therapy program
- Trauma therapy program
Each level of care is available to meet your needs in a comfortable, supportive environment meant to build long-term success.
Are You Struggling to Find Help? Georgia Addiction Treatment Center Can Help
Underage drinking is a problem for any parent or loved one. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol abuse, don’t put off getting treatment. Our team at Georgia Addiction Treatment Center can offer help. To learn more about our services, contact us at 855.952.3546 or reach out to us online today.