An alcohol problem
means having unhealthy or dangerous drinking habits, such as drinking every day
or drinking too much at a time. Alcohol misuse can harm your teen and may cause
your teen to harm others.
Your teen may think a drink or two is okay, even if it is illegal.
But teens who drink are more likely to develop an alcohol problem than people
who start drinking later in life.
Teens who continue to misuse
alcohol may develop a strong need, or craving, for alcohol, and it may get
harder to say "no" to drinking. Your teen may begin to find alcohol more fun
than anything else. Or your teen may want to stop drinking but can't. He or she
may become dependent on alcohol.
teen becomes dependent, then alcohol controls his or her life. Your teen may
continue to drink even though it can harm relationships, lead to trouble with
the law, and/or cause physical problems.
Teens may drink alcohol for many reasons.
They may want to:
Alcohol use affects the brain and causes
changes in your teen's alertness, perception, movement, judgment, and
attention. These changes may make your teen more likely to:
You may worry that your teen is drinking
if he or she becomes withdrawn or negative. But remember that these behaviours
are common for teens. Don't accuse your teen unfairly. Try to discover why your
teen's behaviour has changed by telling him or her that you are
Look for a pattern or a number of changes. Your teen
may have an alcohol problem if he or she:
You can teach your teen these ways to say "no" if he or she is
offered a drink.
Treatment depends on
how bad your teen's alcohol problem is. Some teens are able to stop drinking
with help from a school alcohol education program or a counsellor. Treatment
also can include group therapy. Teens who are dependent on alcohol may need
medical treatment and may need to stay in a hospital or treatment
Treatment focuses on more than alcohol. It also helps your
teen cope with the anger, frustration, sadness, and disappointment that often
happen when a person tries to stop drinking.
Treatment also looks at other parts of your teen's life, like
relationships with friends and family, school and work, medical problems, and
living situation. It helps you and your teen find and manage problems.
Treatment helps your teen take control of life so that he or she doesn't have
to depend on alcohol.
An alcohol problem affects the whole family.
Family counselling often is part of treatment.
Go to http://www.healthwise.net/ed
Enter G714 in the search box to learn more about "Learning About Alcohol Problems and Your Teen."
Current as of:
February 24, 2016
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
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