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American Addiction Centers National Rehabs Directory

Alcohol Treatment Options for Adolescents

The pressures of the adolescent years are well-known, and they stem from both social factors and actual hormonal changes. Most teenagers manage to deal with the struggles of growing into adulthood in a harmless manner, but parents can find themselves considering adolescent alcohol treatment programs when their children turn to alcohol abuse during their teenage years.

Teenage Alcoholism

Teenagers turn to alcohol either as an escape route or as a means of testing their boundaries.

In most cases, those who simply consume alcohol at social events, knowing they are breaking the law, do so because they want to prove to themselves or others that they are mature enough to handle the effects of alcohol. Others consume alcohol illegally out of a sense of curiosity, or to defy their parents’ warnings against doing so and risking disciplinary or even legal action. This type of occasional use among teenagers can be dismissed as “growing pains,” so long as no dangerous behavior, such as operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, accompanies their use of alcohol.

The type of alcohol use that often requires juvenile alcohol treatment in a residential or outpatient setting is that which occurs when a young man or woman turns to alcohol on a regular basis in order to escape social or academic pressures. Occasional abuse of alcohol during the teenage years can result in addiction as well, if the young drinker becomes dependent on alcohol and develops cravings for it when he or she cannot obtain it. However, this is rare among teenagers who are otherwise physically, and more importantly psychologically and socially, healthy.

On the other hand, the teenager who drinks to escape reality often does not drink in otherwise positive social situations, such as at parties or with otherwise responsible friends and relatives. Instead, the candidate for adolescent alcohol rehab drinks alone, or with a group of friends who are also alienated and feel a need to escape. Mental illness may manifest itself in the teenage years, and because of the stigma of admitting to any psychiatric symptoms during adolescence, a teenager will self-medicate such symptoms rather than seeking help. Overly intense academic pressure, failed relationships, falling victim to bullying, and the loss of a friend or relative are other factors that can lead a young person to abuse alcohol on a regular basis.

If your teenage son or daughter is using alcohol to escape from pressures at school or a recent unpleasant event, please contact our 24-hour help line. We will help you find an adolescent alcohol treatment program that will rescue your teenager from the grip of alcoholism and help him grow up to be a healthy and successful adult.

Dependency and Tolerance

Once a teenager abuses alcohol on a regular basis, he or she develops physical dependency and tolerance just as an adult does. Unlike the teenage social drinker, who may well experience a few hangovers and cut down on drinking without even a warning from his or her parents, a teenage alcoholic quickly reaches the point at which a day cannot go by without consuming large amounts of alcohol. The psychological dependence that began when the teenager turned to alcohol and enjoyed how its mind-altering effects helped him or her escape anything from the typical pressures of growing up to symptoms of schizophrenia gives way to physical dependence. It is at that point that adolescent alcohol treatment absolutely must begin. While outpatient counseling and monitoring may be sufficient if there is only psychological dependence or a need to use alcohol to escape, detoxification, which is best carried out in a residential juvenile alcoholic treatment center, is necessary in cases of physical addiction. After detoxification, counseling, along with mental health assessment and treatment of any underlying mental illness, can take place.

Teen Alcohol Rehab

Teens benefit from much of the same treatments that adult alcoholics can benefit from, but there are some factors that make teen rehab unique. Teenagers tend to be bigger risk-takers and are often more emotionally motivated then adults, and alcohol abuse in teens can be tied to these factors. Teens also tend to take the opinions of their peers more seriously than those of adults, and there is considerable evidence that peer-based group counseling is especially helpful for teen drinkers. Teens are also especially like to suffer from co-occurring mental health issues that contribute to their alcohol use.

Hotline to Call

Please call our treatment hotline to find out more about adolescent alcohol treatment that will help your teenager escape from alcohol abuse rather than turning to alcohol in order to escape the pressures of daily life.