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Teen Binge Drinking

Pop culture suggests that teen alcohol abuse is a rite of passage. This mindset is dangerous — every year, teen binge drinking leads to the deaths of about 4,300 underage youth.

Four teenage boys sitting on a couch drinking beers and socializing.

Dangers of Binge Drinking

Binge drinking, or consuming many drinks on one occasion, is a significant issue among American teens. There are countless reasons teens drink excessively — a desire to fit in, an attempt to numb emotional pain, peer pressure, or mere curiosity. No matter the reason your child began binge drinking, the risks remain the same.

In youth aged 12–20, 90% of the alcohol they use is consumed via binge drinking.

Any underage drinking is a risk factor for the following problems, and teens who engage in underage binge drinking are even more likely to suffer from these:

A teenage girl sitting on the steps at school suffering from a hangover.
  • Academic problems
  • Social difficulties
  • Legal entanglements
  • Illness
  • Abnormal physical growth
  • Cognitive growth disruptions
  • Suicide and homicide
  • Vehicle accidents
  • Injuries
  • Rape
  • Unsafe sexual activity
  • Drug abuse
  • Death

Effects of Alcohol on the Brain Development in Teens

When your teen drinks alcohol, their body floods with endorphins, which are “feel good” brain chemicals. Substances like alcohol can induce a much greater chemical rush than other fun activities like enjoying a good movie or eating. The brain views this rush as a positive thing and wishes to repeat the experience.

If your teen consumes alcohol frequently, the brain’s pathways change to facilitate recurring alcohol rushes. These altered pathways “want” to be used, so they “protest” when they are unused. We understand this occurrence as cravings.

People who abuse alcohol during their teen years are more likely to suffer from the brain disease addiction later in life.

The brain’s prefrontal cortex does not fully develop until early adulthood. This part of the brain enables your teen to act on their goals, whether that means learning a new language or deciding to hug someone. Thus, habitual teen alcohol abuse can long-lasting and permanent effects, including:

  • Decreased ability to learn
  • Memory loss
  • Shortened attention span
  • Lowered ability to plan and complete tasks
  • Trouble controlling emotions
  • Poor judgment

At Next Generation Village, we understand alcohol addiction is not a choice but rather, a complex brain disease that cannot be controlled by willpower. Just like other illnesses, teen addiction requires professional medical treatment.

Group of teens hanging out with beers in their hands.

Facts about Binge Drinking

Several 2015 government studies — including the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, National Survey on Drug Use and Health, and Monitoring the Future Survey — found the following statistics on high school students’ alcohol use in the past 30 days:

  • 33% drank some amount of alcohol
  • 18% binge drank
  • 8% drove after drinking alcohol
  • 20% rode with a driver who had been drinking alcohol
  • Among 8th graders, 10% drank some alcohol during the past 30 days and 5% binge drank during the past 2 weeks

Teen Alcohol Rehab in Florida

If your child has been struggling with drinking, know that you are not alone. At Next Generation Village, we have spoken with countless parents experiencing the same emotions and worries that you are. Though we have seen the pain of addiction, we also feel the joy of recovery each time treatment changes a family’s life. There is always hope. We are here to help you find it, no matter where you are on your journey.

Depending on the severity of your child’s addiction, they may need treatment through drug and alcohol rehab. In Florida, the sun is almost always shining, which is just one reason we chose to establish Next Generation Village in this beautiful state. Our lakeside campus — nestled in peaceful Sebring, FL — will allow your teen to find solace from the distractions of their daily life.

Our experienced staff consists of therapists, doctors, psychiatrists, nurses, and mental health technicians who have devoted their lives to helping teenagers overcome addiction. We use a blend of evidence-based and alternative therapies, an effective method of treating not only your child’s substance use but also the factors driving their addiction.

As you browse outpatient and inpatient rehab facilities in Florida, we welcome you to call us and speak confidentially with an addiction specialist. We are here to support you through everything from determining your insurance coverage to providing a free addiction evaluation or simply being a listening ear. You have someone on your side through all of this. There are no obligations associated with calling — just help.

Sources

  • "The Effects of Drugs and Alcohol on the Adolescent Brain." Science and Management of Addictions, www.samafoundation.org/the-effects-of-drugs-and-alcohol-on-the-adolescent-brain.html. Accessed 13 Dec. 2016.
  • "The Teen Brain: Still Under Construction." National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, 2011, www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/the-teen-brain-still-under-construction/index.shtml. Accessed 13 Dec. 2016.
  • "Alcohol and Dopamine." HAMS: Harm Reduction for Alcohol, The HAMS Harm Reduction Network, 2012, hams.cc/dopamine.pdf.
  • "CDC - Fact Sheets-Underage Drinking - Alcohol." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 20 Oct. 2016, www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/underage-drinking.htm. Accessed 14 Dec. 2016.
  • "Teen Binge Drinking: Facts & Dangers of Underage Drinking." Teen Rehab Center, TeenRehabCenter.org, 11 Oct. 2016, www.teenrehabcenter.org/resources/binge-drinking/. Accessed 14 Dec. 2016.

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