When an Alcoholism Centre Can Help
Alcohol abuse and dependence is no longer only a problem for adults. In today’s society, the age at which children begin to experiment with alcohol is much lower than when our parents were growing up. Adolescents from the age of 12 and sometimes younger are becoming intoxicated regularly. One needs only look at the nightclubs around your city to see teens regularly drinking large quantities of alcohol and spending their time inebriated.
Teens, adolescents and young adults can be admitted to alcoholism centres and clinics for alcoholism treatment, if their drinking problem is severe enough. Alcoholism is generally believed to be a disease. It is an illness that is incurable, progressive and fatal if not arrested. The development of alcoholism is greatly debated: some believe that alcoholics are born with the disease and that external influence is irrelevant in the progression of the illness.
Others believe that alcoholics are the result of a traumatic childhood, whilst others believe the illness is caused by a combination of the two. However, it is difficult to argue which case is correct as the disease is progressive; it is rare that a person tries an alcoholic drink for the first time and becomes a full blown alcoholic straight away. The progression of the illness takes time. Yet the diagnosis of an adolescent as an alcoholic can be difficult. Teenagers are generally undergoing dramatic hormonal and physical changes, as well as psychological development and establishment of their identities and belief systems.
This means that during adolescence, a teenager is under significant stress and it may be normal for them to test limits and experiment with different behaviours, language and dress codes in an attempt to find what works for them. The difficulty is in diagnosing what’s healthy experimentation and what’s addictive behaviour. Any alcohol use in teenage years is seen as abuse as it’s illegal for adolescents to be drinking.
Most teenagers feel a need for acceptance from their peers, but are only beginning to develop a sense of identity, so they begin to “follow the herd” in terms of behaviour and opinion. This means that adolescents can engage in addictive behaviours such as excessive alcohol intake, but may not necessarily be alcoholics. Problem behaviours can be due to impulsivity, thrill seeking and defiance. However, it is probable that if a teenager is engaging in frequent drinking and at inappropriate times, there is a serious problem, especially if the adolescent began drinking at a very young age.
What effect does teenage drinking have on adolescents?
It seems that the main dangers of teen drinking are accidents. In the USA, almost 2000 minors (under 21) die each year in car crashes involving alcohol. It is also a factor in almost half of all teenagers who die in violent circumstances. Alcohol use regularly leads to suicide attempts, unprotected sex and promiscuity, and experimentation with drugs. Teenage drinking can also go hand-in-hand with other addictions such as eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia, and self mutilation (cutting).
I’m watching you…
Many parents keep alert to any signs of problems with their teens, but when signs appear, they insist that their child be admitted to an alcoholism centre. Sending a teen who has been drunk on a few occasions to an alcoholism centre for treatment may do more harm than good. Our society is one that is very accepting of alcohol, and it is likely that an adolescent has tried an alcoholic beverage or has friends who have. It is only the severe cases of teen alcohol use which should be regarded as potentially treatable in an alcohol rehab.
It is always advisable to contact a professional therapist, addictions counsellor or psychiatrist for their opinion, and if they believe the case could merit treatment in an alcoholism centre, then an assessment therapy session with the adolescent can be arranged. A professional will be able to establish if there is a dependency that is severe enough for alcoholism rehabilitation. Rehabilitation at an alcoholism centre can be an excellent help for teen alcoholics who genuinely have the compulsion to drink excessively on a regular basis.