California is famous for different festive events and parties, especially during summer. Since Los Angeles is the center of the entertainment industry, teens are highly exposed to substance use and alcohol drinking. The increasing cases of underage drinking in the United States are becoming a serious concern.
Teen alcohol abuse is one of the leading reasons for problems among teenagers and their families. Because of this, mental health professionals strive to provide the best possible solution without taking away the fun of teenage years. Numerous teen alcohol treatment programs are available in the state, making access to treatment easier than ever.
In this article, we’ll talk about the severity of alcohol on teens’ health and what specific steps parents and counselors should take.
Prevalence of Alcohol Abuse in Teenagers
To understand the current situation of alcohol use in teens, several organizations around the United States are constantly gathering statistics. In 2018, the California Health Care Foundation (CHCF) surveyed adolescents and adults in the state who use substances and alcohol. Below is the summary of the results, particularly for the adolescents:
- Alcohol is the second most prevalent substance used by adolescents with substance use disorders (SUDs). This makes alcohol use disorder the leading concern in the entire state.
- Over 9% of adolescents (ages 12-17) consume alcohol occasionally, while 5.1% reported binge alcohol use.
- For young adults (ages 18-25), more than 50% drank alcohol at least once in their lives, and more than 33% drank heavily once or twice every month.
- Alcohol is the most commonly consumed substance for 11th-graders (51.7%), followed by 9th-graders (32.3%) and 7th-graders (13.3%).
- Only 7.6% of 11th-graders have drunk alcohol once, while 33% reported drinking more than four times.
- In terms of ethnicity, white teens (19.2%) are most likely to report alcohol drinking, followed by Latin Americans (18.4%). Meanwhile, Asians in California are at the bottom of the list, at about 7%.
- 20.5% of white female teens reported binge drinking three months before pregnancy, and 15.7% drank alcohol during the first trimester.
- About 0.5% of deaths are caused by drinking in young adults, and males (17.5%) have a higher risk than females (6.4%).
Why Alcohol Abuse Statistics Increases
The continuous rise in cases of teen alcohol abuse has links to several economic and social problems in the United States, particularly in Los Angeles, being one of the leading cities with alcoholic teens. These problems include violence, road accidents, participation in illegal activities, and school and work inefficiency.
There are various reasons why teens are most likely to develop alcohol dependence, such as the lack of awareness regarding the consequences of substance use. Not all schools in the United States openly discuss topics like substance use and alcohol addiction, and some do not include them in the high school curriculum at all. As such, teens rely on the Internet, which can be full of misinformation regarding the dangers of alcohol drinking, leading to misunderstandings.
In addition, the majority of alcohol-dependent individuals over 12 years old do not receive treatment. According to the 2018 data summary by CHCF, only 7% have access to treatments. Alcohol is considered a gateway drug, so untreated alcohol use disorders may develop into worse health risks and lead to the use of other substances such as marijuana.
Addiction has significant consequences for families; it affects connections, particularly between parents and children. Parental hostility and violence may arise by living with a drug-addicted teen. Furthermore, finding out that your child is a drug addict can be upsetting and stressful.
It also is difficult for teenagers who live in homes that do not prioritize their needs. As a result, it is essential to understand all the probable causes affecting the teen and not rely on a single remedy.
An adolescent who abuses alcohol requires parental support and encouragement. A family connection is essential for teens when transitioning to adulthood. As a parent, you must recognize that you will not always be there to guide your children’s life. They will begin to explore and try out new things as they mature.
The vital role that parents must play is to express unconditional love to improve the parent-child relationship. Your adolescent may be dealing with mental health issues due to poor life decisions, but you can help them understand that healing, while challenging, will be rewarding. As they begin their road to adulthood, they will appreciate your support and encouragement.