What to Do if You Think Your Teen Is Abusing Alcohol

Discovering that a teen is engaging in drug or alcohol abuse is devastating for parents. It can be difficult to know what to do in these situations. Every family will respond in a slightly different way. However, in all cases, it’s necessary to reach out to addiction professionals for help. The counselors at a rehab in Fort Lauderdale can help you figure out what to do next about your teen’s alcohol abuse or addiction.

Make Observations

In some cases, a parent might only suspect that a teen is abusing alcohol because of changes in behavior, grades, or personality. If you have suspicions, but need to confirm them, evaluate your teen’s behavior carefully. Does he or she often break curfew, hang out with new friends, or behave in a secretive manner? Perhaps your teen comes home smelling strongly of perfume or body spray; this could be an attempt to mask the smell of alcohol. Consider whether you’re willing to violate your teen’s privacy by searching his or her room for hidden alcohol.

Contact a Rehab

Even if you don’t have definitive proof that your teen is abusing alcohol, you should contact a rehab to discuss your concerns with a professional. A counselor can offer guidance on confronting your teen and convincing him or her to seek help. You might need to take your teen to a specialist for a screening prior to admitting him or her to outpatient therapy.

Teen-Proof the Home

When your child was a toddler, you childproofed your home to prevent accidental access to dangerous substances. Now, it’s necessary to do the same thing for your teen. Don’t assume that if your teen is drinking, he or she will stick to alcohol. You’ll need to lock up prescription medications, cough syrups, and your own alcohol, if applicable. Your teen needs a clean environment in which to work on his or her recovery.

Eliminate Pocket Money

While your teen is going through counseling, you should eliminate the temptation to begin drinking again. Avoid giving your teen cash for school lunches, movie tickets, clothes or other items. Instead, write a check to the school cafeteria and directly purchase items your teen needs.

Provide Ongoing Support

Regardless of how upset you may be at your teen for abusing alcohol, remember that he or she needs your ongoing support. Let your teen know that you love him or her and are proud of him or her for getting treatment. Attend family counseling sessions and parent support groups.

What Is Binge Drinking?

Binge drinking is a serious health risk and societal problem. Individuals who binge drink can benefit from seeking substance abuse treatment near Fort Lauderdale. Often associated with alcoholism, binge drinking is generally defined as the consumption of enough alcohol to elevate blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08% or higher. In women, this equals about four drinks per occasion. In men, it’s about five drinks per sitting.

You can hear more about alcoholism and binge drinking by watching this video. It explains the many dangers of this form of alcohol abuse. Among other problems, binge drinking encourages dangerous behaviors like drunk driving, unprotected sexual intercourse, and even interpersonal violence. This video also discusses some of the ways that community leaders can discourage binge drinking.

How Prevalent Is Drug and Alcohol Abuse Among Teens?

Adolescence is a time of significant transition. Teens are preoccupied with social pressures and they are trying to fit in at school. They’re also beginning to assert their independence more vigorously. During adolescence, an individual is at a high risk of experimenting with drugs and alcohol. For some teens, in Fort Lauderdale, substance abuse follows experimentation. If you suspect that your teen may be engaging in alcohol or drug abuse, you can find the help your family needs at a rehab facility.


The National Institute on Drug Abuse conducts an annual Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey of U.S. students in eighth, 10 th, and 12 th grade to evaluate their drug use and attitudes toward drugs. The good news is that alcohol use among this demographic has declined significantly over the past five years. According to the organization, 41.2% of 12 th grade students tried alcohol in one reported month during 2010. The most recent survey reflects that 35.3% of 12 th graders had tried alcohol. There was also a decline in the percentage of 10 th graders who reported daily use of alcohol and an overall drop in the number of binge drinkers among 10 th and 12 th graders. This is encouraging news for combating alcoholism in the next generation, but these trends in underage drinking could still use major improvements.


The same MTF survey reports that opioid use among teens is also on a downward trend. This includes narcotic pain relievers and heroin. In fact, since the MTF survey began, heroin use is at an all-time low among all ages surveyed. Despite an increase in the use of heroin by adults, the MTF survey reports that the majority of teens disapprove of even occasional heroin use.


Now that many states have passed laws that allow medical and recreational marijuana use among adults, one major concern was that this trend would encourage marijuana abuse among teens. The MTF survey reveals that although marijuana use has not declined among teens, it also has not increased. Over the past five years, marijuana abuse has held steady among eighth, 10 th , and 12 th graders. More than half of 12 th graders surveyed reported disapproving of regular marijuana abuse.

When to Worry About Teenage Drinking

Underage drinking is a rampant problem. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 35.1% of 15 year olds have had at least one drink and 14.2% of people aged 12 to 20 report binge drinking. Because underage drinking is so common, parents may take a casual attitude to it, especially if they believe their child only indulges occasionally. However, teenage drinking is dangerous. Every year, over 4,000 people under age 21 die in alcohol-related incidences, including alcohol poisoning and car crashes. It can also lead to alcoholism and brain development issues. How can you determine if your child has made one mistake with alcohol or needs treatment for alcoholism in Fort Lauderdale? Here are some signs that your teen could be struggling with alcohol abuse.

New School Trouble

Changes in your child’s standing at school could indicate that he or she is abusing alcohol. Your child’s grades may fall, and he or she may begin to have discipline problems in the classroom. Teens who are abusing alcohol frequently lose interest in sports or other extracurricular activities they once enjoyed. Your child may also miss school because of health issues more frequently, often because of alcohol withdrawal symptoms or from having a hangover from overindulging.

Mood Changes

Drinking heavily can cause mood swings in teens, as they cycle repeatedly from intoxicated to sober. You may notice that your teen is increasingly irritable or depressed, or that he or she is withdrawing from family activities or from their usual circle of friends, in favor of a new group of peers. For people struggling with alcoholism, these mood changes can be caused by withdrawal symptoms.

Physical Signs

Sometimes, parents can identify the signs of alcoholism simply by looking for the physical signs of alcohol consumption. Red eyes, slurred speech, and smelling like alcohol are all indicators that you need to discuss drinking with your teen. Teens who are drinking heavily on a regular basis often tend to have poor physical hygiene. Consider talking to an addiction specialist if you need help intervening with your teen’s alcohol use.

Does Early Drinking Increase the Risk of Alcoholism Later in Life?

Among the dangers of early drinking behavior in young people is an increased risk of alcoholism later in life. In addition to seeking treatment for alcoholism in Fort Lauderdale for young people who are abusing alcohol as soon as possible, experts also recommend taking steps to discourage underage drinking before it begins to reduce the risk of alcoholism more effectively.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), people who begin to drink before age 14 have a 47% chance of developing alcoholism in adulthood, compare with 9% of people who being drinking after age 21. The younger people are when they begin drinking, the more likely they are to develop alcoholism, while having a family member who also struggles with alcohol abuse raises the risk even more. People who begin drinking at young age also develop alcohol dependency faster and are more likely to have chronic, relapsing alcoholism problems than people who start drinking later in life.

Helping Teens Overcome Peer Pressure to Drink

For teens, the pressure to drink is everywhere, and it can be overwhelming. Even teens that are committed to staying sober are vulnerable without the right tools to help them overcome peer pressure and stand their ground when offered alcohol. If you are concerned about teen alcoholism in Fort Lauderdale, help is available to get your teen back on a healthier track. To fight addiction before it starts, help your teen face underage drinking peer pressure with these tips.

Plan Excuses

It’s nearly impossible for teens to go out and not be faced with an opportunity to drink at some point. Give your teens the confidence to deal with these situations by pre-planning a few excuses they can use to save face with their friends without taking a drink. Your teen could offer to be the designated driver, blame it on his or her need to get up early for a family event the next day, or say that you always check his or her breath after a night out. When your teen has a ready-made set of excuses that stop the peer pressure but not friendships, he or she will feel more comfortable about saying no.

Get Involved

Know who your teens’ friends are, and encourage your teens to host their friends at your house from time to time so you can develop relationships with them. It also helps to connect with their friends’ parents so you can have a network of support in managing behavior, and so you can identify the parents that may have laxer attitudes about drinking. Being engaged with your kids’ friends and letting them all know your behavior expectations can take some of the pressure of off your teen.

Share Your Stories

Tell your teens stories about when you had to deal with pressure to drink as a teen or maybe about how accepting a drink led to bad consequences. Showing your teens that alcohol abuse, addiction, and peer pressure are situations you also had to face will let them know that they’re not alone and will encourage open lines of communication.

Educate Your Teen on Drugs and Alcohol

Teen recovery in Fort Lauderdale is possible for any teenager suffering from addiction. However, to prevent substance abuse from occurring to begin with, it is important to educate your son or daughter about drugs and alcohol.

Rehab is an option for anyone struggling with alcoholism or drug addiction, including teens. But it is important to remember that the road after rehab is always a struggle. Recovering alcoholics and drug addicts often have to battle temptation for the rest of their lives. To make sure your teen has a healthy, productive, and happy life, make sure you educate your son or daughter about drugs and alcohol early on. Your teenagers should always know when and how to stop drinking. Drinking as a teenager is incredibly risky, as teens are more likely to abuse alcohol. Teenagers do not know how much they can drink at once—and are also more likely to engage in dangerous behaviors like drinking and driving. Teenagers’ brains are still changing, and drugs and alcohol can wreak havoc on their brain chemistry and growing bodies. When substance abuse begins during the teenage years, it is also much more likely to persist into adulthood. Having a conversation with your teen to share these facts can prevent the cycle of addiction and ensure a lifetime of good physical and mental health.

Understanding Underage Drinking

If your teen or adolescent is dealing with alcoholism, consider teen alcohol counseling and alcohol rehab near Fort Lauderdale. Alcohol is the substance most abused by adolescents in America. Teenagers are more like to try alcohol than cigarettes and other substances, and often drink excessively when alcohol is available.

The Appeal of Alcohol

When your child becomes a teenager, they are likely to begin taking risks, seeking independence, and rebelling against authority. They are also coping with changes in their body while trying to fit in socially with their peers. They might start drinking as a form of experimentation, but they may continue drinking if their home or family is unsettled or if they suffer from depression. Youths may also drink to adjust their image, to gain confidence, or to cope with social pressures, and can develop alcoholism as a result.

College Drinking

When your teenager goes to college, there are many situations where they may find themselves around alcohol and others who are drinking. Our culture is inundated with images and advertisements of young people consuming alcohol, and campus groups often hold parties where drinking is encouraged, which puts students in a situation where alcohol can seem appealing. Approximately four out of every five college students drink alcohol, and about half of those that do drink also binge drink. Students report that they will drink alcohol to lose their social inhibitions and enjoy themselves more. If a young person begins drinking alcohol, they are more likely to participate in unprotected sex and to try other substances. Adolescents or teens who begin drinking before age 15 are five times more likely to develop alcoholism later on than those who wait until age 21 to begin drinking.


Keeping alcohol out of reach and out of sight in your home can help prevent your teenager or adolescent from developing an underage drinking habit by limiting its availability. Educating youths about the representation of alcohol in our culture can help them prepare for situations where they may end up drinking alcohol or being around people who are.

Why Do Teens Use Alcohol and Drugs?

Teens are especially susceptible to alcoholism and drug addiction near Fort Lauderdale. Sadly, young adults who begin using alcohol and drugs early on are more likely to struggle with substance abuse for the rest of their lives. With early intervention and rehab, it is possible to make a full recovery and get on the path to a healthy, successful life. Teenagers use alcohol for many reasons, including social influences, self-medication, and natural insecurity. Keep reading to learn more.

Social Influences

Alcoholism and drug addiction are so prevalent in teens largely because they are more likely to be surrounded by a peer group that pressures them into substance abuse. Juveniles can begin using drugs as early as grade school. If they are frequently left unsupervised by parents or teachers, substance abuse can quickly turn into alcoholism or addiction. Teenagers frequently encounter drugs and alcohol at parties and social events. Often, their pressure to fit in leads them to make decisions that they would never otherwise make on their own.


Teenagers can also turn to drug or alcohol abuse as a way to self-medicate feelings that they do not completely understand. Mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia tend to surface during the young adult years. Teens may find themselves battling insomnia, unexplainable sadness, or feelings of isolation. Drugs and alcohol offer many a way to temporarily escape these unpleasant feelings. Even mentally healthy teenagers feel naturally insecure and uncomfortable with their looks, athletic ability, or school performance. Drugs and alcohol offer a way to cope.

Simple Boredom

Many young adults crave excitement and constant stimulation, which makes drugs and alcohol so appealing. If your son or daughter has few extracurricular activities or does not appear to be engaged in schoolwork or sports, he or she may seek older friends outside of school. Teenagers are naturally rebellious, so enforcing too strict of a schedule upon teenagers can inspire them to act out.

How Alcoholism Starts

Alcoholism can seriously affect every aspect of your life, from your job to your family. The circumstances of every person’s alcohol dependency are different, but many of the same patterns can be seen in different cases. Many people begin to become dependent on alcohol when they drink frequently to deal with stress or to relax. As their body’s alcohol tolerance increases, they need to drink more to feel the effects of the alcohol. Eventually, they find themselves needing to have a drink—and then more than one drink—on a regular basis. If a person begins to experience withdrawal symptoms such as headache, depression, or fatigue after not having a drink, it’s a strong sign of alcohol dependence.

One of the hardest things about confronting your alcoholism is admitting that you have a problem in the first place. If you are interested in learning how to stop drinking in Fort Lauderdale, contact an alcoholism counseling center as soon as possible.