Teenage drinking is expected since some consider it as a passage rite for high school and college students. These youngsters even go out on a Friday night to party, and binge drinking will likely happen. This may seem fun, but the truth is, it can lead your teens to an unhealthy habit of alcohol drinking.
Are you suspecting that your children are engaged in alcohol drinking? Do you think they have an alcohol use disorder? In that case, you need to seek medical help from a doctor or addiction specialist to help your teen recover from this unhealthy behavior.
How Serious Is Alcoholism in Teenagers?
In the US, this problem is growing considering the level of stress and peer pressure among adolescents. Around 2.6 billion teens aged 11 to 17 years are binge drinking while 1.4 million are also using marijuana or illicit substances. This situation worsens teenage alcoholism since the use of illicit substances heightens that addictive pleasurable effect from drinking.
Understanding Cause of Teenage Drinking to Give the Right Treatment
Unlike adult alcoholism, adolescents have a more complicated process when it comes to giving the most appropriate alcoholism treatment. Firstly, there must be a careful assessment of the reason why they are drinking since that can be stress from school, family, peers, and others.
The screening process for teen alcoholism is more challenging since the criteria under the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) is for adults, and not all are applicable for adolescents. Also, it is critical to label a teen as an alcoholic when he or she is just a user since that can demoralize them and lead them to alcohol abuse.
Here are some common reasons why adolescents turn to drink:
- Family issues
- Low grades
- Peer pressure
- Passage rite
- Relationship problems with their loved one
What are Reliable Screening Tools for Teenage Drinking?
Currently, there are two screening tools used to identify if an adolescent has an alcohol use disorder (AUD):
Substance Abuse Subtle Screening Inventory (SASSI)
This is a simplified questionnaire to be answered by the person you want to know if they have a substance use disorder (SUD). Because it is simplified, you can easily customize it to fit the condition of the client to be assessed for alcoholism. SASSI-2 is the one to be used for adolescents (aged 12-18 years).
Personal Experience Screening Questionnaire (PESQ)
This survey questionnaire is fit for assessing if a teenager has alcohol use disorder (AUD), and it only takes ten minutes to completely answer all questions. It is a standardized test made by the Minnesota Chemical Dependency Adolescent Assessment Project that aims to help an accurate screening of teenage alcoholism and substance abuse.
There are forty questions inside this test and it is divided into three categories: Problem Severity, Psychological Items, and Drug Use History. Overall, it holistically weighs all factors affecting a teenager’s chance of abusing alcohol and illicit substances.
Why do you need to accurately screen Teenagers for Alcoholism?
Adolescence is a challenging part of your children’s life because of hormonal changes and the influence of peers and society. They are in a life-changing situation, and so it will not be good for them to be directly labeled as an “alcoholic” since it can demoralize them.
Besides, accurate screening is necessary so that they will receive appropriate treatment for their alcohol use disorder. And this is a must for them to holistically recover from this unhealthy behavior.
What are Treatment Methods for Teen Alcoholism?
Treating the alcohol abuse of adolescents is a combination of medication and counseling so that the patient is treated physically and psychologically. The first step towards treating the alcoholism of your teens is to let them undergo detoxification. If the condition is severe, a medically-assisted detox plan is most suitable.
Here are the different treatment procedures for helping your adolescent recover from alcohol use disorder:
Multisystemic Therapy (MST)
This method aims to combine different types of treatment suitable for a patient. Around 7,000 teenagers with AUD have been treated using MST. The typical approaches used for this program are the 12-step method, cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, and psychotherapy.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
This method has been used to treat alcoholism, depression, and anxiety. Its main goal is to help the teenager or patient to determine the triggers or cues that lead them to drink or abuse substances and then find a positive way to cope.
The main element of this program is group counseling. Every member of the group gets a chance to share their insights and stories on how they can progress from their treatment. This motivates all the members in the group and also lets them learn from others’ stories.
Multidimensional Family Therapy (MDFT)
This program considers that teenage alcoholism and drug abuse are caused by several factors such as family, friends, community, and school. To help a teenager recover from alcohol abuse, these factors must be included in the treatment, particularly the family and the individual or patient.
Through this method, the patient will be helped in improving one’s communication, decision-making, thinking, and relationship with family and friends. There will be individual and family counseling for your teenager under MDFT.
The patient or your teenager is put in the hospital or rehab facility where he gets medical attention and supervision for 24 hours. This method is recommended for patients with severe alcohol addiction and who are suffering from painful withdrawal effects.
There will be a scheduled assessment for the patient’s recovery status to see if he can already come out from the rehab facility. Oftentimes, an outpatient treatment program is recommended to help the patient remain sober even after checking out from inpatient treatment.
This method is suitable for teenagers who are still on the fence about developing alcohol dependence. It is like a one-time counseling session by a doctor to help the teenager gain self-help and self-motivation.
When is the Right Time for Treating Alcoholism?
Alcohol use disorder (AUD) aggravates through time, so it is best to start treatment as soon as possible. Prioritize your welfare or the welfare of your teenager, start your treatment plan today.