Drinking problems are alarmingly common among tween and teen girls. In fact, more young women than ever before are regularly consuming and abusing alcohol. The percentage of American teens who drink is already excessive, but statistics indicate that more and more girls turn to drinking today. Young women drink to facilitate social interaction and to combat stress, but they also drink to calm their runaway emotions. Parents who know the signs of alcohol abuse can get young women help before the problem gets out of hand. Read on for more facts about teenage drinking.
The Facts about Girls and Alcohol Use
The Partnership for a Drug-Free America* reports that girls drink more than boys today, both for social reasons and in response to life’s problems. Research shows that more than 26 percent of American high school girls admit to having been drunk at least once in the past 30 days. The number who admit to consuming some alcohol is almost 60 percent. Because young women are more prone to internalizing their emotions and feeling stress as a result, experts theorize that many use alcohol to self-medicate. Unfortunately, alcohol is more damaging to the developing female brain and has the potential to permanently compromise cognition and brain function.
Warning Signs of Alcohol Abuse
Experts urge parents and caregivers to know the signs of alcohol use and abuse and to keep a watchful eye, even if you trust your teen implicitly. Although some changes in mood and personality are normal for adolescent and teen girls, alcohol abuse can cause increased levels of irritability, anger or rebellion. Long-term or chronic use can result in academic struggles as well as behavioral problems at school. Girls may experience a loss of energy, fight getting up for school or let personal hygiene slip.
One of the most telling signs is a sudden change in her group of friends. Friends come and go, but when she starts spending time with an entirely new group of kids, especially if she is hesitant to introduce them, it’s time to explore her activities further. Finally, watch for slurring speech and a lack of coordination after she’s been out with her friends. If your daughter or another young woman in your care begins to show signs of alcohol use or addiction, seek professional help right away.
Helping Your Daughter Avoid Problems with Alcohol
Statistics prove overwhelmingly that teens are less likely to drink if their parents are actively involved in their lives. Likewise, the children of parents who drink excessively themselves are much more likely to binge drink. Taking your daughter’s stress level seriously and helping her develop strategies for coping with life’s pressures is a powerful way to avoid alcohol.
Girls often believe that parents belittle their stress, comparing it to their own. For an adolescent or teen girl, her daily struggles are both real and overwhelming. If a problem does develop, getting help early is the key to preventing more serious physical and emotional problems. Counseling and other psychological interventions are the standard treatment for adults.
Unfortunately, traditional talk therapy is frequently ineffective for teenagers. The research supports immersive or live-in treatment options as a highly effective way to address addiction and substance abuse in teenagers. Because the social structure of adolescents and teenagers is so tightly configured, it is extremely difficult to break the cycle of substance abuse with outpatient treatment.
The experienced, professional staff at Havenwood Academy specializes in helping girls and young women fight the battles of addiction. Despite a popular perception, experimentation with drugs or alcohol is not a normal part of growing up. If you believe a young woman in your care has begun to use alcohol or drugs, contact us today to learn more about our residential treatment programs. We can help you understand the challenges of alcohol abuse and help your family overcome your teen’s drinking problem.