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Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Signs, Symptoms, Treatment, and Recovery | Addiction Treatment

Alcohol Abuse

and Alcoholism

Signs, Symptoms,

Treatment, and




Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Alcohol is the most commonly abuse substance among teenagers in the United States. Excessive drinking is responsible for more than 4,500 deaths among underage youth each year, and costs the U.S. $24 billion each year on average and although drinking under the age of 21 is illegal, people aged 12 to 20 years drink 11% of all alcohol consumed in the United State with more than 90% of this alcohol consumed in the form of binge drinking. Alcohol is known to lessen inhibitions resulting in risky and even illegal behaviors among teenagers potentially leading to violence, drug abuse and incarceration.

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How to detect alcohol addiction in teenagers

The following are common questions to ask yourself if you think you have an alcohol addiction:

  • Have you ever tried to stop drinking for a week or longer but only lasted a couple of days?
  • Has your drinking ever caused you trouble at home?
  • Has your drinking ever caused you trouble with your job?
  • Have you ever felt the need to have a drink in the morning to curb shakiness?
  • Do you have “blackouts”? A blackout occurs when you have been drinking for a period of time and you cannot recall any events.
  • Do you drink when you are stressed out, disappointed or are in a fight with someone?
  • Have you ever had withdrawal symptoms from alcohol? These can include a racing heart, nausea, vomiting, tremors, or seizures.
  • Have you ever operated a motor vehicle while under the influence?
  • Have you ever tried to hide your drinking habits from your friends or family?
  • Has anyone close to you expressed concern about your drinking?
  • Do you often find yourself in a hurry to have your first drink of the day?
  • Do you ever feel disappointed or uncomfortable if alcohol is not available in a social setting?

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"Within a month, [my son] seemed like a completely new person with respect, empathy, ambition...you name it. He evolved into this young man that I always knew was there but was hidden during his years of drug abuse. "

Kim D.
Discovery Alumni Parent


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Signs and Symptoms of acute alcohol intoxication

  • Slurred speech
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Flushed face
  • Drowsiness
  • Agitation
  • Violent or aggressive outbursts
  • Swaying, staggering or stumbling
  • Excessive perspiration
  • Alcohol on breath
  • Blank or dazed look
  • Disorientated

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Treatment for alcoholism and alcohol addiction in teens

Alcohol treatment for teens includes both a pharmacological approach and a psychotherapy approach. Medications are used to prevent cravings associated with alcohol, to lessen or prevent withdrawal effects associated with alcohol and to induce unpleasant side effects when alcohol is consumed.

Behavioral therapy, family based approaches and recovery support systems such as Assertive Continuing Care, Mutual Help Groups, Peer Recovery Support Services and Recovery High schools are the mainstay of psychotherapy approaches used for alcohol treatment in teens. Behavioral therapy focuses on identifying the negative feelings, thoughts and emotions driving the teen to use alcohol and uses positive behavior approaches, coping skills and problem solving techniques to prevent these thoughts and negative behaviors. Family therapy approaches are used to provide education to the family as a unit about addiction and focus on family stressors and negative behaviors that may be present triggers for the teen’s behavior.

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