Teen alcohol addiction can be a serious problem no matter where a person lives, even in areas where teenagers are allowed to consume alcoholic beverages. Parents and friends of teenagers should keep an eye out for the signs of teen alcohol addiction and confront teens who appear to be acting in erratic ways due to alcohol consumption.
While there are different cultural standards for what constitutes addiction. teen alcohol addition is usually thought of as a dependence on alcohol, not excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages. This is an important distinction, because many teenagers drink enough to make themselves sick and do so on a regular basis, but not many teenagers experience symptoms of withdrawal, nor do they often choose alcohol over other activities or commitments. Teen alcohol addiction is a situation in which the teen cannot go without alcohol, much like an adult who has been drinking for many years.
The signs of teen alcohol addiction usually involve major personality changes. Many sources tell parents to look out for changes in clothing styles, friends, or interests. These sources also advise parents to look out for teenagers with an increased desire for secrecy, more demands for money, or disinterest in family activities. As these are things that most teenagers experience and desire, these signs may co-occur with teen alcohol addiction, but do not directly indicate the condition.
Talking about alcohol addiction in a reasonable way with a teenager highlights that alcohol consumption is not by its nature wrong, and opens up the possibility of discussing when consumption of alcohol can be a problem. Teenagers can be wildly erratic in their behavior and trying to isolate a unique sign by which to diagnose alcohol addiction is difficult. A teenager who has a problem will almost certainly not be able to conceal it during a lengthy, rational discussion about alcohol.
It is important to realize that a person's teenage years are often filled with experimentation and personality changes, and that addiction is a serious diagnosis that can injure a person's self image forever. People who label themselves as addicts often pick up substitute addictions, such as addictions to self-help, coffee, or cigarettes. Someone who is a teenager who enjoys alcohol may not be addicted to alcohol, and may simply need a more structured home life to prevent overuse of the substance.
Parents who teach their children about alcohol responsibility at an earlier age often set a good example, meaning the teenagers often make more informed, safer desicisions in regards to alcohol consumption.