Teenage Alcoholism Effects

Medically Reviewed By Kayla Loibl | Last Edited : August 02, 
| 4 Sources

Alcoholism effects on underage drinkers is a growing concern among parents and teachers. Teenage alcoholism is a growing problem even though the legal drinking age is 21. Significant numbers of underage drinkers indulge in social drinking, binge drinking, and as a result some may become addicted.

Unlike adults who over-indulge when under duress, teenage alcoholism often begins by drinking during social interactions or when pressured by peers. Additionally, teens may turn to alcohol if they have struggles at home, if they feel awkward or rejected, when depressed, and if their parents have drinking problems.

Beyond this, the media downplays alcoholism effects and makes drinking seem fun, cool, and trendy.

Studies show that if you or your friends start drinking before the age of 15, you’re at a much higher risk of teenage alcoholism, or adult alcoholism. Currently there are about 3 million teenagers who struggle with dangerous drinking behaviors or alcohol addiction. The results can be devastating.

Not only does alcohol impede critical thinking skills, but you can suffer memory loss, behavioral changes, illness and injury. Some teen alcoholics have even committed suicide due to alcohol being a depressant.

Teen Alcoholism Effects Fact Sheet

  • On average, young girls first start drinking around age 13; boys around age 11.
  • Over 40 percent of 14 year-olds have tried alcohol at least one time.
  • About 50% of high school students drink alcohol on a monthly basis.
  • Approximately 5,000 teenage death are tied to alcoholism effects and binge drinking.
  • Girls who drink heavily are 3 times as prone to suicidal thoughts as those who do not.
  • Individuals who constantly drink between 18 and 22 years of age illustrate difficulty with typical adult transitions like finding work.
  • Even occasional binge drinking (drinking 5 or more drinks in a row) can destroy brain cells.
  • Good parental communication and support decreases the likelihood of alcohol addiction.

Teenage Alcoholism Signs

While some teens drink as just a normal part of testing limits, spontaneity and curiosity, others drink because they feel they have to. Most people do not become an alcoholic immediately, and not all become one for the same reasons.

Nonetheless, the effects of alcoholism can be life long. Knowing the signs of addition is half the battle. Then, if you or someone you know has a problem, the first step is seeking help

Here are a few of the signs for which to watch:

  • Drinking when you know you shouldn’t (like at school).
  • Continuing to drink till you’re drunk even if you know the consequences.
  • Getting into on-going trouble for drinking.
  • Inability to concentrate or function in normal daily tasks due to the effects of over-indulging.
  • Memory loss and bad decision making.
  • Having to drink increasing amounts to feel the way you want.
  • Spending increasing amounts of time drinking or with a hangover.
  • Craving alcohol when you don’t have any.
  • Inability to stop drinking (loss of control).
  • Personality changes.


There are several options for treating alcoholic teens, the most common being counseling and support groups. These two approaches often include education on alcoholism effects, and evaluating what caused the craving to drink. This will enable individuals to learn new life patterns that are healthy and productive.

Family intervention is another possible treatment for teenage alcoholism, but it’s not the most recommended approach. Experts agree that interventions can cause stress in the home, negative feelings, and possibly make matters worse. Therefore families considering interventions may wish to seek professional assistance.

Lead Writer/Reviewer : Kayla Loibl

Licensed Medical Health Professional 

I am a Mental Health Counselor who is licensed in both New York (LMHC) and North Carolina (LPC). I have been working in the Mental Health field since 2015. I have worked in a residential setting, an outpatient program and an inpatient addictions program. I began working in Long Island, NY and then in Guelph, Ontario after moving to Canada. Read More

More about alcoholism effects on our teenage alcoholism page

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