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Is It Okay for Teens to Have Alcohol at Home?

Is It Okay for Teens to Have Alcohol at Home?

There are plenty of valid reasons to be concerned about teen drinking. Teen drinking can lead to catastrophic consequences, both physically and emotionally. With fake IDs, older friends who can purchase it for them, and accessible liquor cabinets at home, it’s not hard for teens to obtain alcohol if they want to, which can all worsen the temptation to drink underage.

Out of a desire to curb temptation or curiosity, many parents allow their teens to drink alcohol at home under their supervision. In some cultures and religions, alcohol plays an integral role in sacred traditions. While we respect the right of parents to make their own decisions for their children, we at Clearfork Academy feel that this decision can produce significant consequences for their future. Through our years of experience helping teenagers overcome alcohol and substance abuse, we have seen the long-lasting effects that can result from allowing teenagers to drink alcohol within the comfort of their homes.

Does Early Teen Drinking Lead to Alcoholism?

While a sip of mom and dad’s alcohol doesn’t guarantee a future drinking problem, it is well known that teens who start drinking before the age of 15 are much more likely to experience alcoholism in their lifetime. We say this not to scare parents but to help them weigh the risks appropriately. The cognitive effects of drinking at a young age are too intense to take these matters lightly. In our experience, it is far too easy for a sip “every now and then” to become a regular occurrence. Normalizing substance use within the home at an early age can have devastating effects on teenage development, especially because their young brains are not yet fully developed.

The Consequences of Teen Drinking on the Brain

There is no question that alcohol use can impair brain functioning and structure, especially for vulnerable teenage brains. In particular, the brain’s reward center, which identifies feelings of pleasure, quickly learns to associate the use of alcohol with perceived feelings of pleasure. With regular drinking, the brain learns to only experience pleasure through the use of alcohol and will eventually require more alcohol to achieve that feeling once the body develops a tolerance. 

As the brain becomes preoccupied with seeking and using alcohol to achieve feelings of pleasure, other brain areas will inevitably suffer at the cost. As a result, teenagers that regularly use alcohol will likely experience cognitive impairments, such as learning difficulties and memory loss, which can affect academic performance. These effects can last well into adulthood.

The Correlation Between Teen Drinking and Drunk Driving

Teen driving under the influence is one of the most dangerous risks of underage alcohol consumption. Not surprisingly, teens who start drinking at a young age are more likely to drive drunk or get involved in a car wreck at some point in their life. Roughly ten percent of teens who are of driving age have driven a car after drinking alcohol.

Still, it is important to point out that many parents may be contributing to this risk by allowing teens to drink at home, especially if they aren’t aware of how alcohol can affect their teens. Just because a teen doesn’t appear to be drunk doesn’t mean that alcohol is not physically or mentally affecting them. Although an adult may not be considered drunk when they consume less than the legal limit, a teen requires much less alcohol to become mentally and physically impaired. 

How to Break the Familial Cycle of Addiction

Parents who are aware of a history of alcoholism in the family should be especially wary of allowing their teens to drink at home. Alcoholism is an addiction, which is classified as a disease. Like other diseases, it is something that can be passed down through generations. While this is no guarantee that subsequent generations will use substances, it greatly increases the risk. Teens in these family structures are predisposed to potential drinking problems when alcohol is present.

As a parent, you may want to have a frank discussion with your teen about your family history of mental health disorders and substance use if you know about it. Be honest about the possible outcomes of this life-altering condition, not to shame or scare them, but to educate and make them aware. The risk of developing alcoholism increases the closer an affected relative is to an impressionable teen, especially if that relative is a parent. 

You can set a positive example for your teens by being a positive role model. You can practice safe and moderate drinking habits, or even better, avoid using alcohol within the home when your teen is present. It is also important to emphasize that the legal drinking age is put in place for their protection. Above all, ensure that your teen understands the risks and consequences involved with underage drinking, and set healthy expectations with your teen moving forward. 

In our work with teenagers who are addicted to alcohol, we firmly believe that it is not in a teen’s best interest to consume alcohol in the home. While this practice is certainly not a guarantee that they will develop alcoholism later in life, the risks far outweigh the rewards. Parents may believe that they are helping curb the temptation to drink, but in our experience, we see that this tends to be the beginning of a long, uphill battle against addiction. Clearfork Academy is a treatment center for teens that has a long track record of helping teens achieve and sustain sobriety. We offer a range of different treatment programs and services to help prevent and treat teen substance use, as well as relapse. If you suspect that your teen is struggling with substance use, do not hesitate to call us today at (888) 966-8604.

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What Are the Long-Term Effects of Alcohol Use on Developing Brains?

What Are the Long-Term Effects of Alcohol Use on Developing Brains?

Numerous studies emphasize the danger of adolescent and teen drinking. The brain is in its primal stage of development until about the age of 25, making this population particularly vulnerable to the consequences of alcohol. The earlier an individual starts drinking, the more likely they are to develop an addiction and health complications later in life.

Why Is Teenage Drinking Dangerous?

Alcohol is one of the most commonly used substances among teens in the United States, largely because it is one of the most accessible. Many parents – or friends’ parents – have liquor cabinets that teens can easily access.

Teen drinking is dangerous because it can impair brain functioning in areas associated with decision-making, memory, and impulse control. Other consequences of teen drinking include drunk driving, violent or aggressive behavior, and an increased risk of developing an addiction. Teens who drink are more likely to engage in risky behaviors, such as having unprotected sex, which puts them at an increased risk of contracting STDs.

The consequences that may result from excessive drinking during the teen years can lead to long-term health consequences in adulthood, which is why early intervention from parents is so critical.

The Science of Alcohol on Adolescent Brains

Adolescence is a critical period of mental and physical development. One of the brain areas that develops the slowest is the frontal lobe, which controls abstract thoughts, impulses, and judgment. As this part of the brain develops last, teens are more vulnerable than other populations to make decisions without consideration of the potential long-term consequences. This isn’t because teens lack intelligence; it means they lack the foresight and experience that adults have.

Children in different stages of adolescence experience significant differences in brain development. The older a teen gets, the more the frontal lobe matures, which should improve decision-making skills and decrease impulsiveness. Until then, teens are particularly vulnerable to being influenced by their friends, social media, or society. All of these things can influence whether a teen decides to drink, how much they may consume, and how often.

For teens with mental health disorders, such as depression or anxiety, alcohol can worsen symptoms. Once the “buzzed” feeling from alcohol wears off, the inevitable crash can result in even more profound feelings of sadness or anxiousness. In some cases, excessive drinking can create symptoms of depression and anxiety, even if no symptoms had previously existed.

The Short-Term Effects of Alcohol Teenage Brains

Teenagers and adults alike may experience a range of short-term effects from alcohol use. Factors that contribute to the short-term effects of alcohol include bodily makeup, weight, and sex. Teen girls tend to feel the effects of alcohol more quickly compared to teen boys, and tend to feel effects from consuming lesser quantities of alcohol. This is because girls tend to be smaller and weigh more than teen boys. When teens consume more than four or five drinks in under two hours, this can qualify as binge drinking, which can be incredibly problematic for their health.

Immediate effects of alcohol on teens affect communication of the brain’s pathways. This can result in cognitive impairment such as loss of inhibitions, decreased decision-making skills, impaired motor skills, and poor coordination. Driving in this state is especially dangerous. If your teen has friends of driving age, make sure they know that they could still be drunk after a drink or two even if they may not perceive themselves to be. You may want to discuss a plan with your teen where they can call you to pick them up if their friends end up drinking or they can’t drive home.

The Long-Term Effects of Alcohol Teenage Brains

The long-term effects of alcohol are dependent on several factors, including:

  • How frequently a teen is drinking, such as every day, once a week, or once a year
  • The quantity of alcohol that is being consumed
  • The duration of time spent drinking (one hour vs. six hours)

Long-term drinking problems can result in damaged organs, including the liver and heart. Drinking can also weaken the immune system, which can make an individual more susceptible to illness and disease. Other long-term effects can include sleep disruption and digestive problems. Finally, teenage drinking can inevitably lead to the development of substance use disorders, such as addiction, later in life.

How Can Parents Prevent Teens From Drinking?

Talk to your teen about any temptations they face at school or among their friends to drink. Set up boundaries with social media so you can monitor what they may be searching for or viewing on the internet. Know where your teen is going and who they will be with. It is important to open up lines of communication with your teen and offer them a safe place to talk about substance use so that, if they do start to struggle, you can quickly connect them with treatment resources. 

Alcoholism is problematic for adults, but it’s especially damaging to teenagers whose brains are still in development. The effects of alcohol on teens can be detrimental if substance use is not managed as quickly as possible. Fortunately, there is Clearfork Academy: a substance abuse treatment facility for adolescent boys and girls. Our licensed, compassionate staff has helped hundreds of teens conquer the damaging effects of alcohol addiction and substance abuse. We are passionate about teaching teens how to live healthy and sober lives. Our treatments include inpatient and outpatient programs, summer programs, detoxes, and more. If you suspect your teen has a drinking problem, it is vital that you connect them with treatment resources as quickly as possible to avoid long-term consequences on their developing brain. To learn about our treatment programs, give us a call today at (888) 966-8604.  

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What Are the Dangers of Drinking While Taking Antidepressants?

What Are the Dangers of Drinking While Taking Antidepressants?

Teenage drinking is harmful for a surplus of reasons. Drinking is hazardous for teens who are taking antidepressants in an attempt to manage depressive symptoms. When an individual consumes alcohol while taking antidepressants, it counteracts the positive effects of the drug, which worsens depressive symptoms. In some cases, antidepressants can worsen the effects of alcohol. Therefore, alcohol and antidepressants make no healthy combination.

The temptation to self-medicate with alcohol may be strong if an antidepressant does not seem to be working or isn’t working quickly enough. However, drinking is a short-term, dangerous, and temporary fix to a long-term problem. Depression can be managed with medication and therapy, although it often takes time to find a working combination. If your teen’s medication doesn’t seem to be helping their depression, you may want to be cautious if they are possibly using alcohol as a coping mechanism.

The Effects of Alcohol Mixed With Antidepressants

Not only is there a clear link between alcohol use and developing depression symptoms, but there is also an increased risk of liver and brain damage, among other health consequences. Different antidepressant medications have varying effects, as each one uniquely affects neurotransmitters that regulate emotions in the brain. It is important to recognize that any side effects of antidepressants can be worsened with alcohol. These side effects can include worsened fatigue, nausea, dehydration, impaired concentration, and more.

There are no positive side effects when mixing alcohol and antidepressants. The most serious side effects may include:

Worsened Depression and Anxiety

Antidepressants were not designed to be taken with alcohol, which means drinking can make depression worse and harder to treat. The emotional “boost” from drinking is short-lived compared to the long-term damage that can occur from mixing substances that aren’t meant to be taken together. Drinking can exacerbate existing feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and anxiety.

Dangerous Reactions

Drinking on antidepressants can result in medical complications such as high blood pressure, seizures, nausea, dizziness, and headaches, not to mention fatigue that makes it difficult to function at work or in school. Thus the consequences of mixing antidepressants and alcohol can be both physical and social.

Some of the long-term effects of mixing alcohol and antidepressants may not be detected right away. These can include an inability to form blood clots and damage to vital organs such as the liver. If alcohol is a threat to your teen’s health, you should keep it inaccessible for them within your home.

When to Be Concerned

For many depressed people who turn to alcohol, they don’t necessarily want to get drunk; they just want to feel better. But a person will eventually have to consume larger amounts of alcohol to get to the same level of “escape” as their body develops a tolerance. This damaging cycle can result in what doctors call a co-occurring disorder, which is experiencing a substance use disorder and mental health disorder at the same time. Other times, teens may try to mix alcohol with their antidepressants as a new way to get high. Any time a prescription drug is used for something other than what it was intended for, it is known as substance misuse and can quickly develop into a substance use disorder.

If you think your teen is misusing their medication, it’s important to seek help right away. But bear in mind that a sudden withdrawal from the medication can trigger serious side effects, such as seizures. You should always discuss options with your teen’s medical professional before allowing your teen to quit or wean off their medication.

Be sure to talk with your teen about the importance of taking their medication consistently to see a positive difference. If they stop taking their medication to drink, the drug will not work the way that it is meant to. The dosage must be constant and consistent to feel a difference in mood. Stopping and starting antidepressant medications over and over again can also have the adverse effect of making depression worse.

Effective Treatment Options for Co-occurring Conditions

It is common for individuals to struggle with co-occurring conditions. As mental health problems can cause substance use problems and vice versa, co-occurring disorders must be treated simultaneously.

When patients are screened and treated for mental and substance use disorders together, the quality of care they receive is greatly increased. This is because the treatment approach for co-occurring disorders addresses a whole person, including physical, mental, and emotional symptoms. This can lead to effective long-term recovery from both conditions.

Treatment for co-occurring disorders may include a combination of therapy and tweaking the dosage or brand of antidepressant medication. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most effective form of therapy for patients with co-occurring disorders because it can help clients recognize how thought patterns can affect behavior.

The process of finding the right antidepressant, and the right dosage, can be time-consuming and frustrating. As teens wait for their medication to start working, they may turn to alcohol to self-medicate their symptoms. Early intervention is critical to ensuring your teen’s long-term health and successful treatment of clinical depression. Fortunately, Clearfork Academy is here to help. With several different treatment programs, outdoor summer programs, and detoxes, we specialize in helping young people conquer their substance abuse addiction and go on to live full, healthy lives. Our high success rate speaks for itself: our methods really work! If your teen is struggling with depression and substance abuse, don’t wait. Learn more about us through our website, along with information about insurance coverage. Call us today at (888) 966-8604 to speak with an informative and compassionate staff member. We look forward to chatting with you!

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How Does Alcohol Worsen Depression?

How Does Alcohol Worsen Depression?

Can drinking alcohol make depression worse? For teenagers specifically, the answer is a clear yes. This is because teenage brains are still developing, and alcohol use can impair brain functioning. As depression develops from a chemical imbalance, symptoms can worsen when an individual uses substances like alcohol. It is important to recognize the inevitable link between alcohol use and depression so you can actively work to prevent co-occurring conditions from developing in your teen.

Can Depression Lead to Alcohol Use?

It’s common for people with depression to struggle with drinking problems. Individuals with depression may turn to alcohol and other drugs to self-medicate feelings of hopelessness or numbness. Teenagers with depression are especially more susceptible to experimenting with alcohol as they may lack knowledge of healthier coping mechanisms.

Depression does not motivate everyone to use alcohol; however, without proper treatment, it can play a factor in the development of a substance use disorder (SUD) like alcoholism. People with a family history of mental health disorders and alcoholism are more likely to experience severe depressive episodes after drinking. It’s also important to know that regular drinking can reduce the effects of antidepressants, which are medications that are commonly used to manage depression. 

Can Excessive Alcohol Use Lead to Depression?

If teens regularly consume enough alcohol during this critical period of brain development, they can cause serious harm to their health, which can also lead to a diagnosis of depression. 

It is essential to talk with your teen about the ways that alcohol can lead to depression and worsen depressive symptoms. Some of these ways include:

Hangovers

Hangovers are unpleasant physical effects that result from alcohol use. Symptoms can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Light sensitivity
  • Dehydration
  • Trembling from low blood sugar
  • Vomiting
  • Severe headaches

Regular hangovers can result in building up alcohol tolerance, which means it will eventually require larger amounts of alcohol to feel desired effects. Regular hangovers in teens can negatively impact their ability to get up on time for school or jobs, which can damage their ability to complete schoolwork and fulfill other responsibilities. This makes hangovers both a medical and social issue. 

Acting Out of Character

There’s a reason that alcohol is sometimes called “liquid courage.” Teens may feel a temptation to drink at parties or other social events to feel courageous enough to act in ways they never could while being sober. This can lead to lowered inhibitions and making choices that teens will later regret, which will inevitably worsen existing depression symptoms. While alcohol may seem like an ideal coping mechanism to provide temporary relief, the physical and social damage it can cause is not worth the risk. 

On the other hand, pent-up emotions can cause teenagers to lash out when they are under the influence of alcohol, or especially when they are drunk. Understandably, this can have a direct negative impact on friendships. Drunkenness is not ideal for making clear, level-headed decisions.

Intensified Anxiety and Panic

Because depression and anxiety tend to go hand in hand, drinking can result in intensified anxiety and panic attacks once the effects wear off. Even teens who might not have experienced anxiety before can start to develop symptoms of anxiety attacks with regular drinking. 

Negatively Impacted Sleep

Quality sleep is important for anyone’s help, but especially for teenagers who are still developing. The quality of sleep one may get after drinking is of significantly lower quality than going to sleep sober. Alcohol has a direct effect on rapid eye movement (REM) cycles that happen during sleep, which can result in teen increased fatigue and lowered energy levels. Reduced sleep quality will have an inevitable impact on their ability to concentrate in classes. 

Interference With Healthy Coping Mechanisms

The development of healthy coping mechanisms for managing difficult circumstances is a vital part of growing up. Turning to alcohol in times of stress, sadness, or anger essentially robs teens of the ability to practice healthy forms of self-care. When drinking is the go-to response for dealing with negative emotions, teens will be unequipped for life on their own when they become of adult age. This destructive pattern may result in getting kicked out of school, joblessness, and possible homelessness if they lack healthy means of solving problems.

Alcohol use in place of healthy coping skills also causes teens to miss out on opportunities to learn more about themselves when they face hardships. Not every complication in life is harmful, and some can lead to increased resilience in the long run. Alcohol, then, becomes a deterrent for personal growth.

Depression is a condition characterized by feelings of hopelessness and persistent sadness. Teens may turn to alcohol as an attempt to self-medicate symptoms of depression. We know that alcohol worsens depression, and the effects of alcohol can cause negative emotions once the effects wear off. If your teen has depression, it’s essential to talk to them about the dangers of self-medicating with alcohol and any peer pressure they might face when out with their friends. If your depressed teen does have a drinking problem, Clearfork Academy can help. We are a faith-based treatment facility for adolescents and teens who struggle with substance abuse. Our treatments include inpatient and outpatient care, detoxing, and more. We can help treat and manage co-occurring disorders that exist in your teen. To learn more about our treatment programs, you can talk to a member of our staff today by calling us at (888) 966-8604.

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Does Alcoholism Run in Families?

Does Alcoholism Run in Families?

Alcoholism develops from a combination of genetic and environmental risk factors. If an individual is struggling with alcohol use, it’s not uncommon to look at their family history and find that they may have other relatives who share the same struggle. While having relatives that use substances does not guarantee that your teen will do so, it is a good reason to keep lines of communication open with your teen about the dangers of alcohol use.

How Environmental Factors Influence Alcoholism

The risks of your teen developing an alcohol addiction are increased if someone in their immediate family, like mom or dad, abuses alcohol. If alcohol is a prominent fixture in a child’s environment as they grow up, teens may see drinking as no big deal. If you or your partner have a history of alcohol use, it’s important to recognize that this will impact your child’s development and potential future substance use. It’s also important to be open and honest about your struggles rather than hide them, so your teen can understand how alcohol can negatively impact one’s health on a more personal level.

Many environmental factors can lead to the development of addiction in your teen. Teens who grow up in abusive, neglectful, or tense households in which the parents are always arguing may be more inclined to use alcohol to cope. Similarly, being exposed to substance use in peer groups may cause your teen to be curious about the effects of alcohol and want to experiment with it.

Is Alcohol Tolerance Hereditary?

Alcohol tolerance refers to the amount of alcohol a person has to consume before feeling its effects. Consuming large amounts of alcohol, or drinking alcohol regularly, can lead to an increase in tolerance. This means that an individual will have to drink alcohol in larger quantities to feel its desired effects. It may seem like high tolerance is linked to genetics, but alcohol tolerance is not believed to be an inherited trait.

Conversely, alcohol intolerance is believed to be genetic due to issues with metabolism. This is most commonly seen in people of Asian descent.

Alcoholism and Pregnancy

While genes play a role in determining alcoholism later in life, children of mothers who drink alcohol while pregnant or breastfeeding may experience long-term health consequences. There are established links between excessive drinking while pregnant and children born with brain damage or fetal alcohol syndrome. This can increase the likelihood of children developing poor motor function, learning disabilities, and alcohol addiction in later years. For mothers who drank through pregnancy, it’s unlikely that they will stop after birth. This means the baby will have prolonged exposure to alcohol through breastmilk.

Warning Signs of Alcoholism

As addiction can develop in anyone at any time, it is important to be familiar with the warning signs that may point to alcohol addiction or alcoholism. Some common warning signs may include:

  • Having regular cravings for alcohol
  • Being unable to stop drinking once you start
  • Having to consume larger amounts of alcohol in one sitting to reach the desired effect
  • Experiencing withdrawal effects, such as mood swings, nausea, or tremors, when not drinking

If any of these symptoms apply to you or your teen, we strongly advise you to seek help right away. Talk to your doctor about your concerns or look into addiction treatment programs that can help you treat the underlying causes of your substance use.

How Can I Break the Cycle Of Addiction in My Family?

Breaking the cycle of addiction in your family is challenging but not impossible. Here are some ways you can actively prevent addiction from developing in your or your loved one’s lives:

Demonstrate Responsibility

If you plan to attend an event where you know alcohol will be present, explain the importance of having a designated driver to your teen. If you question your ability to say no to a drink at an event with an open bar, such as a wedding, consider not having a drink at all or even skipping the event. Recognize that your teen is always watching you, whether consciously or unconsciously. You are a valuable role model for your child.

Talk to Your Teen

Talk to your teen regularly about the risks of alcohol use and alcohol addiction so they can make good choices while out with their friends. Your goal shouldn’t be to scare them but instead arm them with facts so they can take charge of their health. Similarly, having regular conversations with your teen about alcohol use is valuable because if they begin to struggle with it, they can come to you about it with honesty. Then, you can work as a team to get your teen connected with a treatment program.

When alcoholism runs in families, it’s easy to feel hopeless about stopping the cycle. Perhaps you’re thinking that the challenge of getting and staying sober is too much. Maybe you’re afraid of your teenager making the same destructive choices that you did, or you are seeing signs of the addiction cycle repeating in your teen already. Clearfork Academy specializes in treating teens and adolescents with drug and alcohol issues. We are a treatment facility that offers therapies, detox, inpatient and outpatient programs, and summer programs to help young people conquer their addictions and live healthy, sober lives. Our combination of spiritual and innovative psychological techniques has been shown to change the lives of many young people and their families. Yours can be next! For questions or to learn more about our treatments, please give us a call at (888) 966-8604.

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Is Alcohol a Gateway Drug?

Is Alcohol a Gateway Drug?

Gateway drugs are substances that are thought to lead to the use of more dangerous or addictive substances. The top three gateway drugs are thought to be nicotine (cigarettes), marijuana, and alcohol. The group of people that are most likely to develop an addiction from using gateway drugs is adolescents. Since the human brain is not considered fully developed until the age of 25, young people are especially vulnerable to the damaging effects of chemical substances.

Alcohol, in particular, is recognized as a leading gateway drug. Alcohol consumption causes abnormal inflammation in the brain, making it especially dangerous for young people. It is important to understand the harmful effects that alcohol use can have on the brain and to recognize the substance as a dangerous gateway drug.

How Does Alcohol Use Lead To Addiction?

Teens or young adults may initially choose to experiment with alcohol because they are curious about the substance’s effects. Since many families keep alcohol in their homes, it is one of the easiest substances for young people to access. While the decision to try alcohol may be voluntary, the chemical effects of alcohol hijack several areas of an individual’s brain.

Some of the ways that repeated alcohol use primes adolescents for experimenting with other substances may include:

Exposure to Dopamine Surges

Dopamine is a chemical that influences the brain’s reward center associated with identifying and motivating pleasurable behavior. Chemical substances like alcohol trigger abnormal surges of dopamine in the brain and body. The use of alcohol even one time triggers a dopamine surge, which the brain identifies as pleasurable. Then, the brain will continue to motivate substance-seeking and substance-using behavior as means of achieving repeated dopamine surges.

With repeated use, an individual will experience an increase in alcohol tolerance. This means that they will need to drink more each time to achieve desired effects. Eventually, the brain will recognize alcohol use as normal, and no longer trigger dopamine surges as intensely as before. This leads individuals to seek highs through harsher drugs.

Experiencing Increased Inhibition and Impulsivity

Being under the influence of alcohol can reduce inhibition and increase impulsivity, which can cause individuals to act in ways that they never would while sober. Some of those actions may include experimenting with harsher drugs, especially if they are not in the right frame of mind to consider the consequences or risks. Young people are especially prone to the influences of peer pressure and curiosity if they are already buzzed from alcohol.

Normalizing Party Drugs

If getting drunk with friends is considered normal for teenagers, it is only a matter of time before teens progress to other drug use. Teens may start to believe that “everyone is doing it” even if they aren’t, which may encourage experimentation. They may not yet see the consequences of long-term substance use among their friend group, which can lead them to believe that it is not harmful. Normalizing one type of behavior makes it easier to progress down a path they may not have anticipated.

Why Young People Are Especially at Risk for Addiction

The developing brain is uniquely vulnerable to both mental health disorders and substance use disorders, such as addiction. Eager to feel accepted by others, it’s relatively easy for adolescents to get involved in dangerous crowds and engage in risk-taking behaviors that they may not realize are harmful.

Unfortunately, adolescents tend to lack the foresight to see how the consequences of one decision can impact their future. A substance use disorder that develops from underage drinking can carry physical, emotional, and psychological consequences well into adulthood.

Additional Risk Factors

In general, some people are more likely to develop substance use disorders than others. Individuals that experience the following risk factors may be more likely to use alcohol as a gateway drug:

Genetics

Genetics shed light on an individual’s unique, chemical makeup. If an individual has a family member or relative that uses substances or has been diagnosed with a substance use disorder, they are more likely to experiment with substances at some point in their life.

Co-occurring Mental Health Disorders

A co-occurring disorder is the presence of both a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder. If an individual is already struggling with their mental health or associated diagnosis, they are more likely to use substances. They may turn to substances as an attempt to self-medicate their symptoms or because they are genuinely curious about the substance’s effects.

Childhood Trauma

Unfortunately, not every family knows how to cope when trauma affects a child. This could be anything from a tragic accident, an illness, or abuse. Children who suffer from untreated trauma are also at increased risk of substance use and addiction later in life.

Alcohol is a harmful substance for the developing brain. As adolescents and teens age, they may become exposed to the effects of alcohol through their friend groups. It is essential to recognize that alcohol is a gateway drug that can cause young children to be curious about the effects of other substances. It is important to know what factors can increase an individual’s risk of using alcohol and other substances. If your child is struggling, understand that treatment is available. Clearfork Academy has evidence-based solutions for teenagers struggling with alcohol or substance abuse. Our outdoor, faith-based program is run by experienced, compassionate staff to help your teen on8 the road to recovery. We offer detox, inpatient, and residential treatment programs depending on the severity of your teen’s condition. To learn more about our treatment center, reach out to us today by calling (88) 966-8604.

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What Is Teen Alcohol Poisoning?

What Is Teen Alcohol Poisoning?

Teens experiencing alcohol poisoning are on the rise. Alcohol poisoning usually results from binge drinking and can lead to death if left untreated. Understanding the signs and symptoms is critical. Parents who have children in their late teens should be aware of alcohol poisoning.

What Is Teen Alcohol Poisoning?

Teen alcohol poisoning is a severe medical emergency. It occurs when someone consumes a large amount of alcohol in a short period. The more they drink, the higher their blood alcohol concentration (BAC). BAC is determined by several factors, including body type, weight, and gender. Alcohol overdose can also be caused by drinking on an empty stomach or binge drinking over several hours.

Alcohol poisoning can cause the body to shut down and quit functioning. When a person consumes too much alcohol at once, their blood alcohol level can exceed 0.4%. At this level, a person can experience difficulty breathing, become comatose, or die from suffocation due to vomiting while unconscious.

Risks of Teen Alcohol Poisoning

Alcohol poisoning occurs when someone drinks too much alcohol in a short time. If alcohol is consumed quickly, the body can’t process it fast enough, and the person becomes drunk. Their blood-alcohol level is higher than their liver can handle. Eventually, this can cause damage to other organs, including the brain and heart.  

Other potential causes of teen alcohol poisoning include the following:

  • Alcohol can cause an insufficient supply of oxygen to reach vital organs such as the brain, heart, and lungs, leading to organ failure or brain damage. Alcohol also depresses a person’s gag reflex, making them more likely to choke on their vomit and die.
  • Alcohol dilates blood vessels and slows breathing and heart rate. This may lead someone experiencing alcohol poisoning to develop hypothermia because their body cannot regulate its temperature correctly. 
  • Alcohol poisoning can also result in coma and even death due to a lack of oxygen reaching the organs. It can cause fatal injury due to coordination problems or loss of consciousness caused by excessive amounts of alcohol.

What Happens During an Episode of  Alcohol Poisoning?

Drinking large amounts of alcohol in a short time can overwhelm the body’s ability to metabolize alcohol. The amount of alcohol in a teen’s bloodstream rises to dangerous levels and interferes with their central nervous system, regulating involuntary heart rate, body temperature, and breathing. 

A teen’s breathing can slow down or stop, their heart rate can also slow down or stop, and their body temperature can drop dangerously low. 

The Cost of Alcohol Poisoning

A teen suffering from alcohol poisoning is at risk of suffering seizures, coma, and even death.  As the depressed central nervous system shuts down, it can lead to coma or death. Or, if the breathing and gag reflexes slow down or stop working, the teen can stop breathing and choke on their vomit. A teen with alcohol poisoning may suffer a heart attack or brain damage.

When to Seek Medical Attention

Every second counts when it comes to receiving medical attention. In some cases, waiting even an hour can lead to permanent brain damage or death from hypothermia, choking on vomit, or heart problems caused by drinking too much too quickly.

You should seek help if you notice these symptoms:

  • Someone passes out and cannot wake up
  • Someone is breathing less than eight times per minute or taking more than 10 seconds between breaths
  • Someone has a seizure
  • Someone’s skin is pale or blueish
  • Someone has a low body temperature (hypothermia)
  • Slow breathing (less than ten breaths per minute)
  • Vomits while sleeping or passed out and doesn’t wake up when vomiting, increasing the risk of choking

Reasons Why More Teens Are Experiencing Alcohol Poisoning

There are several reasons why more teens today experience alcohol poisoning. The following are four reasons why parents should be concerned about teen alcohol poisoning:

  • Drinking problem among teens: According to a recent report, the rate of drinking has dropped over the last decade. However, this does not mean that there are fewer underage drinkers. A recent survey reported that “19% of young people aged 12 to 20 years reported drinking alcohol.” 
  • The party culture: Many high school and college students consider binge drinking part of the “party culture.” While some students may drink once or twice, others may drink every weekend. A recent study found that “4.2 million young people reported binge drinking at least once in the past month.” 
  • More money, more access to liquor: Teens who have jobs or a steady income may be able to buy more alcohol. Ease of access to liquor at home also increases the risk that teens will consume more than their bodies can handle.

Alcohol poisoning, also called acute alcohol poisoning (AAP), is extremely dangerous. AAP causes severe complications and can lead to death. If left untreated, it can progress into severe complications and life-threatening situations. For teenagers, it can interfere with brain development. At Clearfork Academy, we understand that individuals who have a history of drinking too much are prone to alcohol poisoning. Understanding the signs is essential. We provide a comprehensive program to assist teens in regaining their lives and maintaining lasting recovery. You don’t want to see your child struggle with alcohol or drugs, and while it can be challenging to know how to handle things., we can help. We believe that proper treatment is the key. If your teen is using alcohol or other substances, the time to get help is today. Find out more by contacting our admissions team at (888) 966-8604

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A Guide for Parents: How to Better Support Your Sober Teen

A Guide For Parents: How to Better Support Your Sober Teen

Supporting a teen in recovery is an exciting time. While this is a moment to celebrate progress, the work doesn’t stop after inpatient or outpatient treatment. As a parent, knowing how to support your child’s sober lifestyle after treatment will prepare them for long-term sobriety.

Here are six tips to help you offer support for your child’s sobriety after intensive treatment.

#1. Be a Good Support System

Treatment centers and programs offer a constant professional support system for your child. However, when it’s time for your teen to come back home, you will become the ultimate and constant support system that they will need to lean on. Aftercare is always an option, but you are their caregiver and will be with them for the majority of their day.

One of the most important aspects of teen addiction recovery is family involvement. It is not an easy task, but it is necessary to make sure your teen stays on the right track. Being a good support system means providing them with emotional, mental, and physical support. Validating their emotions, being a listening ear, and offering a shoulder to lean all contribute to helping prevent relapse.

#2. Keep Communication Open

Poor communication could be one of the most damaging aspects of your parent-child relationship. Poor communication habits may involve constant lying, arguing, manipulation, or avoiding communication altogether. It is vital to develop strong communication skills through individual and family therapy. Knowing how to respectfully and truthfully talk to one another will be key to working towards long-term sobriety.

While respecting boundaries and allowing your child the space to be themselves, walking on eggshells or keeping secrets should no longer be allowed. Creating a new relationship where your child feels safe enough to tell you when they slip up or express their emotions will be essential to developing good communication in the future.

#3. Don’t Bring Up the Past

Everyone makes mistakes. You can’t change the past, and you can’t predict the future. You must focus on the present moment and understand who you and your child are now that you are both on the journey to recovery. Constantly reminding your child of their past actions can be hurtful to their recovery.

Addiction is a complex and damaging disease that is extremely hard for a parent to watch their children battle. The healing process won’t be overnight and won’t happen in front of everyone. Allow your child room to grow into someone new and accept them for who they become.

#4. Rebuild the Relationship

In order to rebuild a relationship after addiction, you both should acknowledge that you are not the same person as before. Spend time with your child and get to know them better and who they are becoming after treatment. Show them that you care and are willing to do your part in making amends. Forgiveness and full trust will take time, and building a new relationship won’t happen overnight. An effort is necessary from both ends for a new connection to develop.

#5. Educate Yourself on Addiction

The saying “addiction is a disease” is real. It means there is much to study about addiction to understand it. Addiction is not limited to alcohol or hard drugs. Identify what kind of addiction your teen has and start doing your research. Learn the causes and risk factors along with symptoms and how they change the brain.

Understanding the complexities of addiction and what it encompasses will help you understand what they are going through and give you insight on how to help. It can also bring a sense of compassion when you understand that it is the addiction and drugs causing your child’s behavior and not who they are.

#6. Keep Them Accountable

Codependent relationships are very common for people with addiction. In the past, it may have been hard to stand your ground against your child who was battling addiction. Now that they have entered sobriety, accountability will be crucial to staying successful and becoming independent. Your teen should incorporate goals in their treatment plan. Help them stick to the goals they set, and hold them accountable when they don’t follow through.

The road to long-term sobriety is not a straight path, so know that there will be slip-ups and a few bumps in the road. Offer them grace and compassion but still remind them what they are striving to accomplish. Try to help them stay as consistent as possible with their goals and any treatment they have left.

Whether your teen is just starting to use drugs or whether they are under the weight of addiction, it is never too late or too soon to reach out for help. Clearfork Academy is committed to helping our patients grow and recover from their addiction and restore their relationships with their families. Addiction recovery is not a task any parent should have to do alone. We offer programs that give both you and your child the tools you need to continue living a sober lifestyle after intensive treatment. Substance use disorders can also perpetuate underlying mental health conditions such as depression, PTSD, or anxiety. At Clearfork, we aim to get to the root of their addiction, which is why we also work to treat any underlying co-occurring mental health disorder. If your teen is in need of addiction or mental health treatment, get help today. To learn more, call Clearfork Academy at (888) 966-8604

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How to Spot Alcohol or Drug Activity?

Mother embracing her teen daughter to comfort her

Parents play a huge role in the lives of their children. They know their kids better than anyone else and are on hand to notice when something isn’t right. That’s why every parent needs to be aware of the signs to look out for regarding alcohol or drug abuse in teens.

Here are some ways to spot alcohol or drug use to help your teen stay safe and healthy.

How to Detect Alcohol or Drug Activity

Alcohol or drug use can be challenging to detect. However, there are some tell-tale signs that your teen is struggling with substance abuse. One of the best ways to detect alcohol or drug use in teens is to look at their space, including their room and postings on social media. Their activity on social media may tell you about your teen’s problems.

Another way to detect alcohol or drug use is to monitor your teen’s behavior. If your teen has sudden mood swings, seems more withdrawn, and starts hanging out with people they don’t usually hang out with, these are all indicators that something might be wrong.

Communicate With Your Child

You and your teen need to establish an open dialogue about subjects like drugs and alcohol. Listen to your child and withhold judgment when they speak. Doing so will build trust and help your child understand that you support them.

Together, you and your child can address what is bothering them and find ways to help manage the symptoms they are experiencing. You should consider seeking professional care to provide additional methods to help your child overcome the challenges of school and life that may trigger them to use substances.

Tell-Tale Signs of Drug Use or Consumption of Alcohol

The effects of alcohol and drugs vary depending on the person and how often they use them. It’s not always easy to spot a person using these substances because some don’t show outward signs. Some of the most common symptoms include changes in behavior, appearance, and emotions. The following list highlights the tell-tale signs:

Mental Health Related Signs of Substance Use:

  • Mood swings
  • Fatigue and decreased motivation
  • Increased paranoia and hallucinations caused by high doses and intense periods of substance use
  • Have difficulty focusing on the tasks at hand
  • Exhibit antisocial behavior such as aggression or increased impulsiveness
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Suspiciousness of others, including you as a parent
  • Inability to focus or concentrate a decrease in short-term memory

Physical Signs of Substance Use:

  • Constant bloodshot eyes and dilated pupils (than usual)
  • Rubbing the nose frequently because of a continuously running or irritable nose
  • Redness of the skin around the mouth
  • A lack of coordination with movement due to impaired brain function
  • Dilated nostrils or mouth due to snorting or inhalation
  • An odor, like alcohol,  on the breath or clothes
  • Decrease in appetite with consequent weight loss over time
  • Track marks on arms or legs from intravenous drug use
  • Needles and syringes are lying around
  • Small baggies with white powder lying around their stuff
  • Withdrawal symptoms (such as anxiety, irritability, agitation)
  • There are more scabs or bruises from picking at skin compulsively (common among people who abuse stimulants)

Behavioral Signs of Substance Use:

  • A sudden change in friends or hanging out with a new crowd
  • Anger issues such as rage attacks (breaking things)
  • Exhibit antisocial behavior such as aggression or increased impulsiveness
  • New or more significant secretive behavior
  • Sudden changes in grades
  • Staying out late, withdrawing from the family, or wanting to isolate
  • Problems with the law, such as frequent run-ins with police
  • Stealing objects in the house that they can sell or asking you for money
  • Vague responses when asked what’s wrong or how they feel; their answer is always “fine” or “good”
  • Lack of motivation or interest in activities once enjoyed by the individual
  • Increased absenteeism from school or extracurricular activities

If you see any of these signs in your teen, it’s essential to talk to them and get them help.

How to Help Your Teen?

Parents can help their teens recover from drugs with treatment, including counseling, drug education, medication, and family therapy. Parents can also provide support by participating in their child’s recovery process via counseling and by continuing to strengthen the lines of communication. The more resources for help you provide your child, the better chance they have at a successful recovery.

At Clearfork Academy, our treatment programs involve therapy, holistic services, education on relapse prevention, and peer support to reduce the urge for substance use.

If you find yourself questioning whether your teen is drinking or doing drugs, take action. Talk with them, educate yourself about substance use, and get them the help they need. At Clearfork Academy, we encourage and help parents lookout for any signs of alcohol or drugs. Our programs help educate parents and teens about substance use. Having an understanding of substance use will also allow parents, teens, and health professionals with diagnosis and find appropriate treatment. We provide evidence-based treatments, various therapeutic options, and holistic services that serve your teen’s recovery goals. Our goal is to help your teen overcome substance use and establish the confidence necessary to live life to its fullest potential. Stop your teen’s struggles with substance use from worsening by contacting our specialists at Clearfork Academy. Our admissions are here 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To learn more about our programs, contact us today by calling (888) 966-8604.