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Teenage Drinking: What’s Normal? | Freedom From Addiction

Identifying and Dealing with Teenage Drinking

Most parents experience the effects of teenage drinking at some point during their children’s adolescent years. While many factors can influence drinking, such as pop culture or the influence of friends, it is important to know that alcohol is the most commonly abused substance in Canada. Teenagers are exposed to alcohol as much as adults are. In 2019, seven million young people between the ages of 12 and 20 reported that they drank beyond “a few sips” in the past month.

With that being said, let’s look at some facts and regulations about teenage drinking so you can evaluate if you or your loved one is suffering from alcohol abuse at a young age.

Teenage Drinking Facts in Canada

While the drinking age in Canada is lower than in most countries, research reveals that more students consume alcohol in moderation compared to American students. 42% of students in Canada admitted to “partying” at least once a week, compared to the 54% of students who did the same in America.

Here are more alcohol statistics and facts surrounding teen drinking activities in Canada:

  • 83% of grade 12 students in Ontario admit to drinking, and 49% of those students admit to binge drinking
  • 79% of individuals in Alberta over the age of 15 consume alcohol to some extent
  • In 2002, alcohol consumption in teens was responsible for more than $14.6 billion in costs
  • 24.2% of grade 7 to 12 students reported drinking five or more drinks on one occasion between 2016 and 2017

While the numbers are still relatively high, there has been a decrease in teenage drinking among young Canadians over the past years. While it is a positive outcome, it is not a reason to look the other way when a loved one is showing signs of constant intoxication.

When is Teenage Drinking Too Much?

Alcohol consumption among minors is a common occurrence, which is why knowing when it has become an issue is a must. Signs of alcoholism in minors can vary, and can affect them mentally, physically, emotionally, or behaviourally. Alcohol abuse can also be a form of escapism for teenagers who are struggling with personal issues or pain.

Photos of teenagers dancing at a house party

Teenage Drinking: Short-Term Effects

It is normal for adolescents to gather and have a good time – what they do when not supervised by adults is beyond any parent’s control. While some might think that it is acceptable for teenagers to go home intoxicated from a party, it’s important to be aware that they could exhibit symptoms that affect their short-term decision-making.

Here are some physical signs of alcohol intoxication:

  • The strong smell of alcohol when they speak
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Fatigue
  • Slurred speech
  • Building up a tolerance, leading to more aggressive drinking habits

Failing to recognize the potential long-term effects of the symptoms mentioned above could lead to bigger problems in the future.

Let’s look at those problems.

Long-Term Effects of Teenage Drinking

Recent research shows that alcohol abuse in teens interferes with the expression of a protein needed for brain development. Because of this, teenage drinking can lead to long-term changes in the part of the brain responsible for emotion.

With that said, here are some related, serious effects of teenage drinking on the brain:

  • Deteriorating hygiene and personal grooming
  • Aggressive behaviour or combative expressions
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Slipping grades and a general disinterest in academics
  • Failing to show up in extra-curricular activities
  • Showing signs of neglect of responsibilities
  • Constant lying in regards to details of their whereabouts
  • Frequent depressed or anxious state

If you think a younger family member or a friend exhibits one or more symptoms mentioned above, then he or she might be suffering from alcohol abuse. While it might be time to seek treatment, there is no need to worry. Freedom From Addiction offers a safe detoxification program led by trained therapists and medical professionals to effectively cleanse patients of alcohol in an effective manner.

Teenage Drinking: Serious Risks

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Canada, automobile accidents are the number one cause of deaths for young Canadians aged 15 to 25, and 50% of those said crashes involve alcohol.

Aside from drunk driving, there are other heightened risks associated with teenage drinking, which is why it’s important to control this problem during the early stages. More examples include:

  • Can cause serious physical injuries and accidents
  • Unsafe sexual behaviour
  • Exposure to interpersonal violence
  • Troubles with the law
  • Serious health issues

How to Deal With Teenage Drinking

It can truly be a challenging ordeal to accept that your son, daughter, friend, or loved one could be under the pitfalls of alcohol abuse. However, taking the necessary steps toward their sobriety is one of the most important things you can do as their trusted aid.

Freedom From Addiction acknowledges this struggle. Which is why we have come up with nurturing treatment and recovery programs to help young individuals overcome their dependence on alcohol.

Our Alcohol Addiction Treatment involves family therapy that encourages the support of loved ones, allowing you to be present every step of the way. Enrolling in counselling sessions, whether individual or in a group, can aid in relapse prevention and change behavioural patterns toward the substance.

Struggling With Teenage Drinking in Toronto?

We are here to help. Whether it is for you, or for someone close to your heart, Freedom From Addiction will guide you through the journey to sobriety and clarity.

Our team of seasoned therapists and medical professionals is always willing to advise what’s best for the affected individual. No matter how light or heavy the teenage drinking situation is, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Our specialists will offer the best possible recovery program so that you, or your loved one, can come back to living a sober life as soon as possible.

For more information about our alcohol addiction treatments, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. A member of our team will get back to you shortly. Contact us today.


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