There isn’t a single reason why teenagers use drugs or alcohol, but there are some common core influences behind the behavior. As a parent, you need to understand the reasons why your daughter is abusing alcohol so you can talk to her and find help.
- Other people: Teenagers see other people consuming various substances all the time, whether it’s parents, family members, other adults, or peers drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes and trying other substances. It’s common for teens to start using alcohol because they see other people enjoying it and consider part of the normal teen experience.
- Media: Music and movies make drinking and smoking marijuana seem cool. You need to be aware of the influence certain media has on your teenage daughter.
- Self-medication: When teenage girls are unhappy and can’t find a way to express frustration, they might turn to alcohol for comfort. It might help them feel blissfully oblivious, happy, energized or confident. The teenage years can take a serious toll on some girls, so when they find a way to feel better, the temptation is irresistible.
- Boredom: Teens who don’t like being alone, have trouble staying busy or constantly crave excitement are susceptible to alcohol abuse. It gives them something to do and helps fill an internal void. It also offers a way to bond with other teenagers.
- Rebellion: Wanting to rebel against parents and rules is normal for teenagers, but it can become dangerous when alcohol is involved. Underage drinking might give your teenage daughter a rush because she knows it’s not only against your rules, but against the law.
The Risks of Early Alcohol Use
Teenage girls who drink before age 21 are more likely to:
- Use heavy drinking to escape problems or cope with frustration and anger
- Drink because of family problems
- Delay their puberty, as abusing alcohol causes endocrine disorders
- Have unprotected sex or be sexually abused, putting them at risk for trauma, pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases
- Be involved in a fatal automobile crash
- Experience lasting impairment in brain functions like memory, coordination and motor skills
- Attempt suicide
- Be involved in violent, dangerous behaviors
- Develop alcoholism later in life
How We Can Help
If alcohol abuse has become a problem in your daughter’s life and you feel worried about her well-being, we can help. The CERTS Group is a family of specialized residential treatment centers and boarding schools for adolescent girls who are struggling with alcohol abuse, emotional issues, eating disorders, drug abuse and other problems. Our programs have a structure based upon Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) while combining traditional talk therapy with experiential therapies (equine assisted psychotherapy, art therapy, adventure therapy, music therapy, etc.) to achieve a resilient, more influential change. Contact us to learn more.