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In 2019, about 24.6 percent of 14- to 15-year-olds reported having at least 1 drink.

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In 2019, 7 million young people ages 12 to 20 reported that they drank alcohol beyond

“just a few sips” in the past month.

In 2019, 4.2 million young people reported binge drinking at least once in the past month.

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Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder (Alcoholism)

Alcohol use disorder can be mild, moderate, or severe, based on the number of symptoms you experience. Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Being unable to limit the amount of alcohol you drink

  • Wanting to cut down on how much you drink or making unsuccessful attempts to do so

  • Spending a lot of time drinking, getting alcohol, or recovering from alcohol use

  • Feeling a strong craving or urge to drink alcohol

  • Failing to fulfill major obligations at work, school or home due to repeated alcohol use

  • Continuing to drink alcohol even though you know it's causing physical, social, or interpersonal problems

  • Giving up or reducing social and work activities and hobbies

  • Using alcohol in situations where it's not safe, such as when driving or swimming

  • Developing a tolerance to alcohol so you need more to feel its effect, or you have a reduced effect from the same amount

  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms — such as nausea, sweating and shaking — when you don't drink, or drinking to avoid these symptoms


Alcohol use disorder can include periods of alcohol intoxication and symptoms of withdrawal.

  • Alcohol intoxication results as the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream increases. The higher the blood alcohol concentration is, the more impaired you become. Alcohol intoxication causes behavior problems and mental changes. These may include inappropriate behavior, unstable moods, impaired judgment, slurred speech, impaired attention or memory, and poor coordination. You can also have periods called "blackouts," where you don't remember events. Very high blood alcohol levels can lead to coma or even death.

  • Alcohol withdrawal can occur when alcohol use has been heavy and prolonged and is then stopped or greatly reduced. It can occur within several hours to four or five days later. Signs and symptoms include sweating, rapid heartbeat, hand tremors, problems sleeping, nausea and vomiting, hallucinations, restlessness and agitation, anxiety, and occasionally seizures. Symptoms can be severe enough to impair your ability to function at work or in social situations.
     

What is considered 1 drink?

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines one standard drink as any one of these:

  • 12 ounces (355 milliliters) of regular beer (about 5 percent alcohol)

  • 8 to 9 ounces (237 to 266 milliliters) of malt liquor (about 7 percent alcohol)

  • 5 ounces (148 milliliters) of unfortified wine (about 12 percent alcohol)

  • 1.5 ounces (44 milliliters) of 80-proof hard liquor (about 40 percent alcohol)

Prevention in Underage Consumption

Early intervention can prevent alcohol-related problems in teens. If you have a teenager, be alert to signs and symptoms that may indicate usage of alcohol:

  • Loss of interest in activities and hobbies and in personal appearance

  • Red eyes, slurred speech, problems with coordination and memory lapses

  • Difficulties or changes in relationships with friends, such as joining a new crowd

  • Declining grades and problems in school

  • Frequent mood changes and defensive behavior

 

You can help prevent teenage alcohol use:

  • Communicate and encourage abstinence from drinking underage.

  • Set a good example with your own alcohol use if you drink.

  • Talk openly with your child, spend quality time together and become actively involved in your child's life.

  • Let your child know what behavior you expect — and what the consequences will be if he or she doesn't follow the rules.

How Do I Get Help?

As part of resisting or recovering from alcohol, you'll need to focus on changing your habits and making different lifestyle choices. These strategies may help.

  • Consider your social situation. Make it clear to your friends and family that you're not drinking alcohol. Develop a support system of friends and family who can support you. You may need to distance yourself from certain friends and social situations.

  • Develop healthy habits. For example, good sleep, regular physical activity, managing stress more effectively and eating well all can make it easier for you to refrain from drinking and/or recover from alcohol use disorder.

  • Do things that don't involve alcohol. You may find that many of your activities involve drinking. Replace them with hobbies or activities that are not centered around alcohol.

 

In additional to Professional Counseling, many people with alcohol problems and their family members find that participating in support groups is an essential part of coping with the disease, preventing or dealing with relapses, and staying sober. Your doctor or counselor can suggest a support group. Here are a few examples:

  • Celebrate Recovery. Celebrate Recovery is a Christ-centered, 12 step recovery program for anyone struggling with hurt, pain or addiction of any kind. It is a safe place to find community and freedom from the issues that are controlling our life.

  • Alcoholics Anonymous. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a self-help group for people recovering from alcoholism. AA offers a sober peer group and is built around 12 steps as an effective model for achieving total abstinence.

  • Al-Anon and Alateen. Al-Anon is designed for people who are affected by someone else's alcoholism. Alateen groups are available for teenage children of those with alcoholism. In sharing their stories, family members gain a greater understanding of how the disease affects the entire family.

Additional Resources

For a more detailed resource on Anxiety, click and download this PDF:  

Need help getting connected to a professional? Email counseling@breakdownstl.org for assistance.