Alcoholism in Young Adults

Signs of Alcoholism in Young Adults

Alcohol is often considered one of the most (if not the most) dangerous substances in the entire world, not only because of its availability but also because of its social acceptance. People throughout the world use alcohol for everything from celebrations to a way to relax after a long day at work, making it one of the most popular substances around. The downside of this popularity is that for some individuals, including young adults, drinking alcohol can become a problem to a point where professional care is needed to stop using.

The Definition and Dangers of Alcoholism

Alcohol, also called ethanol, is a clear and odorless substance. Alcoholic beverages are made through a process of fermentation; food items such as fruits and grains are fermented and processed in order to produce these beverages. Some examples of alcoholic beverages include:

  • Wine
  • Beer
  • Cider
  • Vodka
  • Whiskey
  • Rum

Although some individuals do not drink much or at all, most people who are at an age where they can legally consume alcohol have had a drink or two at some point. Alcohol is commonly present at social gatherings, including parties, weddings, and more. So, it’s not difficult to understand how alcohol’s accessibility can sometimes lead to major problems in the lives of many individuals and their families.

Many of the individuals who drink alcohol occasionally do not have a physical or mental dependence on this substance. But, after using alcohol regularly for a while, it’s likely that those who do so will become dependent on this substance. As a result, they may begin to abuse the substance, using it more often than they should or using it at inappropriate times (i.e. before or while driving). 

Once an individual begins to abuse alcohol, using it even when it is dangerous to do so, he or she may become addicted to the substance. This can be very dangerous as excessive alcohol use can lead to mental, emotional, and physical problems.

Alcoholism can cause the following issues in a person’s body:

  • Heart problems
  • Nerve damage
  • Liver damage
  • High blood pressure
  • Cognitive impairment

Those who depend on and are addicted to alcohol may experience depression, increased anxiety, sleep disturbance, and more.

How Common is Alcoholism Among Young Adults?

Many alcohol-related issues might affect people of all ages. But, one issue that is, unfortunately, common among young people in the United States is binge drinking. Teens and young adults throughout the country have found themselves drinking excessive and dangerous amounts of alcohol. As a result, many people have developed addictions to alcohol in their late teens and early adulthood.

According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, over 15 million individuals over the age of 18 were living with an alcohol use disorder. The same survey found that there were about 623,000 individuals between the ages of 12 and 18 who were suffering from alcohol abuse. 

Signs of Alcoholism in Young Adults

While alcoholism is popular in people of all different ages, it is becoming increasingly common in young adults who develop alcoholic behaviors in their late teens and early twenties. In many cases, their alcoholism develops through experimentation in high school and/or college, or as a result of peer pressure. Some of the most common signs of alcoholism in young adults can include the following:

  • Managing pressure – Everybody faces different pressures in life; however, young adults have their own set of pressures that can make their young lives more difficult. These often include getting good grades in school, making enough money to pay rent, coping with living away from home, the pressure at work, and much more. Drinking to cope with the challenges they are facing in their lives is often one of the biggest signs of alcoholism in young adults.
  • Preoccupation with drinking – One of the most common signs of alcoholism in young adults is a preoccupation with drinking. This includes always wanting to drink (even outside of parties and at social gatherings) and not being able to have fun without doing so. This sign of alcoholism in young adults can be misconstrued to look as though they are just trying to have fun when, in reality, they are struggling with a dangerous dependence on alcohol, which could eventually lead to alcohol addiction.
  • Changes in behavior when drinking – There’s no doubt that one of the biggest signs of alcoholism in young adults is a change in behavior when under the influence. Consistent drinking with behavioral changes that cause disruption is often a major sign of alcoholism in young adults, as there is clearly something happening internally that is causing this type of emotional breakdown when under the influence.

More Signs of Alcoholism

In addition to drinking to manage pressure, becoming preoccupied with drinking and displaying behavioral changes when under the influence, another common sign of alcoholism in young adults is the development of relationship troubles with others.

This can include fighting with loved ones, the inability to hold down an intimate relationship, and experiencing communication breakdowns on a regular basis. When signs of alcoholism in young adults become obvious, it is crucial that they seek treatment for their issues.

Through treatment, young adults can address the underlying issues that fuel their alcoholism, as well as talk more about their signs of alcoholism that caused them to impact both themselves and those around them. By doing this, they can work towards sobriety and end their alcoholism before it is too late.

Getting Help to End Addiction

If you know a young adult who is struggling with alcoholism, it’s time to take action. Your friend or family member may not truly understand the dangers and negative effects of his or her problem. But, you can work with your loved one to get the help he or she needs. Through your patience and love, you can help the individual in your life to find freedom from alcoholism.

Here at Northbound Treatment Services, we are dedicated to helping our clients achieve sobriety and have a successful recovery. To learn more about our services and how we can help individuals who are suffering from alcohol abuse, just contact us today by calling (866) 311-0003!

References:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alcohol-use-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20369243 

https://medlineplus.gov/alcoholusedisorderaud.html 

https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/alcohol-use-disorders 

Article Reviewed by Paul Alexander

Paul AlexanderPaul Alexander is the founder and CEO of Northbound Treatment. He received his Certified Addiction Treatment Specialist training at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, CA, and was awarded Outstanding Alumni Service Award in 2002. Paul holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology, Law and Society, Summa Cum Laude, from University of California, Irvine, and a Juris Doctorate degree from Loyola Law School of Los Angeles. He believes wholeheartedly in transformational leadership, organizational health and effective, fully integrated substance use disorder treatment.

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