A year into adulthood may seem too early to be making choices that affect you for a lifetime, but young adults with a drinking problem at 19 are already on a self-destructive path and may not even know it. What’s seen by many older teens as “normal” behavior—despite the legal drinking in the U.S. coming two years later—could reach beyond alcohol abuse and be labeled as addiction. Today let’s look at seven signs of alcohol addiction for the 19-year-old or any young adult.
As addiction to alcohol doesn’t have an age limit, a teen with certain patterns of drinking can be diagnosed as an alcoholic by a physician or an addiction specialist. Signs of a young woman reaching the point of alcohol addiction may include frequent binge drinking, alcohol-related consequences of missed shifts at work or missed classes at school, the development of alcohol-related health issues, and the appearance of risky behaviors during times of alcohol consumption. Treatment programs addressing both physical addiction and underlying mental health disorders are available for young women.
Only a physician or an addiction professional can give you an actual diagnosis regarding a substance use disorder, but we can look at some common traits of a young adult whose alcohol consumption and behaviors associated with drinking have reached a harmful level. Some of these will be mental conditions commonly showing up in young adults abusing alcohol. If you recognize one or more of these signs in your life or in the life of someone close to you, seeking treatment is a recommended next step.
Seven Signs of an Alcoholic at 19
1. You drink a few times a week and frequently or consistently binge drink.
Your drinking can be a social activity or you can be drinking alone. Typically when you begin drinking, you continue until you’ve consumed five or more drinks. You may lose track of the number of drinks or you may keep count and find the total tops a dozen drinks in one day.
2. Alcohol has directly affected your work or education.
Repeatedly missing classes or missing shifts at work because you were hungover or still intoxicated shows an error in judgment connected to your alcohol misuse. You’re in an age group where one in four college students face consequences of poor grades, falling behind in coursework, and incomplete assignments related to alcohol consumption.
3. You have developed an alcohol-related health problem.
The list of physical outcomes of alcohol addiction is lengthy, and it includes heart problems, malnutrition, high blood pressure. Mental health issues, such as moodiness, anxiety, or depression, can also develop with frequent alcohol misuse. Left unchecked, these health problems can become severe or deadly.
4. You have experienced severe withdrawal symptoms when attempting to quit drinking.
The intensity of withdrawal from alcohol or any other substance is a sign of the body’s dependence on it. You may have experienced tremors, nausea, and even hallucinations during periods when you stopped drinking. Intense withdrawal symptoms may be the reason you began drinking again.
5. You have made self-destructive choices when drinking, including criminal acts.
Any choice made under the influence of alcohol that negatively affects your health and well-being is a self-destructive choice. It could look like stealing or vandalizing property, taking unnecessary risks like drinking and driving, or returning to abusive situations and environments. The outcome could be serious injury, arrest, or even a risk of death.
6. You have harmed others or put others in harm’s way while under the influence of alcohol.
Your harm of others could come from a physical or sexual assault of multiple people or the same person multiple times. You may have seriously injured someone to the point of needing medical treatment. Drinking with you under any circumstances may be viewed as risky or dangerous by friends and acquaintances.
7. Your drinking is exacerbating an underlying mental health condition.
You may have stopped treatment for anxiety or quit taking prescription medication for depression and chosen alcohol as a replacement. You might notice the anxiety worsens or the depression intensifies during times you drink. Your ability to function daily without alcohol seems impossible and so you continue to abuse it whenever you can.
Getting treatment at a young age for alcohol addiction is not uncommon. A teen can begin recovery at a treatment facility designed to respond to both an alcohol addiction and a mental health disorder. These dual diagnoses can be effective in a treatment environment integrated to address the physical addiction to alcohol and the anxiety, depression, PTSD, or other mental health issue that’s been affecting the health and well-being of a young woman.
Hannah’s House is a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance use, mental health issues, and beyond. Our primary mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration. We offer renown clinical care for addiction and have the compassion and professional expertise to guide you toward lasting sobriety. For information on our programs, call us today: 844.321.1003.