Teenagers are usually at a vulnerable age in their lives when they are attempting to look for their identity as they transition into adulthood. Most teenagers are impressionable and are dependent on the opinions of their peers in most of the aspects of their lives. They are often looking for the approval and acceptance of others, beyond that which they may already get from their parents. For instance, a teenager will take seriously the issue of body image depending on what they think is acceptable among their peers.
This “group-think” mentality tends to lead most youths to make decisions that they may regret making sooner rather than later. This paper shall be addressing various literature concerning the issue of prevalence of alcohol addiction in teenage girls, interventions that can be made regarding the same and the ethical challenges faced by social workers when dealing with these addicted teenagers.
First, use of alcohol and other substances among adolescents and the youth is a widespread phenomenon.
Young age in itself is a risk factor for the use of drugs and alcohol among the youth. Teenage alcohol addiction is one of the major problems that affect youth in every part of the world. It affects youth academic performance, cause health problems and is responsible for the death of teenage drivers and sometime their passengers. Many teens drink because they think it is cool and do not understand the dangers of drinking alcohol. Parents has key roles in their adolescent’s lives along with family members as they help shape teenagers personalities and approach to life.
Teenagers are significantly impacted by their families, for this reason efforts to address and prevent alcohol abuse must begin at home.
Ali conducted a case study involving an Egyptian adolescent girl that started smoking and drinking at a young age. She says the influence of “hanging out” with friends lured her to start smoking cigarettes, using tramadol and eventually taking alcohol. The girl states that she was naïve and did not know that the drugs and alcohol were addictive until she became too dependent. She says that she hid the addiction from her parents, selling her jewelry and stealing from her mother’s purse to feed her addiction. However, her parents eventually found out about her addiction and sent her to hospital to receive treatment. Results from this study indicate the lack of strong ties with her mother as well as absence of family supervision was the reason behind her addiction. Therefore, when devising strategies for advanced generalist practice there is need to consider parental involvement in causing as well as battling addiction.
One way to undertake successful advanced generalist practice is to involve parents in seeking early intervention. In the case of the Egyptian girl she blamed the weak ties she had with her mother as well as absence of supervision for her addiction. Parents are expected to develop close meaningful relationships with their children from any early age so that they can feel free to open up about any issues they might be facing while growing up. As previously mentioned, the young age is a risk factor for alcohol addiction especially for girls who are naturally more emotional than boys. Parents are expected to monitor their children’s behavior, particularly when they are experiencing the changes that adolescence brings. Despite adolescence causing teenagers to be rebellious and withdrawn from their families, parents should still strive to remain close with their children. If a teenager feels like they can talk to their mother or father, then they will less likely fall into addiction or seek the help of their parents in finding an intervention as soon as a problem of alcoholism starts to occur.
Secondly, social workers can use self-help groups to get teenage girls to talk about their issues. These groups often consist of people with similar problems sharing about their experiences in an effort to seek healing. Attending these meetings often comes as a step towards seeking recovery from alcohol addiction and can be combined with other forms of treatment. However, social workers should not force these teenage girls to join self-help groups if they do not want. Recovery from alcohol abuse is a process that requires the willingness of the victim to engage. The social worker can use words like “meetings with people you can be friends with” or “I think that these are people who you can share your story with” so that the teenager does not feel targeted. It is important for teenagers to feel like they are gaining a new “family” which will be helpful to them as opposed to their previous one. Here, parents can also be encouraged to convince their children to join these groups.Despite of all of this, the decision to join will depend solely on the teenager.
Thirdly, social workers can use counseling as a way of getting teenage girls to talk about their issues. In most cases teenagers that are facing addiction are lonely and use alcohol as a tool of socialization and to gain confidence. They are also willing to talk to other people besides their parents. Therefore, seeking the services of a professional counseling can be helpful in getting addicted teenage girls on the right track. Social workers can set up appointments for the teenagers where they can talk to a counselor. Regular counseling sessions can help teenagers figure out their issues and seek other forms of treatment once they have diagnosed the root cause of their problem. For instance, if a teenage girl discloses that she became addicted to alcohol while attempting to “please their friends”, then the counselor might diagnose the teenager with self-esteem issues coupled with need for approval. The proper course of action would be to encourage seeking new friends first.
In some case teenagers are unable to regain control of their life on their own, warranting for the need for inpatient services. Inpatient services are often part of an intervention to get teenagers professional help. Most inpatient services consist of forcing an addict that is facing possible jail time due to behavior associated with alcoholism to be placed on a treatment program. According to research most inpatient programs are short-term, usually a week at a hospital, 21 days at a rehabilitation facility or one month to six weeks at most. In the past professionals have hesitated when it came to keeping teenagers away from their families for a long time. The question of whether keeping teenagers alcohol-free under supervision for a short period is the solution to their problems. Serious addicts have in the past been exposed to long term therapeutic communities that last up to eighteen months so that they receive continuous support. Gorski, T. T. reveals that relapse is common, even as those who spend a year or more at a facility are twice likely to stay sober.
Another common intervention for teenage girls that are facing alcohol addiction is for seeking mental health evaluation and treatment. In most cases, alcoholism is usually a depiction of an underlying issue that a teenager is facing. For instance, a teenager that has been exposed to dating abuse or sexual violence at a young age may resort to alcoholism as a coping strategy. Therefore, such a teenager requires a mental health evaluation and an intervention along those lines once they are diagnosed with conditions such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Morrison-Beedy and Melnyk discusses the issues of adolescent sexuality among young women, the various risk factors that arise from this for substance abuse and mental illness. Therefore, it is essential for the issue of sexuality of adolescents to be addressed in its relation to substance abuse and mental health interventions. These teenagers need someone they can talk to about problems that arise as they start to develop their sexual identity and explore their teenagehood. It is common for parents to seek explanations or answers from their daughters regarding alcoholism without knowing the root causes. Mental health professionals can offer counseling sessions to such adolescents as a way of gaining insight into their life and seeking the best form of treatment, whether medicinal or therapeutical for them.
Despite efforts by social workers and other professionals bid to assist teenage girls to curb their addiction, they often encounter ethical challenges. The moral question often arises when use of alcohol and potential addiction comes to play. Social workers are expected to refrain from morally shaming their clients, despite the fact that in some cases it can used as a strategy in their practice. For instance, if a daughter is citing lack of parental involvement in their lives or a possible negative influence from them, then the social worker is expected to address the parents regarding the same. However, this may pose a challenge to them as the social worker might not want to further “shame” the parent as well and lead the child to lose confidence in their instruction. Parents, particularly mothers, are expected to teach their young daughter on how to become proper and respectable young ladies. However, given that teenagers are impressionable and already at risk of using alcohol solely on that fact, parents who demonstrate similar behavior are likely to influence their daughters to do the same. They might emulate the parent’s behavior thinking it is acceptable or as a form of “misguided conformity.” Despite the case, such parents often pose ethical challenges for social workers when they are attempting to devise a plan of action for the addicted teenager.
In conclusion, alcohol addiction among teenage girls has become a pressing issue in many communities all over the world. Majority of the teenagers are often citing the influence of their peers, parents and teachers when it comes to alcohol abuse and potential addiction. However, despite their inability to make proper decisions regarding their friendships, parents can always help their children regain control of their lives. The common interventions include inpatient programs and mental health interventions that assist teenagers to clear their systems and minds respectively. A sober mind is the most important thing when it comes to battling the monster that is alcoholism. Adolescents may act as if they want control of their lives and know the direction they are taking when in real sense they have no clue of what they are doing. Just like Ali said about the Egyptian adolescent thinking of the inability of drugs and alcohol to be addictive, most of these young girls around the world are naïve, vulnerable and require the guidance of their parents even when they do not admit it.