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Teenage Alcohol Treatment: What You Need to Know

If you have a teen who needs treatment, SunCloud Health can help.

Teen alcohol treatment is important for the future of mental health in today’s youth. With so many young people drinking heavily, proper and immediate care for alcohol abuse is necessary in keeping them from developing problems that can get in the way of healthy development and take them on a downward spiral. 

If you have a teen who needs alcohol-related treatment services, we can help. Please contact us for an assessment to determine if our offerings are the right fit for the needs of your child, patient, or student.


Dr. Alexander Chevalier, Medical Director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at SunCloud Health, details the questions parents should be asking when looking for a treatment provider for adolescents who are drinking underage or experiencing substance abuse issues.


Kevin A. Sabet, PhD, former advisor to three US presidential campaigns and President & CEO at Smart Approaches to Marijuana, explains at SunCloud Health how addiction and substance use is a unique brain disease that responds well to treatment. 

Why Treatment for Teen Alcohol Use Is Important

Teen alcohol treatment saves lives.

Some adolescents experiment with alcoholic beverages or other drugs and grow out of it as they get older. For others, it’s an ongoing problem. If problems with ongoing underage drinking or binge drinking aren’t addressed now, when they are young, it will only get continually harder to break the cycle. Alcohol abuse could lead them to experience troubled relationships, financial difficulties, substance use disorders/drug abuse problems, health challenges, legal issues, and more. 

It’s also important to note that teens who develop a dependency may be turning to alcohol to help them deal with other mental health issues. If these issues are not addressed, the use of alcohol will only compound these issues as they get older. 

Here are some stats to consider.

Contact SunCloud Health to get your teen the care they require today.

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Does My Teen Abuse Alcohol? Differences Between Experimentation and Heavy Alcohol Abuse

Some parents accept teenage drinking as a rite of passage, or may even enable the behavior because they think their child will drink regardless. Know that teen drinking should never be accepted as normal, but as a problem that can worsen with a lack of anti-alcohol policies at school, minimal parent supervision, and unsupportive or unhealthy family relationships. If you’re not intervening when you suspect your teen of misusing alcohol, you are enabling them. 

A teen may start drinking experimentally or in small amounts, or  experience binge drinking episodes, but after a while, you may see signs that an addiction is forming and may quickly get out of hand. At this point, you will know that treatment is necessary. SunCloud Health can provide with a customized treatment plan and the special care they deserve.

Signs Your Teen May Have an Alcohol Problem

While any amount of teen drinking is bad, parents must be aware of warning signs that may indicate a more serious problem. Here are common symptoms to look out for if you suspect your teen has an alcohol use problem and may be in need of treatment:

  • Dishonest behavior 
  • Withdrawal from social circles 
  • Hanging out with different people 
  • Personality changes and mood swings 
  • Decline in schoolwork 
  • Getting sick more often 
  • Anxiety and depression 
  • Weight loss 
  • Bloodshot eyes 
  • Substance abuse

If you see symptoms of alcohol abuse developing in your teen, don’t hesitate to reach out to a SunCloud Health representative.

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Teen Alcohol Treatment Options: Does My Teen Need Treatment?

If you feel your adolescent requires treatment for alcohol or related teen drug use, there are many paths to consider for the most effective solution, including an alcohol treatment facility. Parents and children alike may be concerned about how adolescent treatment programs might interfere with their teen’s childhood, or may be reluctant to have the teen miss out on some of the best years of their life because they are spending time at a treatment facility. 

Fortunately, there are many outpatient options. Some centers even provide transportation so teens can go directly from school to meetings. While at the facility, they will get the therapy they need to address the drinking problem, get sober, and stay sober. If the alcohol addiction is severe, inpatient teen alcohol treatment may be necessary. These programs will do their best to make the teen feel comfortable and cared for. SunCloud Health can provide the customized treatment and special care they deserve. 


Hear from Dr. Chevalier on the balance school and extracurricular activities with treatment. In most cases, coursework is unaffected and can be improved while a student is out of school receiving treatment.

SunCloud Health will determine the best treatment plan for your teen. Contact Us or Call to take the next step.

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Why Teens Abuse Alcohol

Teens usually begin experimenting with alcohol due to peer pressure. Their friends may be going out to parties where alcohol is being served, and they will try drinking to have fun and fit in. Some teens may limit their alcohol consumption to social functions, but others will begin to abuse it, causing an addiction to form. When this occurs, it’s likely they are using alcohol to treat an underlying mental illness. 

If a teen is dealing with a mental illness, they may be afraid to reach out due to stigmas or they may not realize their problem is severe. They find that when they drink, it makes their symptoms go away, so they continue using. What they may not realize is that alcohol will take them on a downward spiral and can even affect brain development, putting them at an increased risk of developing other issues, including drug use due to a lack of impulse control. 

Teen alcohol treatment addresses the underlying mental health conditions, eliminating the need and desire to self-medicate. Call SunCloud Health to get your teen started on a journey to recovery.

The Risks of Teenage Alcohol Abuse

Consuming and/or abusing alcohol from a young age can lead to serious problems.

Young adults regularly drinking alcohol or experiencing binge drinking issues are more likely to engage in dangerous behaviors, which can result in legal issues and severe injuries. These behaviors include underage drinking and driving or experimenting with illicit drugs. Alcohol problems can also negatively affect mental health, causing them to engage in acts of self-harm. 

If alcohol consumption continues as your teen gets older, the resulting addiction could worsen, potentially developing into other substance use disorders or resulting in alcohol poisoning, and they will have difficulty holding down a job and maintaining relationships. They may also incur dangerous health conditions, with risk factors such as heart and liver problems. 

Teen alcohol treatment will address the problem early on, before it gets out of control. Don’t hesitate to get them the help they need.


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Specialized Teen Alcohol Treatment

Adolescent alcohol treatment will only be effective if it’s suited to an individual’s needs. Therefore, teen alcohol treatment must differ from adult alcohol treatment. Here are some features that set it apart.

  • It Addresses Cognitive Differences: The teenage brain is not as developed as the adult brain. This may get in the way of the teen understanding the consequences alcoholism can have on their lives. A teen alcohol treatment center will help the adolescent understand how their actions will affect them later in life as well as how alcohol and other drugs can negatively impact brain development.
  • It Maintains Education: When a teen goes to rehab, the last thing they need is to be falling behind on their education. Adolescent drug and alcohol treatment centers will make sure the patient stays on top of their lesson plans.
  • Family Involvement: Family involvement is always important in the recovery process but it especially important in teen alcohol treatment. A facility that specializes in teen addiction will make sure family members stay updated on the teens’ progress, and provide family therapy sessions to help everyone develop the best methods for coping.
  • Teen Treatment is Involuntary: Adults typically check themselves into treatment because they want to get better. A teen will be checked in by a parent and may be more reluctant to get help. for alcohol use Adolescent alcohol treatment centers specialize in addressing resistance and know the best methods for producing breakthroughs.
  • Different Activities: Alcohol treatment for teens will integrate different activities that are more suitable to adolescents. They may include surf therapy, music therapy, recreational therapy, group counseling, and more.


Dr. Alexander Chevalier, Medical Director, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at SunCloud Health, gives parents helpful advice on what to look for when considering mental health treatment centers their child experiencing alcohol use disorder.

SunCloud Health provides personalized care that is best suited to a teenager’s needs. Contact us to find out more about what we offer.

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SunCloud Health Teen Alcohol Abuse Treatment

SunCloud Health takes an approach that sets us apart with teens, with a focus on acceptance for every adolescent from the moment they walk through our doors. Our goal is to ensure everyone feels heard, understood, and supported not only by their treatment team but also by their peers. Teens are matched with a buddy upon arrival, who helps introduce them to the program and learn what to expect, and from there it gets easier as they meet other adolescents and start to relate to one another. Communication is of the utmost importance, and we collaborate between patients and providers to make sure we are best supporting each adolescent as a team.  

SunCloud Health offers both Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP) and Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) that allow teens to recover while maintaining the activities of their daily lives. Our  full-day outpatient treatment program (PHP) runs Monday through Friday from 9am-3:30pm, while our half-day outpatient program is available three to five times weekly during the afterschool hours of 4pm-7pm. Both programs are available at our Naperville, Chicago, and Northbrook centers. Throughout treatment, we take an integrated approach that addresses the primary diagnoses as well as the co-occurring, ensuring a comprehensive plan that’s best suited to their needs. 


Dr. Kim Dennis, MD, CEDS, explains how SunCloud Health treats co-occurring disorders in adults, adolescents, and young adults.

Speak to one of our caring representatives to find out how we can help your teen overcome alcocol use disorder and move on to a healthier quality of life.


SunCloud Health’s Accreditations, Certifications & Licensingjoint commission national quality seal

The Joint Commission signifies that all people always experience the safest, highest quality, best-value health care across all settings with a devotion to patient safety. The Gold Seal, is a symbol to the community and patients we serve that SunCloud Health has placed an emphasis on quality of care.

Why Our Patients LOVE SunCloud Health:

The best decision of my life. I have never had more gratitude and love for a place in my life. I was a outpatient here for about 3 and half months this past year. I learned skills for coping, self-compassion, emotional regulation, and self-care that I use on a regular basis. The treatment I received created a foundation for me that I never had before, and it has helped and taught me to do what is best for me. Having both the group and individual therapy helped teach me a lot of important communication skills when it came to my emotions and shame. I have overcome so much because of this program, and I continue to grow because of everything I experienced and learned here. If you are wondering if this is the right place for you just know that in most cases it is. If you’re ready to work hard and become the person you need in your life then you are going to love SunCloud Health. Or in other cases if you need help and support to do the work SunCloud Health is there for you. It isn’t easy but it’s beyond worth it. You will meet many amazing people here both staff and other patients that will help guide on your path of recovery. It is a magical place and I am forever grateful for my experience here! 

Meet our Adolescent Medical Leadership Team

  • Alexander Chevalier, MD
    Alexander Chevalier, MD
    Medical Director, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
  • Kimberly Dennis, MD, CEDS
    Kimberly Dennis, MD, CEDS
    Chief Medical Officer, CEO and Co-founder | Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine
  • Johnathan Coleman, MD
    Johnathan Coleman, MD

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Locations for Adolescent Treatment Programs

Northbrook Location

40 Skokie Blvd
Suite 200
Northbrook, IL 60062

Chicago Location

1840 North Clybourn
Suite 520
Chicago, IL 60614

Naperville Location

280 Shuman Blvd.
Suite 190
Naperville, IL 60563

Accreditations, Certifications & Licensing

LegitScript approved
DASA License. Department of Alcohol and Substance Abuse.
Joint Commission Behavioral Health Care Accreditation.
EDC Member
IAEDP Member

The Joint Commission signifies that all people always experience the safest, highest quality, best-value health care across all settings with a devotion to patient safety. The Gold Seal, is a symbol to the community and patients we serve that SunCloud Health has placed an emphasis on quality of care.

We are here for you.

One of the nations most trusted names in treating substance use addictions, eating disorders, mood disorders, PTSD and related traumas.
(866) 729-1012