Coming up with the right or effective interventions for youths with alcohol abuse disorders presents many challenges, not mentioning the right diagnosis of the disorders that these youths suffer from. Assessment and diagnostic criteria for youths suffering from alcohol abuse disorders have majorly been derived from research experience as well as clinical tests with older people (Illinois Department of Human Services, 2018). Whenever these assessments were carried out among adolescents, there were many developmental differences that were established which may influence their application to the youth age group. In spite of the lack of clear criteria for diagnosis of alcohol use among youths, research has identified some interventions which are helpful if applied among the youths (Pire, 2013). This essay presents the approaches aimed at eliminating alcohol use among the youth and how to prevent those who have not started drinking in the first instance.
The main goal of research on underage drinking is to ensure that the rate at which these youths drink is reduced and also come up with the right treatment for those youths who have developed alcohol related problems. Efforts for prevention may have the objective of keeping adolescents from beginning to drink or even preventing the escalation of the negative consequences related to alcohol (McKenzie, Neiger, Thackeray, 2017). Research may offer the premise on which to anchor the interventions and to know the ones that are effective. Having the right diagnostic system is important for assessing the magnitude as well as nature of adolescent drinking problem. The diagnostic criteria that are currently there are derived mostly from experience with older people but the differences in developmental stages in alcohol use suggest the requirement to come up with better criteria that would make them relevant as well as informative for use in youths.
Efforts for prevention of the drinking problem among the youth is approached in two ways: There are interventions that are at the environmental level which aim at reducing alcohol availability to youths and eliminating those opportunities available for them to drink; increase penalties for violation of the least drinking age and reduce the tolerance of the community for alcohol abuse among youths (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2016). Secondly, there is interventions that are at an individual level that are aimed at changing the knowledge, skills as well as attitudes of youths so that they may resist the influences that encourage alcohol consumption.
Intervention one: proper diagnosis of alcohol dependence among the youths
The first intervention for eliminating this menace is to have in place proper diagnosis of alcohol use as well as dependence among the youth. Having a working diagnostic system is important in advancing research and treatment of adolescence alcohol use disorders (Office of Adolescent Health, 2017). Diagnoses ought to facilitate the communication process among researchers and clinicians, take note of cases that need various levels of clinical intervention and offer phenotypes for research in genetics. The diagnosis should aim at alcohol abuse as well as dependence that get to be defined by criterion set that do not overlap. It should also focus on psychosocial consequences that are negative and which come about due to drinking and the hazardous use of alcohol (Pire, 2013). At times dependence gets to be diagnosed whenever there are three of seven criteria that relate to physical dependence, overuse of alcohol and having impaired control over alcohol related behavior. These diagnoses necessitate great deal of subjective planning to know the diagnosis.
Diagnostic criteria for alcohol abuse were majorly derived from research and clinical experience with adults and it is in the recent past that their validity has been assessed among the youth. There are many developmental differences between adults and youths which may influence the applicability of the alcohol abuse disorder criteria to the youths (Illinois Department of Human Services, 2018). For instance, youths do not take alcohol regularly but they will mostly engage in binge drinking on every occasion that they drink. The presence of developmental differences in the alcohol use patterns show that there is need to have in place criteria which make the interventions more relevant for use in youths. Since a construct may have a different manifestation in adults and adolescents such as impairment at school and at work, having in place a perspective which incorporates developmental factors as well as influences with contexts is necessary to have the right assessment of the alcohol use disorders for their treatment.
Intervention two: adoption of environmental-level interventions
Interventions that are at an environmental-level are there to reduce instances for underage drinking, enhance penalties for violations of minimum drinking age as well as other laws related to the use of alcohol. They also seek to reduce the tolerance level of the community for alcohol consumption among the youth (McKenzie et al, 2017). Further, individual-level interventions are there to change expectations, knowledge, attitudes, motivations, intentions and skills for the youth so that they may easily resist the influences that are there for them to drink. The environmental interventions include: school-based curriculum and community involvement so as to reduce alcohol use among the youth.
School-based curricula aimed at preventing the abuse of alcohol as well as other kinds of drugs by the youth has been tried for quite a longtime. However, the adoption of research-based findings for guiding the evaluation and content of these kinds of curricula has started recently. The initial school-based programs were majorly for informational basis and they mostly adopted scare tactics (Illinois Department of Human Services, 2018). It was the assumption that in the event that youths knew the dangers that accompany the misuse of alcohol, they would mostly choose to keep away from consuming the same. Consequently, such programs became ineffective. Today, there are better programs and research has established that they are not usually adopted. Efforts aimed at clarifying as well as methodological issues that are appropriate for improving of prevention programs that are school-based have made quite some progress. Nevertheless, methodological matters are still significant barriers the large extent of studies that have been published since some of them were done with less scientific rigor (Pire, 2013).
Intervention three: Parental supervision and monitoring
Parents are known to be a significant source of influence on their youths. Therefore, when they use the appropriate practices, they may greatly decrease the chances of their children engaging in the consumption of alcohol (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2016). Research conducted on prevention with various families continually shows that parental monitoring and also supporting the youths actively whenever they have free time and also when they are with their friends or supervising them will greatly prevent them from engaging in alcohol consumption. Monitoring may make the access to alcohol rather difficult and may help in reinforcing rules within the family and this will help in prohibiting alcohol use. The government ought to put in place the right programs in Illinois with provide parents and caregivers with appropriate motivation for the active monitoring as well as supervision of the youths (Office of Adolescent Health, 2017). This will go far in eliminating the instances for alcohol consumption among the youths.
In summary, after engaging detailed assessment and knowing that a great deal of youths in Illinois engage in alcohol abuse. It is necessary to have in place three interventions that will help in bringing this menace to control. The interventions are: parental supervision and monitoring use of environmental-level interventions and proper diagnosis of the alcohol abuse cases among the youths.
|Risk or Protective Factors||Program Components||Program Elements or Tactics||Targets or agents of Change||Mode or Context of Delivery|
|Risk factor: Youths engaging in unsupervised alcohol related activities||Offer alternative activities||
||The youth||Group sessions
|Protective factor: Engaging in faith-based activities in the community||Encourage youths to get involved in faith-based activities in the community||
||Youths and parents||Discussions, meetings, educational sessions and workshops|
Illinois Department of Human Services. (2018). Facts about Addiction. Retrieved 2018, from state.il.us: http://www.dhs.state.il.us/page.aspx?item=31787
McKenzie, J., Neiger, B., & Thackeray, R. (2017). Planning, implementation, and evaluating health programs: A primer, 7th edition. Pearson Education, Inc.
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2016). Preventing Drug Use among Children and Adolescents. Retrieved 2018, from www.drugabuse.gov: https://www.drugabuse.gov/sites/default/files/preventingdruguse_2.pdf
Office of Adolescent Health. (2017). Illinois Adolescent Substance Abuse Facts: Tobacco-related behaviors among high school students. Retrieved 2018, from www.hhs.gov: https://www.hhs.gov/ash/oah/facts-and-stats/national-and-state-data-sheets/adolescents-and-substance-abuse/illinois/index.html
Pire. (2013). Underage Drinking in Illinois. Retrieved 2018, from www.pire.org: http://www.pire.org/documents/UDETC/cost-sheets/IL.pdf