It can be hard to recognize the subtle signs of teenage alcoholism, especially when it’s your own child. But research has shown that as many as 78% of high school kids have tried alcohol. Sometimes, this experimentation leads to addiction, which can ruin lives if not treated. This article from Avenues Recovery will help you to discern if your child is struggling with an alcohol problem.
The Warning Signs of Teen Alcohol Abuse
As a parent, you need to be aware of the warning signs of teen alcohol abuse in your child. Despite your conversations and best efforts, your child could still be at risk. How can you be sure your child isn’t abusing alcohol? Here are eight telltale signs of alcoholism in young adults:
Finding empty bottles or cans hidden in their room
Alcoholics want to keep their drinking a secret, especially younger ones. Most of the time, they use hiding places in their room to stash their alcohol. Many parents discovered an alcohol problem when they found alcohol in their son’s or daughter’s room. Hiding places could be inside cushions, under the bed, behind shelves, in empty suitcases, and more. You can also look in the recycling bins to see if more trash has accumulated or if there are empty bottles or cans that you know are not yours.
Alcohol in the house mysteriously disappearing
Have you noticed a couple of cans of beer or bottles of liquor missing? You may initially have thought you went through them yourself and forgot. Kids need a continual supply of alcohol as they become increasingly dependent, which leads them to obtain it anywhere they can, like your liquor cabinet.
Change in grades
Perhaps your straight-A child has started to bring home poor grades. Some of the signs of alcohol abuse in young adults include lateness, bad attendance, and low grades at school. Their usual behavior changes with this new, unhealthy activity.
When children start abusing alcohol, a change in friendships can also happen. This might mean brand-new friends replacing old ones or having sets of separate friend groups. Your child might also show even more secrecy over their mobile devices and social media accounts.
Changes in physical and mental behavior
Differences in hygiene, sleep patterns, eating habits, mood, and attitude could also be indications of alcohol abuse. Physical signs of an alcoholic include dirty clothes, an unkempt appearance, drawn and tired demeanor, and increased body odor. Teens who abuse alcohol care little for what they look like and focus more on how to get their next drink. Mental-health issues like depression and anxiety could also become apparent, as they become more entrenched in their addiction.
Need for money
Kids or teenagers drinking alcohol don’t usually have the means to pay for their alcohol fix. Watch out for any missing jewelry, electronics, and other items that they may have tried selling to raise cash. If your child asks for money often or has unexplained debit card overages, this may be cause for concern and warrant looking into.
“Just partying” with friends
Getting drunk at a party doesn’t always indicate a problem. A lot of kids experiment with alcohol without becoming addicted. However, it’s still important to take underage drinking seriously. Make sure your child knows that it can’t keep happening and pay attention to repeated behaviors.
Smells of alcohol and slurred speech
Children and teens show the same intoxication symptoms as adults. If your child comes home smelling of alcohol, with an unsteady walk or balance, and slurring his or her speech, then it would definitely be time to think about how to talk to an alcoholic son or daughter about their drinking.
Summary: Recognising Signs of Teenage Alcoholism
Remember, just because your child is showing a couple of these signs of teenage alcoholism, it doesn’t mean they have a drinking problem. Adolescence brings with it changes in physical appearance, social skills, emotions, and intelligence. Combined with hormonal changes, youth behavior can and does seem erratic at times. But if your child experiences a number of these signs, it may point towards a developing alcohol dependence. Recognizing alcoholism in others can be difficult, but knowing what to look for can lead to early interventions and a better chance at finding effective help.