Warning Signs of Alcohol Abuse in Your Children


In this age of multi-tasking and multiple jobs, parents cannot spend enough time with children to be able to monitor their activities. As a result, it has become acceptable for socially active teens to be away from home and with their friends. Because of this, parents find it difficult to know the exposure of their children to alcohol, and especially in terms of whether their drinking habits are crossing way beyond the line.

Alcohol abuse can be attributed to a number of factors, some of which include genetic predisposition, family relationships, exposure to peers and the environment, and emotional health. Drinking can rise in a lot of occasions, and the effects may vary from person to person.

beer teen drinking

It is always best for parents to be aware of the signs of alcohol abuse before it leads to dependence or addiction. “Parents are usually the first to sense a problem, even if they don’t know what it is. If you see signs, seek the help of a professional,” said Leslie Adair in a news release. Adair works at the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation’s Adolescent and Young Adult Services program as director of Mental Health and Family Services.

Here are some of the telltale signs that your kids may be dangling on excessive alcohol consumption:

Personal Appearance

Teens who engage in alcohol abuse have a higher likelihood to be unmindful of their physical appearance. They may dress lousily, and beg off from taking a shower. Their focus is shifted towards alcohol rather than proper hygiene.

  • Messy, shows lack of caring for appearance
  • Poor hygiene
  • Red, flushed cheeks or face

Personal Habits or Actions

teen alcohol abuseYou may notice sudden changes in the usual things that your children do. Dishonesty may set in as your teenage children try to cover up lies. It may even come a point when things in your house start to disappear, only to find out that your child has put them up for sale in order to earn something to purchase alcohol. They may also withdraw themselves from family gathering and dinners to evade questions and confrontations.

  • Clenching teeth
  • Smell of smoke or other unusual odors on breath or on clothes
  • Chewing gum or mints to cover up breath
  • Frequently breaking curfew
  • Cash flow problems
  • Locked doors
  • Secret phone calls/conversations

Health Concerns

Growing teens may experience several physical changes as part of their natural growth to adulthood. However, some of these health-related concerns may also reveal abuse of alcohol.

  • Nosebleeds
  • Runny nose, not caused by allergies or a cold
  • Frequent sickness
  • Sores
  • Vomiting
  • Wetting lips or excessive thirst (known as “cotton mouth”)
  • Sudden or dramatic weight loss or gain

What to do upon discovery

Realizing that your child may be drinking will probably cause you panic, confusion, and anger. In dealing with the issue, it is always best to be composed and non-emotional when confronting your teen. Clarify the matter with love will make them feel that you are concerned for their welfare and willing to support them in any way that you can.

Pass it on. Help a friend or a loved one.

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