Being a parent is a wonderful joy, but it’s also a difficult and frightening responsibility, and there are so many things you worry about when it comes to your children: their health, their safety, their futures, and their mental well-being, among other things. When it comes to physical and psychological health, one of the many nightmares facing the parents of teenagers is alcohol abuse, which can be dangerous, deadly, and have serious lasting consequences.
Many teenagers will experiment with drugs and alcohol, and while that is a regular part of growing up, excessive and sustained substance abuse is not. Knowing the signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse is one way to protect your family because being able to recognize substance use right away could save your child’s life and future.
Physical, Emotional, and Behavioral Signs to Look For
Alcohol abuse has a wide variety of signs and symptoms, and there are a number of factors that determine how it will affect your teen, including sex, genetics, and the quantity and frequency of consumption. Alcohol abuse can:
- Have physical effects on the body and appearance
- Cause behavioral, mental, emotional, and social changes
- Result in changes in work, school, and home dynamics
Physical signs of abuse: Some of the most common physical signs of teen abuse include smelling like alcohol (on the breath or clothes), bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, problems with coordination and balance, flushed skin, deteriorating level of personal hygiene, lethargy and decreased energy levels, and nausea and vomiting.
Behavioral, mental, emotional, and social changes: Among the most common signs include increased social activity late at night and with new friends, difficulty concentrating, short-term memory problems, depression and anxiety, mood swings, strained relationships with friends and family, loss of inhibitions, and increasing hostility, anger, and withdrawal.
School, work, and home dynamics: With these dynamics, some major indicators of teen abuse include neglected responsibilities, an increased need for money, stolen money or valuables, missing alcohol or hidden stashes, failing performance at work and school, unexplained absences from work or school, and unexplained car accidents.
What Are the Risk Factors Associated with Teen Alcohol Abuse?
When it comes to social, emotional, and school-related changes during the teenage years, it can be difficult to differentiate regular teenage behavior from alcohol abuse. For this reason, being aware of the risk factors associated with teen abuse can be just as important as recognizing the signs.
Some of the major risk factors include genetics and a family history of abuse, the presence of depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses, low self-esteem, childhood trauma, and the presence of personal, familial, and peer pressure.
While many teenagers go through phases during which they experiment with drugs and alcohol, excessive consumption is not a normal part of rebellious and experimental teenage development.
To keep your teen safe, it’s important to be able to recognize the signs early in a teen, and it’s also vital to know the risk factors that play into the development of teen substance use since the symptoms of abuse can sometimes be difficult to separate from normal behavioral changes.
Especially if your teen has any of the risk factors, you should always be watching for the signs, and always be ready to talk to your child about what’s going on at school, with friends, and with his or her physical and emotional well-being. If you currently have a teen that is addicted to alcohol who needs alcohol detox treatment, contact our team today.