How to Tell If Your Teen Has a Drinking Problem (And What You Can Do)

As a parent, you always want your children to have a better life than you. You want them to have more happiness, be more financially secure, have a stronger relationship, and achieve higher levels of success than you ever dreamed possible. But what happens if what they have more of is alcohol?

While it’s not wildly uncommon for teens to experiment with drinking, sometimes that experimenting can turn into consuming alcohol weekly. Then a few times a week. Then, eventually, maybe every day. How can you tell if this has happened to your teen, making it a problem in his or her life? You look for certain signs.

Signs of a Potential Drinking Problem

Of course, probably the most obvious sign your child has an issue with alcohol is if he or she continuously comes home smelling of alcohol or stumbling drunk. This is obviously a clear indicator that if a problem doesn’t already exist, it is likely in the works. However, sometimes the signs are a little more subtle, thus harder to recognize.

For instance, RehabCenter reveals that teens with substance abuse issues tend to do poorly academically, have poor personal hygiene habits, avoid eye contact, and sometimes display “behavior that suggests he or she has something to hide.”

Granted, each of these on its own doesn’t necessarily mean that your child has a drinking problem, but the more of these signs that do exist, the higher the likelihood that he or she has an issue with this particular substance. So what can you do if you think your teen is abusing alcohol?

How to Respond

The National Institute on Drug Use suggests that your very first step should be to find a healthcare professional who is comfortable assessing your child for alcohol use and/or abuse. This process will likely include a survey or risk assessment, a urine test, or even a blood test.

If it’s confirmed that your son or daughter has a problem with alcohol, then the next step is to find an addiction specialist in your area to begin some type of treatment program. After all, the sooner you can get your child help, the sooner he or she can get on the road to recovery and live a healthy, happy life. What type of program is best?

Choosing the Best Treatment Program for Your Child

According to the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, choosing the best treatment program for your child requires that you first educate yourself about alcohol dependence. Then, you must learn about the treatment available in your area so you can make an informed decision regarding your child’s care.

Once you’ve done that, ideally you want to choose a program that completes a comprehensive assessment of your child and his or her needs, provides a number of different services, involves the entire family in the treatment program, has qualified staff, and knows how to deal with teens.

As far as covering the cost of this type of specialized treatment, check with your insurance company to see what, if any, expenses or programs they cover. This may largely determine which program you choose, especially if finances are a concern.

Admitting that your child has an issue with alcohol isn’t an easy thing to do.

However, it is necessary if you want to get them the help they need and deserve.


Author: James

Sharing stories of recovery and strategies to help you keep sober. Visit my blog today -

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