It is important for all parents to familiarize themselves with the most common signs that a teenager has developed an alcohol problem. After all, research indicates that as many as 30 percent of all high school students participate in binge drinking, and this can easily lead to alcoholism, a DUI arrest or even death. Realistically, the vast majority of teenagers will experiment with alcohol at some point. However, there is a big difference between catching your teen trying a beer and turning a blind eye to the many warning signs that they have started drinking on a regular basis.
Top Warning Signs
1. Issues at School – A sudden drop in academic performance should always be closely paid attention to because it can be indicative of an alcohol, drug or medical issue. Additionally, you need to pay close attention to any attendance issues or any unusual disciplinary action that occurs. Due to this, it is always a good idea to request that your teen’s school contact you if they begin to notice a decline in grades or behavior.
2. Switching to a New Social Group – It is natural for teens to branch out socially as they get older, but anyone who suddenly switches their entire group of friends could be developing an issue with alcohol. After all, this typically happens when a teenager decides that they want to get drunk a lot and their typical group of friends disapproves. You should be especially cognizant of the danger that is presented by any new friends that your teen is reluctant to let you meet.
3. Mood Changes – Every teenager goes through mood swings, but adding alcohol to their hormonal mix is likely to render them even more defensive and irritable. Therefore, if they begin exhibiting frequent outbursts of anger you will need to consider the possibility that they could be on their way to becoming an alcoholic.
4. Mental or Physical Issues – If your teen suddenly starts having issues with poor concentration and memory lapses, this could definitely be indicative of a drinking problem. Additionally, you should pay attention to other potential warning signs such as slurred speech, coordination issues and bloodshot eyes.
5. Depression – Although a teen can definitely have the symptoms of depression without drinking, it is common for an alcohol problem to be accompanied by low energy levels, a sloppy appearance, a negative attitude and the unwillingness to participate in activities that used to make them happy.
Unfortunately, many underage drivers are arrested for a DUI each year. According to New Jersey attorneys Levow & Associates, if a DUI occurs within 1000 ft of a school, consequences are even more severe. If this happens, your best recourse is to contact an experienced local attorney to help defend your teen in court.
If you have a good reason to believe that your teenager has a drinking problem, you should take steps to get them help before they end up in legal trouble.