American culture has normalized drinking in social settings, and countless media depictions glamorize alcohol’s ability to help people have fun, make friends and relax. As a result, many young people grow up interested in trying it for themselves. According to statistics from the CDC, 29% of high school students have experimented with underage drinking, which makes alcohol the most commonly abused substance among young adults in the U.S.
Though underage drinking is illegal, some young adults can obtain alcohol without encountering many challenges. For example, they could ask an older friend or relative to buy them beer, or sneak a drink from your home liquor cabinet. Your son might have had opportunities to drink at parties or school events and agreed due to peer pressure or simple curiosity. However, drinking can quickly spiral out of control. How can you tell if your son has developed a drinking problem?
What to Look for If You Suspect Your Son Is Drinking
No matter how hard it might be for you to believe your son might be drinking, it’s essential to know what to look for – especially if you have a family history of alcoholism or other substance use disorders.
As we continue observing Alcohol Awareness Month in April, what are the warning signs of an emerging alcohol abuse problem in your loved one? You may have cause for concern if you notice several of these red flags appearing simultaneously.
- Mood swings: Flare-ups of temper, irritability or defensiveness
- Problems in school: Skipped classes, slipping grades or rule violations
- Secretive or erratic behavior: Changes in friends or an unwillingness to tell you where they’re going or who they’re spending time with; coming home late
- An apathetic attitude: Poor hygiene and a loss of interest in hobbies
- Presence of alcohol: Finding a hidden stash of empty cans or bottles in your son’s room
- Physical or mental problems: Poor concentration, impaired decision-making skills, slurred speech, mood disorders
- Hangover symptoms: Vomiting, headaches or being too sick to go to school in the morning
How to Find Help for Young Adult Alcohol Abuse
Realizing your son is abusing alcohol can be heartbreaking, but don’t lose hope. First, remember to avoid blaming or judging your child. It’s likely he already feels guilty enough about his drinking problems without you adding to those burdens. Instead, take time to sit and talk with him about the importance of building an alcohol-free future. You can also ease your mind by speaking with family members, friends, your family doctor or a therapist.
A certified treatment program can give your son the tools to break the cycle of substance abuse and teach him how to live a rewarding life without drinking. At Spearhead Lodge, our extended-care treatment program for young men will allow your child to focus on his recovery in a single-gender environment. With a tailored treatment plan that includes counseling, participation in 12-step groups, relapse prevention, life skills and family programming, you and your son can move past addiction and enjoy an improved relationship. Contact us today to learn more.