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Is Your Teen Abusing Alcohol?

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Even if you’ve talked to your child about alcohol and its negative effects, that doesn’t guarantee that he or she will stay away from it. Though having frequent discussions can certainly help, you should still be aware of the signs that your child may be abusing alcohol.

Anyone underage shouldn’t be drinking at all, but over 85% of teens have tried alcohol at least once, so chances are your teen has experimented with it at a party or while at a friend’s house. This is normal, though against the law. The big issues start when teens abuse alcohol and begin to drink on a regular basis. Fortunately, you can keep an eye out for the signs of alcohol abuse and seek help if you believe your teen is drinking.

Signs of Alcohol Abuse in Teens

  • Sudden change in attitude: Many kids become more withdrawn or angry, even if they were relatively happy before. This will appear to happen almost overnight.
  • Depression: Many chronic drinkers become depressed. The suicide rate among teens that drink heavily is nearly 3 times higher than non-drinking teens.
  • Issues at school: Teens who are abusing alcohol tend to have very little concentration and they forget things easily. They may also get into trouble at school and end up with suspensions and warnings as well as bad grades. If your teen usually brings home A’s and is suddenly failing all of their classes, this could be a warning sign.
  • New, secret friends: If your teen suddenly has several new friends that he or she hangs out with but doesn’t want you to meet, this is suspicious, especially if you notice the other symptoms on this list at the same time.
  • Lack of interest in anything except hanging out with friends: You should investigate further if you see that your child is no longer interested in any of their hobbies, since this can be a sign of alcohol abuse.
  • Smells of alcohol: While this may seem fairly obvious, chances are your teen will take steps to cover up any alcohol on their breath, so watch for sudden, constant gum chewing or if they try to dodge your kisses and stay at a distance.
  • Alcohol or money goes missing: Notice your liquor cabinet supply diminishing? Or maybe your money is being used to buy replacements… stay alert to these signs.

Most of these behaviors on their own are pretty normal for teens. They are going through a difficult period of growth, hormones are running amuck, and they are struggling to become independent. However, when three or more of the above signs are present, you should definitely look into it further. No one wants to believe that their teen is abusing alcohol, but it’s better to admit it and get them the help they need than to deny the whole thing until it’s too late.”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"

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