Underage drinking is a rampant problem. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 35.1% of 15 year olds have had at least one drink and 14.2% of people aged 12 to 20 report binge drinking. Because underage drinking is so common, parents may take a casual attitude to it, especially if they believe their child only indulges occasionally. However, teenage drinking is dangerous. Every year, over 4,000 people under age 21 die in alcohol-related incidences, including alcohol poisoning and car crashes. It can also lead to alcoholism and brain development issues. How can you determine if your child has made one mistake with alcohol or needs treatment for alcoholism in Fort Lauderdale? Here are some signs that your teen could be struggling with alcohol abuse.
New School Trouble
Changes in your child’s standing at school could indicate that he or she is abusing alcohol. Your child’s grades may fall, and he or she may begin to have discipline problems in the classroom. Teens who are abusing alcohol frequently lose interest in sports or other extracurricular activities they once enjoyed. Your child may also miss school because of health issues more frequently, often because of alcohol withdrawal symptoms or from having a hangover from overindulging.
Drinking heavily can cause mood swings in teens, as they cycle repeatedly from intoxicated to sober. You may notice that your teen is increasingly irritable or depressed, or that he or she is withdrawing from family activities or from their usual circle of friends, in favor of a new group of peers. For people struggling with alcoholism, these mood changes can be caused by withdrawal symptoms.
Sometimes, parents can identify the signs of alcoholism simply by looking for the physical signs of alcohol consumption. Red eyes, slurred speech, and smelling like alcohol are all indicators that you need to discuss drinking with your teen. Teens who are drinking heavily on a regular basis often tend to have poor physical hygiene. Consider talking to an addiction specialist if you need help intervening with your teen’s alcohol use.