Alcoholism and Drug Addiction Help Header

I Am Concerned That My 20 Year Old Son May be Addicted to Either Alcohol or Drugs

by Sue

My son is 20 years old and in college. He has struggled within the last year with a few major life issues, but has continued to do well in engineering school and bring home good grades (A's) - so I've not been too concerned that his issues could be related to drugs.

Recently though he informed me that he has been very depressed and wants to see a counselor which I set up for him. He had tried to go to the school once before he told us but that did not help. My concern is he displays many of the symptoms of drug abuse or withdrawal - sleeplessness, extreme anxiety, major irritability and went this summer for heart palpitations.

I have asked him and he says he is not using drugs. My main concern is he is going on a school project trip to Thailand in a week and I am heart sick that I should do more to find out what is going on.

Although, we are supportive and I know he cares and loves us, he is not a great communicator and has stated that he does not want to share and that is why he is going to the counselor. I am not sure if there is much more I can do except perhaps go talk to someone myself. I want to trust him and believe he can handle whatever he is facing, but also fear I may be being naive. Thanks.


Hi Sue

Your son is showing a lot of maturity through his own initiative wanting to see a counselor. Whether or not that has anything to do with an addiction to alcohol or drugs, isn't worth speculating about right now, because for all you know it is something totally unrelated.

It's natural to be concerned, but the fact that your son through his own initiative has sought out help shows he has a good head on his shoulders. And it's not typical behavior for someone struggling with alcohol or drugs. So trust him to talk to you about what's going on with him when he's ready.

You hit the nail on the head when you said there isn't much more you can do right now. Let you son know that you're there for him and that he can come and talk to you if and when he's ready. And then simply let the process of his counseling unfold as its meant to.

Even if it turns out there is a drug or alcohol problem, there still wouldn't be much more you can do, because someone struggling with an addiction has to want to change - no one can force them. So if you're worried about all this and struggling to let go, then maybe it is a good idea you do go talk to someone.

But right now your son has done the right thing so let things take their course. If new evidence comes to light in time where you need to take further action, then that's what you do, but don't pre-empt something and make yourself sick with worry when you're not sure of what's going on yet.

Good Luck and Take Care.

Comments for I Am Concerned That My 20 Year Old Son May be Addicted to Either Alcohol or Drugs

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Jan 03, 2011
dont give up
by: Anonymous

How are you im sorry for your concerns and hopefully this will help. Im 22 years old and have been addicted to pretty much anything that will get me high for about 5 to 6 years now mostly heroin. Ive tried stoppin many times on my own, but couldnt follow it through. Much like your son i to have problems conmmunicating what im feeling, especially to my mother. I cant really talk much about it to my father considering he as well has a problem, that he looks to me to feed as well as my own. i guess what im really getting at is dont give up on him, as much as it might seem to annoy him, dont stop trying to see into his life. If he is doing something like drugs his best bet would be to have you find out so you can at least try to help because doing it on your own may work for some, but most need help.

Dec 24, 2010
Place Yourself In Your Sons Shoes.
by: Phillip G.

I chose to post a comment for one simple reason, and that is you are reacting the same way my mother did, and the same way I believe any mother would. I struggled with addiction as early as age 16, and received constant pressure from my mother to seek help. Though I understood how difficult it was for her to see me go through this, the added stress I was under because of the constant pressure did not help my situation. Dealing with addiction or even simply depression for that matter can be very difficult for a young man to talk about with his family. Though most people will not admit it, there is a lot of shame that comes along with the situation.

I think the earlier comment you received was spot on. You have done about as much as you can at this point by simply offering and showing your support. The fact that your son asked to see a counselor makes me believe that what he is experiencing is not related to an addiction. I could be wrong of course this is just a personal opinion. As long as your son knows that you are willing to help him through anything, then he will come to you when he feels ready.

I hope whatever the situation is with your son that it works itself out for the best. He sounds like a determined guy with his future in his sights. Best of luck to you and everyone out there!

Click here to add your own comments

Return to Drug Alcohol Help Parents Q&A Archive.


FREE E-Course

"10 Essential Steps to Ending a Life of Alcoholism or Drug Addiction ... Permanently!"

This Course is packed full of valuable information and advice for overcoming addiction that you're unlikely to find anywhere else.

And if you subscribe now - we'll throw in a Special eBook that will help immensely in your struggle against addiction.

Don't worry - your e-mail
address is totally secure.
Your details will NEVER be sold and you will NOT be spammed.

What is this?
Add to My Yahoo!
My MSN RSS button
Add to Google

Copyright © 2013 - - All Rights Reserved.