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The Signs of Teenage Drug Addiction and Alcoholism

What are the signs of teenage drug addiction and alcoholism? How do you know that your child is an addict? For teenage alcoholism, it will be very difficult to distinguish between a teenager that is a regular binge drinker (like many teenagers) - and one that has crossed the line into full blown alcoholism.

Here I think that as a parent, common sense needs to be applied, because you should be able to see whether your teenage son or daughter is coming home drunk on a regular basis, after parties for example (unless they tend to sleep out a lot - always a great way to hide thing from your parents. It used to be one of my personal favourites).

You don't want to alienate your child by being unreasonably harsh on them for having a few drinks too many on occasion (unless they're being really irresponsible and drinking and driving for example), but you do want to be able to speak to them and point out the dangers, if you think they're taking things too far or if their excess drinking is becoming too much of a habit.

A lot of that boils down to the kind of relationship you have with your child. If you communicate regularly and openly, that should be comfortable and easy to do. Whereas if your relationship is fairly uncommunicative, that will be harder and you should then try and facilitate creating a more communicative relationship, so that you and your child feel more comfortable about discussing these kinds of issues.

I think teenage alcohol abuse and binge drinking are huge issues, that have all sorts of immediate dangers from drink driving to getting into fights to alcohol poisoning (that can all result in death) - and that can also cause longer term problems that may well result in alcoholism.

But generally I think full blown teenage alcoholism is less common than teenage drug addiction - so the trick is to somehow give your child enough freedom to be able to enjoy themselves, but also give them that sense of awareness and responsibility so that they don't feel the need to indulge in regular binge drinking sessions.

Because alcoholism generally takes longer to take 'effect' than drug addiction because drugs like heroin and methamphetamines (which are becoming increasingly popular with teenagers) are highly addictive, which can have you addicted within a few times of using, teenage drug addiction has become a huge problem.

And drug addiction is usually harder to recognise than alcoholism because unless you know what you're looking for, it's not always obvious when someone has used - and is stoned or high.

Symptoms and Signs of Teenage Drug Addiction and Alcoholism

  • Dip in performance levels at school
  • Dramatic and unexpected change in attitude
  • Often isolating and spending unusual amount of time alone in room
  • Becoming increasingly secretive
  • Has become lethargic and seemingly depressed, losing interest in activities previously enjoyed
  • Eyes either red/watery often or pupils dilated or constricted
  • Disruptive at school and in trouble often
  • Marks, sores and stains on hands and arms
  • Slurred speech and difficulty in communicating
  • Goods going 'missing' around the house, money disappearing
  • Sudden emotional outbursts and mood swings
  • New friends with little interest in old ones

Dealing with teenage drug addiction and teenage alcoholism is any parent's worst nightmare. There is no specific formula as to what you should do, but knowing the signs of teenage drug addiction and alcoholism will be a huge help. If you suspect or know that things aren’t yet too bad – a softer approach might work where you try and get your teenager to open up and talk to you about what’s going on – and then try influence them from there.

However if it’s a case of full blown addiction already, then the tough love approach is probably best where you insist on immediate treatment and help – because your teenager’s life may very well be in immediate danger. Get onto the teen alcoholism and addiction treatment page to find out what steps you can take and what the options are.

I also suggest getting up to speed on the growing problem of over the counter drug abuse and prescription drug abuse amongst teenagers.

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