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Top Five Signs Your Teen is Abusing Alcohol

Teenage Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol abuse among teenagers continues to be a serious concern in the United States. According to a recent survey by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, over 70 percent of high school seniors have reported trying alcohol at least once, with 26 percent reporting regular using alcohol and 17 percent reporting regular episodes of binge drinking.

Teen alcohol abuse has serious consequences. Alcohol related car accidents are the number one cause of death or disability among teens. Alcohol usage is also a strong factor in other teenage accidents, including drowning, falls, and burns. Alcoholism impairs reasoning and judgment capabilities, making teens more likely to engage in risky behavior or to become the victim of assault. Long term abuse can lead to alcoholism, health issues such as liver damage and heart disease, depression, and permanent cognitive impairment.

While most parents believe that they would know whether or not their child is abusing alcohol, numerous surveys show that that difference in what parents believe and what is actually happening in regards to teenage alcohol abuse is drastic. There are signs a parent can be on the lookout for.

The top five signs your teen is abusing alcohol are:

1. Appearing Tipsy or Drunk

While staggering, slurred speech, nausea or vomiting, and smelling of alcohol can be a dead giveaway, other signs may include excessive laughter or giddiness, or a child who avoids contact or conversation upon returning home.

2. Hangover Symptoms

Be on the lookout for oversleeping or complaints of illness in the morning. Nausea, headaches, and sensitivity to light and sound can all be symptoms of a hangover.

teen3. Loss of Interest in Activities, School, or Friends

Teenagers who abuse and drink alcohol are less likely to participate in extracurricular activities. Has your child suddenly lost interest in sports or clubs that he or she previously enjoyed? Are grades slipping? Is homework being turned in on time?

Teenagers who abuse alcohol associate with other teens who abuse alcohol. Make sure you know who your child’s friends are, and get to know the parents of your child’s friends. If your teen is suddenly hanging around a new group of people, this could be a red flag.

4. Problems with Memory and Concentration

Alcohol affects teenagers and adults differently. Teens who abuse alcohol are more at risk for damaging areas of the brain that control memory and concentration.

5. Mood Swings and Personality Changes

While most teenagers experience some mood swings due to fluctuating hormone levels, extreme changes in mood, temperament, and personality can be associated with alcohol abuse. Has your teen suddenly become angry or prone to outbursts? Or has he or she become sullen and withdrawn?

The existence of any of these warning signs could signal that your child has a problem with alcohol abuse. If you suspect that your teenager has a problem, but are unsure of what the next steps should be, contact a local alcohol rehab facility for more information.

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