Signs of Drug and Alcohol Use in Teens
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Some parents know for a fact that their teen is already drinking, but others have nothing more to go on than nagging suspicions. If in doubt, you can always try asking. If you’re still not sure, look for these possible signs of a drinking habit, courtesy of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry: Odor of alcohol on your teen’s breath. Teens are particularly vulnerable to alcohol use. In an effort to become more independent, teens begin to take risks and seek out new and thrilling situations.
This might include drinking alcohol. Teens also begin to feel more self-conscious and look to friends and the media for clues on how they measure up. Signs Your Teen Has Been Drinking. If your teen comes home from a party and you smell alcohol on their breath or clothing, it is a sure sign they’ve been drinking. They may try to evade you or lie about why they smell like alcohol. If your teen is stumbling, slurring their speech, or acting out of character, these are also signs that there has been alcohol or drug use.
Experts believe that a drinking problem is more likely if you notice several of these signs at the same time, if they occur suddenly, or if some of them are extreme in nature. Mood changes: flare-ups of temper, irritability, and defensiveness. Problem drinking is an umbrella term covering binge drinking, heavy drinking, and alcohol use disorder (AUD) – a pattern of compulsive alcohol consumption, loss of control over how much alcohol the person consumes, and withdrawal symptoms, especially negative emotional state and intense cravings when the person does not consume alcohol.
While we do not recommend giving consequences if you do not have proof that your teen was doing anything wrong, you can watch your child’s behavior more closely and follow up with him as needed. We also recommend letting your child know what the consequences will be if you discover that he has been drinking. As soon as you take a sip of alcohol, it increases your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level.
The higher that BAC goes, the more likely you are to show outward signs of impairment. If you’re unsure of how much someone around you has had to drink, look for symptoms including: Slurred speech; Lowered inhibitions; Impaired coordination and motor skills. If there is a history of alcohol abuse within the family, your teen has been exposed to its ugliness first hand. Whether it is a parent, an aunt or uncle, a grandparent or some other person, there is already an awareness of the bad that it does.
That’s the third thing we want to say to you: if your friends tell you they think you’re an alcoholic, and your response is anything like “Nah, I just drink too much,” then you need to get your head out of the sand and face some hard facts. If you drink every day, you might need a medical detox – because going cold turkey from daily. Use your nose.
Have a real, face-to-face conversation when child comes home after hanging out with friends. If there has been drinking or smoking, the smell will be on their breath, on clothing and in their hair. Look them in the eyes.
List of related literature:
|from Interventions for Addiction: Comprehensive Addictive Behaviors and Disorders, Volume 3|
|from Leifer’s Introduction to Maternity & Pediatric Nursing in Canada E-Book|
|from Cases in Differential Diagnosis for the Physical and Manipulative Therapies|
|from Illustrated Manual of Nursing Practice|
|from The Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide|
|from Handbook of Family Measurement Techniques: Abstracts|
|from Ferri’s Clinical Advisor 2019 E-Book: 5 Books in 1|
|from The Perspectives of Psychiatry|
|from The Maudsley Prescribing Guidelines in Psychiatry|
|from Berman’s Pediatric Decision Making E-Book|