If there’s a surefire way of protecting your son from the dangerous effects of alcohol abuse, addiction would undoubtedly be less of a problem for many families. However, there’s no silver bullet, and alcohol abuse continues to plague many households nationwide. Parents may assume their son’s alcohol consumption may correct itself with time. The truth is, heavy drinking is a clear warning sign of a troubled future. Are you questioning: is my son an alcoholic? Know the warning signs and the proper steps to take to prevent lasting damage.
If your son is addicted to drugs or alcohol and you need help now, please call our helpline at 833-90-REACH. AspenRidge REACH provides effective online treatment programs for alcohol abuse and underlying mental health disorders that may impact long-term recovery.
Realities of Alcohol Abuse
There’s still so much judgment and stigma attached to alcohol abuse. Consequently, it creates an environment that isolates while leading many parents toward drastic measures. Even worse, some parents may assume that their son will simply grow out of risky drinking habits.
The disease of alcohol addiction is complex and can involve a variety of factors ranging from genetic, environmental, and behavioral traits. Many parents make a major mistake when approaching their son’s drinking problem by assuming the role of doctor, therapist, and friend. Underestimating the impact of this disease can create additional family dynamics issues, many of which should be avoided.
Alcohol is one of the most commonly abused substances in the world, and men are up to twice as likely to develop alcoholism than women. Epidemiological evidence reveals that nearly 20% of adult males have alcohol abuse or suffer from alcoholism-related complications. This information suggests that men are at higher risk for long-term issues.
Is my son an alcoholic? Questioning drinking habits is almost always the first sign that there may be something more at play. If you want to help your son overcome an addiction to alcohol, it’s important first to consider outside assistance.
Addressing Enabling Behaviors
Learning how to identify addiction patterns can alert you of trouble that may require help. And while many reasons can contribute to why a person abuses drugs or alcohol, it’s essential to understand the thin line between support versus enabling. The desire to help our children is an innate instinct for any parent. However, being an enabler can result in disastrous outcomes for those battling addiction and mental health issues.
Do You Enable?
Enabling is the act of attempting to fix problems for others and doing it in a way that interferes with taking responsibility or receiving proper treatment.
According to a report by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, only about one in 10 people with a substance use disorder–including alcohol–will receive any type of care. Unfortunately, it’s the families that will deal with the brunt of the consequences.
However, problems are often exacerbated when parents enable self-destructive behaviors. Rather than helping an individual achieve sobriety, enabling your son can actually erode relationships between family members. It allows your son to slip farther away from his most important lifelines. If your son is suffering from alcohol problems, consider the actions you can take as a parent to help find support during a critical time.
Here are some signs of enabling behaviors:
- Making excuses for your son’s behavior and habits
- Taking over personal responsibilities such as paying bills, cooking meals, washing clothes, and handling other daily chores
- Rescuing them from legal trouble
- Loaning money or providing access to alcohol
- Drinking with them
- Scolding, arguing, or pleading with them
Enabling behaviors encourages the individual to continue living his destructive lifestyle.
Is My Son an Alcoholic?
As parents, it’s perfectly normal to want the best for our kids. As they grow into adulthood, we hope to provide them with the means to succeed in all areas of life. However, it’s not always smooth sailing. We are consistently exposed to a culture immersed in celebration and relaxation normalized through alcohol usage. That’s not to say that alcohol is safe. Just the opposite is true.
In the U.S., alcohol is the most widely used drug among America’s youth and young adults. Drinking by 12- to 20-year-olds accounts for an average of 11% of all the alcohol consumed in each state. Further, a 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey that sampled high school students found that 30 days prior to taking the survey:
- 8% drank one or more alcoholic drinks
- 29% of 12th-grade students reported drinking alcohol
- 14% of 12th-grade students reported binge drinking in the past two weeks
Underage drinking is not uncommon, leading many parents to question, is my son an alcoholic? Early initiation of drinking is associated with the development of alcohol use disorder later in life.
Signs of Alcohol Abuse
Understanding when drinking has become a problem is no simple feat. Many Americans drink regularly. Consuming alcohol occurs frequently enough that it can be difficult to decipher when someone has lost control.
There are various warning signs to help detect potential alcohol abuse. Also, the severity of alcohol abuse may play a role in visible warning signs of alcohol misuse. For example, mild alcohol abuse can be easily overlooked.
Here are some of the most common signs that your son may be experiencing symptoms of alcohol abuse:
- Experiencing temporary blackouts or short-term memory loss
- Exhibiting signs of irritability and extreme mood swings
- Making excuses for drinking such as to relax, deal with stress, or feel normal
- Choosing to drink over other responsibilities and obligations
- Acting out of character or being more distant toward family members
- Drinking alone or in secret
- Feeling hungover when not drinking
- Changing appearance and group of acquaintances
- Asking for money
- Evasive answers to questions about their activities
- Sneaking out or demonstrating secretive behavior
- Asking to spend the night at friends’ houses
Alcohol Abuse Signs Among Teenagers
Alcohol is also the most widely used drug among teenagers. Unfortunately, many parents underestimate the dangers alcohol poses to kids. The U.S. Surgeon General surmises about 5,000 kids under 21 die every year due to underage drinking. Alcohol poisoning, car crashes, homicides, and suicides are among the increased risks teens face when they’ve been drinking.
Many parents assume that alcohol won’t be a problem. The truth is, the majority of teens will experiment with alcohol. Are you questioning: is my son an alcoholic? It’s critical to know the warning signs that your teen has been drinking.
Behavioral changes in teens who drink, include:
- Experiencing school problems, poor attendance, low grades, or recent disciplinary action
- Rebelling against family rules
- Lying, breaking curfew, or stealing
- Switching friends, along with a reluctance to let you get to know the new friends
- Having a sloppy appearance
- Lacking involvement in former interests
If you spot the signs, it’s essential to know how to approach your son about his suspected problem.
Addressing Alcohol Abuse
The simple fact is that unless you’ve spent years studying the science behind addiction, you won’t be able to reach your son about his alcohol abuse in an effective manner. Alcohol addiction is deadly, and getting help is essentially a matter of life or death.
Mayo Clinic explains that alcoholism is a physical and emotional dependence on alcohol. Consequently, an alcoholic cannot control the constant impulses to drink even as substance abuse causes relationship problems, job or school issues, financial problems, and health problems.
Is my son an alcoholic? This question is not one we often want to ask, much less face. However, due to the lasting effects of alcohol abuse, the issue must be dealt with sooner than later. Here are some things that you can do to help you approach your son.
Is My Son an Alcoholic? What to Do
Studying the effects of alcohol can help you understand the risks involved with alcohol abuse. Accessing online articles and resources may also help you to understand that addiction is a disease that should be handled by experienced addiction specialists.
Some things you can do:
Discussing concerns over your son’s drinking habits can be nerve-racking and panic-inducing. It is easy to dismiss the need for the conversation, which only exacerbates alcohol abuse. Consider:
- Assessing the appropriate time to talk
Although the conversation will not be an easy one, it’s vital to evaluate timing. A conversation that happens when your son is drunk or under stress can likely stir many emotions that can get out of hand. It’s also important not to be reactive to the responses.
- Focus on the results
Explain how your son’s drinking is affecting his health and mental wellbeing. Express the concerns over damages associated with alcohol. Remember not to place blame, but instead focus on recovery and the possibility of sobriety.
- Expect pushback
Being defensive or denying the issue is likely for anyone who suffers from alcohol use disorder. It’s critical not to take this personally or to grow defensive. Instead, focus on the possibility of inspiring change toward healthy habits.
- Stay connected
All too often, parents believe that giving their loved one’s space is the best method for treating substance abuse. However, isolation is known to exacerbate the issue. Instead, try to stay involved in ways that don’t enable problematic behavior. Encourage hobbies and healthy friendships.
Whatever approach you decide to take, it’s critical that lecturing, shaming, or threatening your son can be counterproductive. Addiction is often associated with shame and guilt, plus there’s a world of stigma associated with the misuse of alcohol. Try not to judge or use emotion to steer the conversation. Remember that you’re not their therapist or counselor. Similarly, it’s not your job to diagnose problem behavior and addiction.
Seeking Help for Alcohol Abuse
Participating in a recovery program with the help of a rehab specialist will give you the greatest chance for long-term sobriety. Treatment professionals guide you through every step of the recovery process and help you set achievable sobriety goals.
Experienced and licensed professionals have evidence-based treatment modalities to help individuals find an alternative to a life consumed by alcohol. Certain alcohol addiction treatment programs offer family support and therapy, too. Be sure to talk to treatment centers about their approach to helping loved ones. They can also help you answer: is my son an alcoholic?
AspenRidge REACH – Online Alcohol Addiction Help
Early detection of alcohol use disorder is essential. It’s a progressive disease, addiction can wreak havoc on your son’s life as well as the lives of those around him. AspenRidge REACH online programs can assist. We’ve helped thousands discover skills and tools to maintain a sober lifestyle through our various recovery approaches. Through AspenRidge REACH, an exclusive online alcohol treatment center, more people can find access to evidence-based care geared toward relief from ongoing alcohol dependency.
REACH provides care through virtual systems that incorporate individualized and group sessions. Through video conferencing, AspenRidge can securely assist those struggling with ongoing drug and alcohol misuse.
Does online rehab really work? Find out more here.
Our programs include:
- REACH Reset 6-Week Online Recovery Reset
- REACH 12-Week Online Intensive Outpatient Program
- REACH 12-Week Online Outpatient Program
At AspenRidge REACH, we understand that every situation is unique. Your therapist will work with you to create an individualized treatment plan specific to your needs. Don’t wait, and contact our 24/7 support center directly at 833-90-REACH.