5 Warning Signs Of Alcohol Abuse In Adolescents

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July 25, 2023 by Marjorie R. Rogers, MA (English), Certified Consultant

In the United States, 13.4 million people between the age group 12 to 20 had at least one drink, despite the legal drinking age being 21. 

Watching family members and school seniors drink at parties, and influenced by movies and advertisements adolescents have grown fonder of alcohol than before. 

Adolescents, without knowing the serious damage that alcohol can cause, start drinking at an early age out of curiosity. It becomes crucial for parents, teachers or caregivers to identify the signs of alcoholism in a teenager to ensure the young one lives a healthy and happy life.

What are the Warning Signs of Teenage Alcoholism?

1. Falling Academic Performance

Alcohol abuse can significantly impact a teenager’s academic performance. If a student who used to do good in academics suddenly drops interest in school activities and slips out on grades, this could be a sign of alcoholism. 

In addition, their lack of confidence in the face of stiff academic competition and the pressure to excel can also become a reason for turning to alcohol. 

It becomes crucial to know the root cause of the issue when a teacher or parent notices a consistent decline in academic grades or lack of interest in school activities.  

Identification of alcoholism at an early stage can help put an end to it. Rehabs have treatment programs to help such kids come out of alcoholism.

For instance, Substance Abuse Programs, Daytona Beach offer treatment programs to help young patients suffering from addiction by providing them with proper care and attention. 

2. Old and New Friendships

Peers can have a high influence on teenagers. The constant urge to fit in and be cool around their friends often leads teenagers to experiment with illegal substances.

Alcoholism in teenagers can make them distant from old bonds and indulge with those who drink constantly. 

Thus, a sudden change in the social circle may indicate alcoholism in teenagers.

3. Change in Behavior Patterns

While finding bottles of alcohol in their rooms can be an alarming sign, some teenagers are smart enough to cover up such physical traces of alcohol abuse. 

Teens who have been lured by alcohol often become secretive and deceptive about their activities. They may start lying about their whereabouts and avoid spending time with family fearing that they might give hints of alcoholism to the elders. 

These are some behavioral patterns that can indicate alcoholism in adolescents. 

If a teenager is being highly secretive and heading straight to their room after coming from school without talking to their parents, it might suggest that something is going on with them. 

4. Emotional Signs of Alcoholism

While teenage angst can be a common cause of mood swings in a teenager, alcoholism can also be the hidden reason behind all the tantrums.

It is not possible for teenagers to have control over their emotions at such a young age while they’re under the influence of alcohol. Their mood continuously shifts from being happy and carefree to being irritable and depressed. They experience difficulty in managing their emotions and become easily frustrated. 

Furthermore, alcohol abuse can negatively impact their self-esteem and self-confidence making them feel worthless. In the process, they might get deeply addicted to alcohol to escape from reality.

5. Physical Signs of Alcoholism

Physical signs can be significant indicators of alcoholism in adolescents. 

Bloodshot Eyes: Bloodshot eyes or red eyes are because alcohol can dilate vessels. 

Lack of Physical Grooming: Teenagers struggling with alcohol abuse neglect their physical hygiene and self-care routines. A sudden decline in physical grooming can be an indication of alcoholism.

Smell of Alcohol: Adolescents would be able to hide everything but the distinct and strong smell of alcohol. The smell of alcohol coming from a teenager’s clothes or mouth can be a clear indication of alcohol consumption.

Slurred and Slow Speech: As a result of being under the influence of alcohol adolescents might struggle while communicating clearly. Slurred speech may indicate a kid is under the influence. 


It becomes necessary to identify the signs of alcoholism in adolescents to help them from ruining their future. 

Open communication with a non-judgemental approach can help a teenager understand the potential consequences of their actions.

Early intervention can significantly improve the chances of successful recovery and a healthier adolescent life.

About Author (Marjorie R. Rogers)

The inspiring mum of 6 who dedicates her time to supporting others. While battling with her own demons she continues to be the voice for others unable to speak out. Mental illness almost destroyed her, yet here she is fighting back and teaching you all the things she has learned along the way. Get Started To Read …