Most people think alcohol is a common social beverage. You have a cocktail after work, a beer during the weekend, or some wine with dinner.
But alcohol has an ugly side. Alcohol abuse causes 88,000 deaths every year. Alcohol is a highly addictive substance and many addicts have difficulty seeking recovery.
Alcohol abuse becomes even scarier when it affects a loved one; specifically, your child. Men are more prone to alcoholism than women; 4.5% of men are dependent on alcohol compared to 2.5% of women.
This is why you should pay attention to your son and make sure he’s not showing any signs of alcoholism. What if you suspect your son is an alcoholic? Here’s how to help an alcoholic son.
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Signs Your Son Is an Alcoholic
Identifying alcoholism isn’t always easy. Pay attention to these common alcohol abuse symptoms.
He’s Hanging Around New Friends
It’s normal for your son to change his social group. But are you getting sketchy vibes from these new friends? Is your son trying to hide them from you?
Certain friends can influence different actions in your son. This is especially the case if your son is underage; these friends may be heavy partiers and are influencing your son to participate in these same antics.
Whether your son has an underlying problem or they’re binge drinking to fit in, new friends can be the catalyst to a drinking problem.
His Moods Are Changing
Alcoholics typically experience erratic moods. These can include:
- Being defensive
The reason for this moodiness is the way alcohol affects your brain. Alcohol impacts your brain’s pleasure neurotransmitters, which include serotonin and dopamine. These neurotransmitters increase, leaving the user happy.
But these chemicals decrease the next day. This can leave your son depressed, angry, and anxious.
If you suspect something is wrong and confront him, it’s common for him to be defensive. Deep down, he probably knows he has a problem. But he may be too embarrassed to admit it.
Weak Memory and Concentration Skills
Memory loss is a common symptom of alcoholism. Excessive drinking slows down nerve communication in the hippocampus.
Alcohol also affects your cognition, such as concentration. However, your son won’t experience this “scatterbrained” sensation until the day after.
Alcohol damages brain cells. Excessive drinking also lowers your blood sugar levels, resulting in your son feeling awful. All of this combined causes concentration issues and the effects can last for several days.
Coordination Issues, Slurred Speech, and Bloodshot Eyes
These are all common symptoms that someone is drunk. You commonly see intoxicated people slurring their speech, being clumsy, and lacking coordination. That’s because alcohol interferes with your brain’s coordination centers.
Bloodshot eyes are also common when you’re drunk. Alcohol causes blood vessels to dilate, increasing blood flow. This sensation occurs in your eyes, giving your eyes that reddish tint.
Not all alcoholics show these symptoms. You can also try finding alcohol in his room or house. You can also usually smell alcohol on someone’s breath.
If you continually see these symptoms in your son, they could be abusing alcohol.
Is He Not Prioritizing His Responsibilities?
Did you discover your son is missing work? If he has a child, is he not performing his fatherly duties? Alcoholics prioritize drinking over their essential responsibilities.
This same symptom can occur if your son is underage. He can skip class, get poor grades, not do his homework, and get in trouble at school.
Not Pursuing Previous Interests
Did your son have many interests and passions, such as sports, art, writing, or music? Is he no longer pursuing them? Addiction interferes with every aspect of your life.
The cravings become so intense, the user would rather give in to their addiction rather than their passions.
What If Your Son Is Underage?
Alcohol kills more teenagers than any other drug combined.
Many teenagers love to party and drink with friends. Unfortunately, underage drinkers will more than likely face more drinking problems than those who waited to drink until they were 21.
Underage drinkers also engage in risky behavior more than adults who drink. This type of behavior includes unprotected and promiscuous sex and physical violence.
Alcohol also increases a minor’s chance of developing brain alterations and memory problems.
If you suspect your underage son is abusing alcohol, it’s important you seek help for him.
How to Help an Alcoholic Son
There are many steps a parent must take to help their alcoholic son. Here are the steps to follow.
Talk to Your Son
The first step is to talk to your son. He will be uncomfortable, angry, and may even be in denial or will avoid the topic. It’s important you’re vigilant, identify any symptoms you noticed, and inform your son that he has a problem.
The best way to help your son with his alcoholism is to seek professional help. A rehab clinic is your best choice. Your son will have access to counselors, support groups, and will detox the alcohol out of his system.
Another rehab benefit is they will identify underlying mental illnesses.
Mental disorders and addiction go hand-in-hand; an addict usually has a mental illness and alcoholism is their escape. Therapists at rehab facilities will provide a dual diagnosis and will treat your son’s addiction as well as their mental disorder.
Provide Emotional Support
If your son is in rehab, provide support and be their rock. Addiction isn’t an easy thing to endure. Your son will need all of the support he can get. Prove that you’ll always be there for him. Your support will further fuel his desire to get clean.
Help Your Son Today
Do you suspect your son is abusing alcohol? Knowing how to help an alcoholic son isn’t always easy. You will likely have to take him into rehab.
Are you based in New Brunswick, New Jersey? Here is an overview of our addiction treatment process.