Signs of Teen Alcohol Addiction

One of the most widely abused substances among teens is alcohol. Teenagers are often reported to abuse alcohol more than nicotine or marijuana; 80% of high school students admit to having abused alcohol, while 37% of high school seniors admit to having used other illegal drugs at some point.

AlcoholismTeen drinking is widely experimental.  Most teen parents usually underestimate the severity and consequences of their teens’ drinking. However, apart from being illegal, teen drinking can lead to drunk driving, lowered inhibitions, violence and other reckless behavior. By closely studying your teen’s special circumstances, behaviors and mood, you can figure out whether your teen is drinking or not, or if they are at risk for alcohol abuse.

Teenage drinking

What is Alcohol Addiction?

Before we start discussing about the common signs of teenage alcohol addiction, first let us understand what is really meant by alcohol addiction. While there are various cultural standards and ideas defining what constitute addiction, adolescent alcohol addiction is generally considered an alcohol-dependent addiction, not excessive alcohol consumption. Teen drinking addiction is a condition where the adolescent cannot go without drinking, much like adults who have been drinking for several years.

Alcohol Addiction

Signs of Teenage Alcohol Addiction:

Signs of teenage alcohol addiction often involve major personality changes. Most sources suggest teen parents be aware of any changes in their teens’ friends, interests and clothing styles. Apart from these, it is also advised that parents make note of teens with increased money demands, increased desire for privacy, and lack of interest in family activities.

Since these changes are the most desired and experienced by teens, they can also co-occur with teenage alcohol addiction; however, these signs don’t always indicate the condition directly. Read on to know more about the signs of teenage alcohol addiction.


Physical Evidence:

  • The presence of alcohol is one of the most obvious signs that your teen child is drinking.
  • Finding alcohol bottles or cans hidden in your teen’s car, room or in the trash suggest that he/she has been drinking alcohol on a regular basis.
  • Other obvious signs of drinking include smell of alcohol on his/her clothes, and bloodshot eyes.
  • Sudden loss of interest in physical appearance or sudden changes in hygiene may also indicate alcohol addiction.

Body Complaints:


  • Alcohol is no different from other drugs which can be physically addictive. Teens who drink excessively are more likely to show physical symptoms.
  • According to the “Teen Drug Addiction Website, teens who are drinking might complain of sleeping problems or headaches in the early morning.  Alcohol dependent teens might start to exhibit withdrawal symptoms, which include anxiety, hallucinations, racing heartbeat, seizures and sweaty or shaky palms.
  • Using alcohol to alleviate physical complains also signifies alcohol withdrawal.
  • Alcohol addiction is a very serious disease and medical condition which should be treated immediately by a physician.

Changes in Behavior:

  • Drinking teenagers usually engage in behaviors which are deceitful in an attempt to disguise their drinking.
  • Teens that start breaking curfew, stealing or lying are more likely to be alcohol dependent.
  • Teens that  abuse alcohol  will also spend a lot of time or go out of their way to get alcohol if it is not available readily. They may also give up social or family activities which they enjoyed previously.
  • Sudden change in their circle of friends can also indicate a teen’s addictive behavior.

Emotional Problems:

  • Emotional and alcohol difficulties usually coexist. Teens often drink alcohol to cover feelings of anxiety and depression.
  • Teen depression can be different from adult depression; if your teen become verbally or physically aggressive, becomes unusually lethargic, or has uncontrollable mood swings, it could indicate a psychological condition making your child more vulnerable to alcoholism.


  • Similarly, teens that have been physically or emotionally abused are more likely to be alcohol dependent.
  • Teenage drinking or alcohol addiction is also one of the main risk factors of adolescent suicide.

Family Influences:

  • Studies have found that teenage vulnerability to alcohol abuse is partially influenced by heredity.
  • If a teen’s parents have a history or alcoholism, he/she is more likely to be vulnerable to alcohol.
  • Problems in the family like divorce, financial stress or illness can also increase the risk of alcohol addiction.

1 response to Signs of Teen Alcohol Addiction

  1. Thanks for sharing this informative article on a very serious teen addiction. I knew people with addictions like this and read a wonderful book which helped me cope with and cure the co-addiction which usually comes with these problems. The book is called Soaring Above Co-Addiction written by Lisa Espich. It not only shares the traditional methods of recovery, such as detachment and tough love, but also teaches the tools of manifestation. It’s like “The Secret” meets “Codependent No More”.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *