Early Onset Alcoholism
FIVE WARNING SIGNS
- 1. Heavy drinking and alcoholism are more likely to occur when a parent has a similar problem. A family
history of alcohol dependence increases risk of alcohol dependence four-fold.
- 2. Other early risk factors include serious childhood behavior problems requiring treatment, such as
attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression or anxiety, and health problems such as
asthma. Talk about this with your teens and let them know how important it is not to drink. Let them
know you will help if they need assistance.
- 3. Often, early onset alcoholism results in serious problems such as emergency room visits, injuries,
fights or declining school performance. These serious problems may occur very early, even the first
time teens drink on their own. If these occur, obtain an evaluation from a professional.
- 4. If drinking problems develop early, be sure that any treatment includes a thorough evaluation of other
possible disorders such as ADHD, depression or anxiety. Treatment of coexisting disorders helps
with recovery from alcoholism. Also, teens that drink heavily often use other drugs, especially
marijuana. Be sure to have this evaluated as well.
- 5. If an older child begins drinking a lot, younger siblings are more likely to do so as well. Be especially
vigilant as your younger children grow.