It’s a question that no parent would ever wish to face – whether your son needs help for alcohol addiction. Please be assured, if you’re searching for this information about your son, then you’ve come to the right place. There is a lot of specialist addiction help available, to overcome alcohol dependency.
Family members contact us at Addiction Helper every day to talk through their concerns about alcohol. We’ll explain below some of the most common reasons parents get in touch with us to talk about their son’s drinking. We’re here if you want to have an initial conversation with an addiction counsellor about your situation and the options for alcohol treatment.
How Do I Know If My Son Is Addicted to Alcohol?
Alcohol addiction affects people in very different ways – it’s not always easy to tell if your son can no longer control his drinking.
Some people who drink excessively experience very obvious and worrying consequences. Their family and friends are well aware of the problems that alcohol causes in their life. For example, they may get into trouble or fight when they drink too much. Often, alcohol is a factor in accidents or relationship problems they have. They may even get into trouble with the police.
Your son might have directly asked you to intervene and find professional addiction help for him. He may have tried to stop on his own before now but found it impossible to stay away from alcohol. If he’s drinking every day, he probably avoids or resents any family activities where he can’t have a drink.
However, alcohol addiction isn’t always this clear-cut. The signs can be much more subtle. Your son may appear to function well to most people. He might be getting good results at college, university or work. He may have money and a nice place to live. He may have good friends and even a family of his own. He may have days where he doesn’t drink at all. But, as his parent, you instinctively know that something isn’t right. Although your son appears to be coping on one level, you suspect alcohol is affecting him badly beneath the surface.
Alcohol addiction doesn’t always take an obvious path in people’s lives. It can affect people at different stages in life. Some people drink excessively in their teens and twenties, for example, then they manage to moderate in later life. Others aren’t into alcohol at all when they’re young – but they go on to develop a drinking habit to cope with a stressful job or traumatic life event.
Some people start drinking heavily in teenage years and continue that way until they have very serious health issues or they get help to stop. Some people binge on alcohol, drinking to excess then abstaining for a few days or weeks before they do it again.
With alcohol addiction, it’s true to say that when it does take hold, the consequences typically get worse over time. What this means is you’re likely to notice increasing problems associated with your son’s alcohol use over time.
Three Questions to Ask Yourself about Your Son and His Drinking
There are three key questions you can ask yourself, to clarify whether your son may need professional addiction help.
1. Do you think your son’s mental health has declined?
Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant. It affects the way people process information, feel their emotions and make decisions. Excessive drinking over a period of time usually has noticeable effects on how a person feels about themselves and the world around them. The safe alcohol limit for men is 14 units a week. This is roughly 4-5 glasses of wine, or 4-5 pints of beer, each week. Regularly drinking more than this can impact on mental health.
At Addiction Helper, parents often tell us they’ve noticed a change in their son’s mood or outlook on life. They also tell us about the problems they are having relating to their son. They often say their son is different now in comparison to how he was in previous years – he isn’t as happy, fulfilled or enthusiastic as he once was.
You may have noticed that your son gets angry, especially if you ask him about how much he is drinking. He may have become distant and you find it hard to have a good conversation with him. He might seem on edge when you talk to him or always in a rush to go. Or he could be unpredictable – sometimes on great form at family events but other times erratic or absent. Perhaps it’s impossible to make contact at all – your phone calls go unanswered for weeks or months at a time.
Sometimes, parents find out that their son is clinically anxious or depressed. He may be taking prescription medication such as anti-depressants or beta-blockers. Your son may even have experienced suicidal feelings. This isn’t uncommon when alcohol addiction sets in because people can feel very powerless to change their situation. If this is happening now in your family, it can be an extremely worrying time – please get in touch with Addiction Helper to talk in confidence.
2. Is your son having physical health problems connected to alcohol?
Another vital sign to look out for is around your son’s physical health. Many parents come to Addiction Helper for advice about alcohol treatment when their son’s physical health is getting worse.
You might have noticed a change in his appearance, over months or years. Your son was once physically fit. He looked healthy and attractive. But now, he often looks unwell, pale, bloated or tired. He may have gained or lost weight due to drinking too much alcohol. He might have developed high blood pressure or another physical illness connected to excessive drinking. He may have had an accident after drinking too much.
In some cases, parents know that their son is physically addicted to alcohol. He may experience symptoms such as shaking, sweating, vomiting, blackouts or hallucinations. Please speak to us about the best options for alcohol detox and rehab, as it’s very important that medical professionals oversee alcohol detoxification. Your son should not attempt an alcohol detox alone.
Over the course of alcohol addiction, physical health consequences tend to mount up. Alcohol abuse not only damages organs and bodily systems directly – it also leads to impaired judgement and memory loss, which is often a factor in accidents.
3. Are you concerned about your son’s behaviour?
You may have heard from other family members or friends that your son’s behaviour is worrying. Or you may have noticed yourself. He may be getting into trouble after drinking too much or taking risks with drink-driving. Some parents find out that their son is in financial difficulties. Sometimes problems connected to alcohol addiction show up in relationships – arguments, misunderstandings or breakups. The consequences of drinking too much alcohol usually affect the whole family – parents, children, partners, siblings and often extended family too.
With alcohol dependency, often the behaviour, when people are not drinking, is very telling too. Have you ever been with your son when he’s not drinking? Is he noticeably different to the times when he has a drink? Does he seem more anxious, irritable, distant or upset?
Alternatively, you might feel that your son is under a lot of pressure but hiding it from you. Often people who function at a very high level (including in a demanding job or busy family life) can keep going for many years. They may be suffering from alcohol addiction but covering up the problems they’re having. This is where parental instinct comes in. If you sense there’s a serious problem with alcohol that your son is not addressing, Addiction Helper can advise you on the safest option to talk to him about his drinking.
Get in Touch with Addiction Helper to Discuss Alcohol Treatment
It’s the first step – to speak to us about what’s going on. Firstly, our addiction counsellors will listen to exactly what is happening in your family. We can provide you with much more clarity and choice at a difficult time. Any recommendations we make for alcohol treatment are always based on your specific circumstances. There are many options in the UK and abroad. These include addiction interventions, alcohol counselling, alcohol detox and rehab, as well as longer-term treatment for severe or chaotic alcohol addiction.
Call, email, send us a message on live chat or request a call back from Addiction Helper. We’re here to advise you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In the event of our trained addiction counsellors not being able to take your call overnight, please leave a message with our Addiction Helper answer service. We will call you back as soon as possible or at the time you request.