Teen Drinking - What to Look for
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What do parents need to look for when considering teen alcohol abuse?


Judith Welles Cousins: Hi, I am Judy Cousins. I am clinical social worker. I have a private practice in Old Town Alexandria, Virgina and I am here to talk about how to recognize teen alcohol and drug use, what are the signs and what are the symptoms and what I want to talk about right now is actually that what are the signs -- what are the specific signs and symptoms of teen and alcohol and drug use. Host: What do parents need to look for when considering teen alcohol abuse? Judith Welles Cousins: I think it's very important for parents, other adults as well who contact with teens, but parents in particular, to have a framework, to have a perspective when they are concerned about the possibility that their teenager is using alcohol and drugs and what I mean by that is when you as a parent are looking at your teenager and you have concerns that they are using, what I say to families, what I say to parents is what you are looking for is, what you typically see in your teenager in terms of behavior in the extreme and we all know that teenagers when they get to be that age, tend to behave in ways that may cause anxiety or may cause angst. They maybe at age 10 or 11, maybe happy go lucky always with the family, always talking, always bubbly and then they turn into a teenager and they may go in their rules more. They may talk less. They may spend more time with their friends and they spend more time themselves. So what I am saying is when you see those changes you are going to see for the most part you are going to see typical changes in you are teenager. What you need to be looking out for is when you see those changes are you seeing them in the extreme? Are you seeing a teenager who never comes out of his room? Are you seeing a teenager who really never talks to you, never talks to their family members, who really doesn't have a happy go lucky attitude when they did before. So you are looking at changes, number one and you are looking at extremes in changes number two and again, what you are looking at is behavior that you have seen probably seeing before or changes that you have haven't seen before, but you see them in the extreme and what you are looking for is what I call kudos. So if your teenager is spending hours and hours in their room, what I would say is don't automatically jump to the conclusion that they are doing something really negative with alcohol and drugs, but that you want to talk to your teen and you want to check that out. You want to find out.