How to Tell if My Child is an Alcoholic

Why is My Child an Alcoholic_

Written By: Lighthouse Editorial Team

Our editorial team includes content experts that contribute to Lighthouse Recovery Institute’s blog. Editors and medical experts review our blogs for accuracy and relevance. We consistently monitor the latest research from SAMHSA and NIDA to provide you with the most comprehensive addiction-related content.

Published on Jan 14, 2020 | Get Help For A Loved One

Why is My Child an Alcoholic_

Alcoholism is a progressive disease. The progression means that many potential alcoholics display alcoholic tendencies from a young age, leaving parents unclear if their child is an alcoholic.

Just because a child possesses alcoholic characteristics doesn’t mean they’ll become a full-fledged alcoholic.

Generally, there are a ton of factors that contribute to a child being an alcoholic later in life. However, it is difficult for parents to understand that their child is possibly participating in underage alcohol use and requires professional help. Generally, the warning signs go unnoticed by families until a child is in trouble, or someone brings the family’s attention to the severity of the alcohol problem.

Continue reading to learn more about if your child is an alcoholic

Signs of Alcoholism in Children

Although the following signs may symbolize a problem with alcohol or drugs, some also display normal adolescent issues. Professionals believe that it is more likely that your child is an alcoholic if, as a parent, you notice several of these signs at the same time or if they appear excessive in nature.

  • Rebelling
  • Risk-taking behavior
  • Delinquent behavior
  • Aggression
  • Never fitting it
  • Isolation
  • Depression

Why is My Child an Alcoholic?

Experimenting with substances at a young age leads to greater chances of a child being an addict or an alcoholic.

Drug and alcohol use is very common during adolescence. Generally, teenagers are often unaware of how serious alcoholism is. Thus, risk-takers and rebellious teens are more likely to experiment with liquor. Additionally, teen drinking or drug use between the ages of nine and twelve could indicate future addiction.

Genetic factors contribute to the likelihood of your child being an addict or an alcoholic. 

Generally, genetic factors play a huge role in alcoholism. Multiple studies cite genetics as the single largest factor in determining whether someone is alcoholic or not, clocking in at an impressive 50%. Thus, it’s much more likely for a child to become an alcoholic if someone in their family is. However, just because there’s a family history of alcoholism, it doesn’t mean that the child will grow up to be an alcoholic.

Childhood trauma is one of the leading contributing factors of addiction.

Furthermore, children who experience trauma may have a higher chance of experimenting with drugs and alcohol. Since many children from unstable homes don’t learn practical coping skills, liquor and drugs take the place of healthy coping mechanisms. Additionally, 90% of women who are addicted to alcohol were physically, emotionally, or sexually abused as children, according to the National Trauma Consortium. Also, many women experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and use drugs or alcohol to numb feelings of pain, anxiety, depression, and fear.

Personality Traits of an Alcoholic

Here is a list of general personality traits associated with individuals struggling with addiction. However, if pondering if your child is an alcoholic, take the time to review this character list as a starting point. So, how many of these traits do your son or daughter possess? Our addiction professionals suggest if you can identify eight or more, then seeking professional help for your child is appropriate. If you think your child is an alcoholic, then intervene before the drug or alcohol use gets too out of control.

  • Perfectionist
  • Single-minded
  • Lives on the edge
  • All or nothing thinking
  • Thrill seeker
  • Anxiety prone
  • Impulsive
  • Acts before thinking
  • Arrogant
  • Holds grudges
  • Demanding
  • Angry
  • Non-conformist
  • Irritable
  • Restless
  • Discontent
  • Self-blaming
  • Dislikes authority
  • Grandiose
  • Defensive
  • People pleaser
  • Fear of failure or success
  • Withdrawn
  • Compulsive liar
  • Drama queen
  • Social chameleon
  • Guarded
  • Life of the party
  • Prone to Depression or Anxiety
  • Struggles with Co-Occurring disorders such as self-harm or eating disorders

When Contacting A Professional

Generally, early signs of alcoholism can be detected and examined through therapy. That means there may finally be an answer to the question, “is my child an alcoholic?” Thus, being educated about alcoholism and its effects and dangers is also vitally important. Finally, knowing where and how to seek help is the best way to help your child. Also, in accepting help for an addicted child, the first thing to do is to not criticize yourself. The primary thing is to act now to find the best available treatment to support your child stop using alcohol, and begin living a healthier lifestyle.

So, contact us today if you have concerns about your child being an alcoholic or struggling or drug use. Because we understand the importance of education for families, we are available to answer any questions you may have regarding your child’s behavior and substance use.

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Cite This Article
Lighthouse Editorial Team. "How to Tell if My Child is an Alcoholic." Lighthouse Recovery Institute., Published on Jan 14, 2020,


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