How to Deal With a Son or Daughter Who Drinks Too Much

dealing with a son or daughter who drinks too much

Parenting is full of joys and challenges. You love your children from the moment they are born and throughout each stage of life. While your role as a parent changes as your children reach adulthood, your love for them remains constant. You are likely to worry about your children as they face new stages and milestones of adulthood and feel anxious about their new adult struggles.

You may have unique concerns or questions if your son or daughter drinks too much. What is your role in your adult child’s life? How can you help a child who drinks too much when they are legally responsible for themself?

Your role as a parent is different when you have an adult child who has a drinking problem. Understanding what resources and support are available can help you navigate this tricky emotional problem.

If you need guidance on how to help a son or daughter who drinks too much, reach out to the caring specialists at Moving Mountains Recovery today.

How to Tell if Your Son or Daughter Drinks Too Much

You may have clear signs that you have an alcoholic child, or you may have concerns about changes in their behavior, mood, or appearance. It’s essential to know how much drinking is too much and recognize the signs of alcohol abuse or addiction.

First, the CDC recommends that people who drink alcohol should only drink in moderation. For women, this means having one or fewer alcoholic drinks daily. Men are encouraged to have two or fewer drinks per day. A drink is defined as:

  • 12 ounces of beer
  • 8 ounces of malt liquor
  • 5 ounces of wine
  • 1.5 ounces of wine

Heavy drinking is defined as having eight or more alcoholic drinks weekly for women and 15 or more weekly drinks for men. According to recent research, about 6% of the US adult population admits to heavy drinking. Heavy drinking increases the risk of accidents, injuries, certain diseases, and mental health complications.

Binge drinking means having excessive amounts of alcohol on a single occasion–four or more for women and five or more for men. About 16% of the US adult population reports binge drinking, and about a quarter of that binge drinks weekly. Binge drinking is believed to be responsible for 40% of the deaths and 75% of the healthcare costs associated with excessive drinking.

Binge drinking and heavy drinking are forms of alcohol abuse, but they are not necessarily signs of alcohol addiction.

Alcohol abuse and addiction have emotional, physical, and behavioral aspects. Some of the signs of alcohol abuse and addiction include:

  • Needing to drink more to get the same effects (building tolerance)
  • Getting injured, being involved in accidents, or having health complications due to drinking
  • Changes in mood, sleep, appetite, or appearance
  • Legal or financial trouble related to drinking
  • Neglecting responsibilities at work, home, or school
  • Isolating from friends and family
  • Spending a lot of time drinking or being hungover
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms (shakiness, sweating, nausea, anxiety) when not drinking
  • Wanting to stop drinking but feeling unable to do so

These signs of alcohol abuse and addiction can signal that your son or daughter drinks too much and that alcohol is hurting their ability to function in daily life.

How to Help an Adult Child Who Has a Drinking Problem

Anger, guilt, helplessness, or frustration are common when you have a child who drinks too much. One of the first things you must do is find support to help you manage your own emotions about your child’s drinking. A counselor or support group can help you learn skills to help your adult child and identify your own enabling behaviors.

Next, learn as much as you can about alcoholism and recovery. Read stories, attend 12-step meetings, and explore books on the subject. The more you understand alcoholism as a disease, the more supportive you can be of a child who drinks too much.

Finally, find treatment centers that offer high-quality, comprehensive substance abuse treatment programs. At Moving Mountains Recovery, we work with people and their families to encourage better communication, whole-person healing, and complete recovery. Our admissions team would happily answer questions and review your options.

How to Encourage a Son or Daughter Who Drinks Too Much to Go to Rehab

You’ve learned about alcoholism, found support, and found a treatment program to meet your child’s needs–but now what? One of the most frustrating issues when you have a child who drinks too much is that you can’t choose what they do next. You can’t make your child go to rehab. But you can create an environment that makes it more likely they’ll decide to get help.

First, be careful about how you talk about your child’s drinking. Focus on your concern about their health, safety, and relationships. Avoid anger, guilt, or blame.

Second, consider staging an intervention. An intervention is a planned event where friends and family come together to express concern for someone with a drinking problem. You can offer to get your child into treatment immediately during an intervention and lay out the consequences of not seeking treatment.

Lastly, remember that no one chooses to live with alcoholism. While you can’t force your child to seek treatment, you can take care of yourself, improve your communication skills, and create a supportive environment for the entire family.

Find Alcohol Abuse Treatment Now

One of the most important things you can do to help a child who drinks too much is to connect them to treatment and resources in their community. At Moving Mountains Recovery, we support people and families as they navigate alcoholism recovery. Reach out to our admissions staff today to learn more about starting one of our programs.

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