I have a young son, age 23, who travels a lot for his job. He just graduated college and as you know there was a lot of partying. He just told me that he feels anxious, stress, and cannot figure out why. I suspect that he doesn’t realize he has a drinking problem and in its very early stage.. Any thoughts to this?
Anxiety and stress alone do not indicate a drinking problem nor does frequent college partying. It is important, however, to assess for signs of alcoholism when someone is consuming alcohol often or in large amounts.
Some common signs could be:
- Problems at work resulting from alcohol (frequent tardiness, frequents absences, etc.)
- Legal problems resulting from alcohol (DUIs, assault, etc.)
- Having trouble stopping after 1-2 drinks
- Hard time having fun without alcohol involvement
- Building a tolerance, i.e., needing more alcohol over time to have the same effect
- Feeling physically sick when going a long period of time without alcohol
- Feeling unhappy (anxious, sad, etc.) when going a long period of time without alcohol
- Making excuses for drinking or does things to hide drinking
- Making rules to limit amount of alcohol use, tries to control it
- Redness of nose and/or cheeks
- Weight loss
- People begin to comment/notice the drinking problem, people start talking
- Causing problems in relationships but still continues drinking
If you notice multiple signs listed above, there may be reason for concern. It is common for men his age to do a lot of drinking; however, it is also common for men his age to develop alcoholism as a result.
How are his coping skills, in general? Do you feel that he uses alcohol as a way to “escape” the stress or problems in life? If so, this is another sign that alcohol could potentially be a problem for him. If he has adequate coping skills, he may not feel the need to use alcohol as a crutch. Does alcoholism run in your family? Heredity has been shown to play a role in the development of alcoholism. Look for these risk factors as well as the signs listed above.
You can also take a look at these alcoholism quizzes to help you determine if he needs help.
I am a Mental Health Counselor who is licensed in both New York (LMHC) and North Carolina (LCMHC). I have been working in the Mental Health field since 2015. I have worked in a residential setting, an outpatient program and an inpatient addictions program. I began working in Long Island, NY and then in Guelph, Ontario after moving to Canada. I have since settled in North Carolina. I have experience working with various stages of addiction, depression, anxiety, mood disorders, trauma, stages of life concerns and relationship concerns.
I tend to use a person-centered approach which simply means that I meet you where you are and work collaboratively to help you identify and work towards accomplishing goals. I will often pull from CBT when appropriate. I do encourage use of mindfulness and meditation and practice these skills in my own life. I believe in treating everyone with respect, sensitivity and compassion.
I recognize that reaching out for help is hard and commend you for taking the first step. We have professionals available who would be happy to help you move closer to reaching your goals related to your drinking concerns. You may reach these professionals by calling 877-322-2694.