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How To Find Help

It’s hard for most parents to believe that their child might be caught up in underage alcohol use and in need of professional help. Don’t feel bad if you didn’t see the warning signs until your child was in trouble or until someone told you about the problem in your family. When most parents find out about their child’s underage drinking, they feel shocked and stunned and wonder where they went wrong.

If you wonder whether your child has a problem with alcohol, here are some signs to look for.

If you wonder whether your child could someday have an alcohol problem, learn about the risk factors for developing one.

In getting help for a teen who drinks, the first thing to do is to try not to blame yourself or your child. The important thing is to act now to find the best available services to help your child stop using alcohol and begin building an alcohol-free future.

If you are seeking treatment for a mental health or substance abuse problem, you can start by talking with people you know, such as family members, friends, school teachers or counselors, clergy, and your doctor. Your health insurance company can give you a list of providers. If your employer has an employee assistance program, you can get a referral there.

Your child’s school may suggest a good substance abuse treatment program. If not, the school district is likely to have a substance abuse prevention and counseling program. Contact them for help.

Your county’s health department probably has substance abuse services and is another good source for information. The county agency may be called “alcohol and drug programs” or “behavioral health” or it may be within a mental health services division. A call to the county health agency’s general information number should point you in the right direction.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator includes a quick search feature to help you find details about substance abuse treatment programs in your area.