Hanna's Drinking Isn't Her Only Issue

by Kaitlin Reilly

Poor Hanna — the girl has had it rough since Alison's return to Rosewood. Though all four of the liars are struggling with Ali's return in their own way, the return of the former Queen Bee has hit Hanna the hardest. Hanna dealt with a crisis of identity earlier in Season 5 of Pretty Little Liars when she realized that much of her high school persona was based on stepping into the shoes of uber popular "dead" friend. Hanna has changed physically since Ali came back to Rosewood — she's now sporting a two-tone hairdo and an Avril Lavigne-esque wardrobe — but her emotional state has also made a 180. Hanna is coping with the frustration she feels over her situation with Ali by turning to her former boyfriend, Caleb, whom isn't exactly the most stable guy around. Hanna and Caleb are drinking away their problems, and it's surprising and sad to see the couple spiraling out of control.

Hanna's drinking is certainly a problem, but it isn't the only sign that this little liar needs help. When things get hard in Hanna's life, she tends to externalize her emotions. In the beginning of the series we saw Hanna shoplifting from a department store, something that, when we look back, is a real indicator that she wanted to regain some control over her chaotic life. Through flashbacks we saw that Hanna used to do the same thing with food. Ali's relentless teasing of Hanna's weight was a factor in Hanna's disordered eating. Though the show didn't focus heavily on Hanna's issues with food, they were always there, so much so that A took advantage of Hanna's food issues by making her eat half a dozen cupcakes. That may not seem like a huge problem to a person who doesn't have a pattern of disordered eating, but to someone like Hanna, it's a cruel way to push her back into bad habits.

The difference between Hanna's former patterns was that they were met with (for the most part, anyway) a sympathetic ear from her friends. Unfortunately, Hanna's drinking problem is looked at as more a liability to the liars than it is a legitimate personal struggle. Hanna's friends don't see Hanna as struggling to cope with Ali's return with booze as a sign that Hanna needs help — they're more concerned about whether she'll blab info to A while intoxicated.

Hanna's drinking makes her less trustworthy and reliable, and her friends are right to be worried about what her drinking could mean for their collection of secrets. At the same time, it's hard to watch Hanna's friends act so unsympathetic towards her when it's very clear that she's struggling. These girls are familiar with substance abuse — it was just last season that Spencer checked into rehab for her own drug addiction. The fact that Hanna can't lean on her friends is only going to make her problem worse. A little kindness thrown Hanna's way would be a start.

I hope that the liars realize Hanna needs help, and soon. Tracking A may be priority number one, but their elusive enemy isn't the only thing that could bring harm to the liars. Hanna needs an intervention, and her friends need to realize that soon if they want to bring the old Hanna back.

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