How Do I Know if I Have a Drug or Alcohol Problem?

By: Jan Edward Williams

Indicators of an Alcohol or Other Drug Problem

This information about indicators of problem use of alcohol or other drugs (AOD) is intended to serve as a practical guide to help a person to decide whether or not AOD use is causing problems. We do not think labels, such as "alcoholic" or "drug addict", are very helpful. Instead, we ask: Does use of a substance of abuse cause problems in significant areas of a person's life, and, if so, does the person keep on using it in the face of knowledge that it is causing these problems? If the answer is "yes" to these two questions, then the person clearly has a harmful relationship with the substance, and can benefit from help.

A common misconception is that in order for a person to have a problem with AOD, he or she must use every day, and must physically crave the substance. Often problem users drink or use other drugs only two-to-three times per week. The best question is not "Do I have to drink?", or, "Can I stop using marijuana during the week?", but, "Is my substance use causing me problems in important areas of my life?"

Here are some more danger signs.

â—? Alcohol or drug problems in parents, grandparents, or other close family members.

â—? Tolerance, need for more to achieve intoxication or the desired effect.



â—? Blackouts, gaps in memory for what happened while using.

â—? Loss of control, difficulty stopping once started, or inability to control frequency of

use.

Here are some specific Questions which explore how AOD use can harm an individual in significant life areas:

â—?Has substance use hurt your work performance, or academic performance, if in school?

â—?Have any of your friends said they were worried or concerned about your use or your behavior while using?

â—?Has substance use caused any tension in relationships with important people in your life, such as a spouse, boy or girl friend, or roommates?

â—?Has your behavior while using caused you any social embarrassment or hurt your reputation?

â—?Has your AOD use caused you to do things that go against your value system?

â—?Do you use AOD even though advised not to because of a medical condition (for example, ulcer, diabetes, or being on medication for depression)?

â—?Have you due to AOD use gotten into legal trouble (e.g., DWI, disorderly conduct, drug charges).

â—?Have you ever had an injury, or been to the ER, or hospitalized due to AOD use?

â—?Have you ever gotten into any fights while using?

â—?Do you often drive a car knowing you would flunk a sobriety test if caught?

â—?Have you ever been to see a counselor or therapist where part of the problem related to AOD use?

A "Yes" to any of these questions is cause for concern and indicates the person may be developing a harmful relationship with alcohol or other drugs.

Top Searches on
Addictions
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on Addictions
 



Share this article :
Click to see more related articles