How Do You Spot an Alcohol or Drug Problem?
How do you know if someone has a problem with alcohol or drugs? How can you recognize alcohol abuse, alcoholism, drug addiction or other chemical dependency problems?
Addiction is a medical issue. Scientists and researchers know addiction as a genetically influenced disease.
Families and friends sometimes question whether a person they’re concerned about is addicted to alcohol or other drugs. This quiz is designed to help you answer that question. This is not a diagnostic tool, nor should it be presented to alcoholics or addicts as “proof” of their addiction.
Use this tool with common sense. Balance your results from the quiz with other information and experiences. As a rule of thumb, if you answer yes to two or more of these questions, the person you are concerned about is probably chemically dependent and should be assessed by a professional in the drug and alcohol treatment field.
When the word alcohol is used in the quiz, you can replace alcohol with the name of any other drug.
Does the person you are concerned about:
- Drink more now than in the past?
- Drink less but still has problems with alcohol?
- Neglect responsibilities with children due to substance abuse?
- Avoid social functions where alcohol is not served?
- Prefer to hang out with other heavy drinkers or drug users and avoid people who don’t drink?
- Hide bottles of alcohol, pills or controlled substances?
- Undergo a personality change when using alcohol or other drugs?
- Disrupt holidays or special occasions by getting high or drunk?
- Lie to employers, relatives or friends to hide his or her alcohol or drug use?
- Drive while intoxicated?
- Drink in the morning or early in the day?
- Drink alone?
- Deny drinking or drugging when it is obvious he or she has been drinking or drugging?
- Have friends or relatives ask him or her to stop or cut down on his or her use of alcohol or other drugs?
- Promise to stop using alcohol or other drugs but returned to use?
- Fail to remember what occurred during a period of alcohol and/or drug use?
- Have a family history of alcoholism?
- Have periods of remorse after drinking or drugging and apologize for his or her behavior?
- Justify his or her use by blaming a stressful life style or difficult emotional situations?
- Cause other family members to fear or avoid him or her when drinking?
- Get angry if someone suggestions there’s a drinking problem?
- Break promises because of drinking or drug use?
- Have medical problems related to alcohol or other drug abuse?
- Shake in the morning or when abstaining from alcohol?
- Deny a drinking problem because he or she drinks only wine or beer?
- Have financial problems related to alcohol or other drugs?
- Have legal problems due to drugs or alcohol?
- Miss work or school because of alcohol or other drug use?
- Isolate from family and friends, preferring to drink alone or with drinking buddies?
- No longer care about personal hygiene?
If you are concerned about an older adult, go to Signs of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse in Older Adults.