Health Tips

Health tipAlcohol and drugs – dependence and addiction

It is often difficult for people to recognise that they have become dependent on alcohol or other drugs. They may see it as a temporary situation because they are in physical pain or because they are dealing with a difficult situation such as grief, loss, anxiety or trauma.

Asking for help when you first suspect you have a problem is important so that you can get support to make changes. The earlier you reach out the better – but it’s never too late.

If you think you are dependent on alcohol or other drugs, speak to your local doctor as soon as possible.

Signs of alcohol or other drug dependence.

Some signs that you may have an alcohol or other drug problem are:

  • changed eating or sleeping habits.
  • Caring less about your appearance.
  • Spending more time with people who drink or use drugs to excess.
  • Missing appointments, classes or work commitments.
  • Losing interest in activities that you used to love.
  • Getting in trouble in school, at work or with the law
  • Getting into more arguments with family and friends
  • Friends or family asking you if you have a substance abuse problem
  • Relying on drugs or alcohol to have fun or relax
  • Having blackouts
  • Drinking or using drugs when you are alone
  • Keeping secrets from friends or family
  • Finding you need more and more of the substance to get the same feeling.

Often it is family and friends who first recognise that a person they care about has an alcohol or drug problem. They may have noticed them acting differently – being withdrawn, always tired, increasingly hostile or easily upset. They may ask the person straight out if they have a problem.

If that happens to you, you might feel threatened or criticised. Try to remember that they’re trying to look out for your wellbeing. A positive first step would be to listen, reflect, and be honest with yourself about what they had to say.