What are the Signs of Alcohol and Substance Abuse?

Alcohol and substance abuse are common in people of all ages and walks of life. Symptoms may slightly differ depending on the type of abuse, but there are some similar signs. Both alcoholism and drug abuse result in losing control over the physical, emotional, and mental aspects of one's life. Such abuse can damage and ruin health, relationships, career, and finances.

Someone who feels his day isn’t complete until he’s drunk or sufficiently under the influence may be someone who is addicted. If he consistently drinks or uses from morning until night and still seems to function, that is a problem. Many people experiencing alcohol and substance abuse feel they can’t get through the day without drinking or using.

Often, substance users drink or use drugs in private or in secret. Most of them realize they have a problem and feel guilt or shame. Feelings of guilt can lead to more drinking, which makes this problem worse. One telltale sign of alcohol and substance abuse is if the user keeps alcohol or drugs nearby at all times. If he leaves a bottle of rum in his desk or cocaine stored around the house, for example, abuse may be present.


Those with drug addictions may keep their dealer on speed dial. The abuser may spend lots of money on drugs, even borrowing or stealing money to do so. Gambling addictions can also accompany drug addictions, as many drug users gamble for additional drug money.

Likewise, many alcoholics lose their drivers licenses due to arrests for drunk driving. In such cases, the alcoholic may resort to walking to work or paying a taxi to drive him. This can cost quite a bit of money, or worse, may cause an alcoholic to lose his job.

Emotional signs of alcohol and substance abuse include overall irritability, particularly when alcohol and drugs aren’t available. An alcoholic or drug user may withdraw from activities he used to enjoy. If the user is a teenager, his school grades will surely drop. Being increasingly secretive is generally a sign, as well.

Physical symptoms of alcohol and substance abuse might include shakiness and loss of coordination. Eyes may be bloodshot and speech may be slurred. While many alcoholics may grow a beer belly, many drug addicts lose a great deal of weight.

It is possible to be both an alcoholic and a drug addict. Furthermore, alcoholism is technically a crime when it affects those under the legal drinking age. Drug abuse is also a crime when substances are used illegally for recreational purposes. For these reasons alcohol and substance can also lead to legal problems.



Discuss this Article

Post your comments

Post Anonymously


forgot password?