Is your loved one abusing Alcohol or Drugs?

Here are 12 key questions to ask yourself about the behaviour of your loved one. These questions centre on the kinds of changes that are commonly seen when people succumb to alcohol/drug abuse or addiction.

  1. Have you noticed a dramatic change in sleeping habits – either staying up all night, or for days on end, or seemingly never getting out of bed? (Note: lethargy is also a frequent warning sign of depression.)
  2. Have you noticed a sudden change in appearance, or a loss of interest in dressing well or personal hygiene?
  3. Have you noticed any sudden loss of interest in longstanding hobbies or activities that used to be much enjoyed?
  4. Is your loved one having sudden financial problems? Does he/she always seem to be short on cash or borrowing money (for vague reasons)? Are things missing around the house?
  5. Has your loved one been reprimanded or in trouble at school or work?
  6. Are there obvious signs of intoxication or does he/she frequently look stoned or drunk, or smell of alcohol?
  7. Has he/she gained or lost weight suddenly?
  8. Have longstanding friends been replaced by new associates?
  9. Is he/she touchy when you bring up the subject of drugs or alcohol?
  10. Has he/she become more withdrawn, wanting to spend far more time alone, (or away from you) than previously?
  11. Does your loved one seem to get hurt more often than before? Does he/she come home with bruises, breaks or cuts and have vague explanations for how he/she got them?
  12. Has your loved one been in trouble with the law recently (maybe involving some form of intoxication?

The more ‘Yes’ answers you score, the greater the likelihood that substance abuse may be causing the changes you see in your loved one. This test will never prove addiction, but it may validate your concerns and strengthen your resolve to take the next necessary steps to confronting the situation.

The RISE Foundation runs both residential and non-residential Family Programmes with a team of experienced addiction counsellors. We provide individual and group counselling services to people adversely affected by a loved ones addiction.