This is a basic checklist frequently used by counselors and therapists to begin to determine whether alcohol and/or other drug abuse may be an issue in someone’s life:
1. Frequent Intoxication
Is the person frequently high or intoxicated?
Do many recreational activities center around drinking or other drug use – including obtaining, using and recovering from use?
2. Social Setting
Does the peer group encourage alcohol and drug use?
Is the person socially isolated from others and is substance use occurring alone?
Is the person reluctant to attend social events where alcohol or drugs won’t be available?
3. Intentional Heavy Use
Are “social” or “party drugs” used along with prescribed medications?
Does the person use more than is safe in light of other medications they may be using, or because of compromised tolerance due to illness or disability?
Does the person have an elevated tolerance as evidenced by the use of large quantities of alcohol or drugs without appearing intoxicated or high?
4. Symptomatic Drinking/Using
Are there predictable patterns of use which are well known to others?
Is there reliance on chemicals to cope with stress?
Has the person made lifestyle changes – yet the amount of use has stayed the same or increased? (e.g., changed friends or moved to another area)
5. Psychological Dependence
Does the person rely on chemicals as a means of coping with negative emotions?
Does the person believe that pain can’t emotionally be coped with without medication?
Does the person display obvious guilt about some aspect of their use of alcohol or drugs?
6. Health Problems
Are there medical conditions which decrease tolerance or increase the risk of substance abuse problems?
Are there medical situations or conditions which are aggravated by repeated alcohol or drug use?
Did the person ever suffer from an accident or disability while under the influence, even if it is denied by the person?
7. Job or School Problems
Is the person unemployed or underemployed? Falling behind in school? Dropped out? Getting poor grades?
Has the person missed work or school, or gone to work late due to alcohol or drug use or withdrawal?
Does the person blame or justify drinking/drugging because of school or work-related problems or difficulties?
8. Problems with Significant Others
Has a family member, friend or loved one expressed concern about the person’s use?
Have important relationships been damaged or lost due to chemical use?
9. Problems with Law or Authority
Has the person been in trouble with authorities or arrested for any drug or alcohol related offenses?
Have there been instances when the person could have been arrested but wasn’t?
Does the person seem angry at “the system” and at authority figures in general?
10. Financial Problems
Is money being spent in a manner not easily accounted for?
Does the person frequently miss making payments when they are due?
Does the person seem to struggle with affording basics or with saving money?
Does the person appear angry or defensive but does not seem to know why?
Is the person angry or defensive when confronted about chemical use?
Does increasing isolation (emotional and/or physical) suggest heavier substance use?
Is the person giving up or changing social and family activities in order to plan for, obtain, use, or recover from substances?
One or more of these symptoms does not automatically indicate a substance abuse problem. Rather, a pattern of difficulties across a range of functioning is the indication that you or a loved one is struggling with an alcohol or other drug abuse problem.
Let us help you determine if you or someone you care about has a substance abuse issue or dependency. We can also find the right treatment option – one that fits your finances, insurance coverage, lifestyle and commitments, for your individual needs. Please contact us today to set up an appointment with one of our addictions specialists.