Fall 2015 Edition
What Is Problem Drinking Or Drug Use?
Alcohol and drug problems occur at all educational and social levels, and in every age group. If you think that you (or a family member) may have a problem with alcohol or drugs, ask yourself the following questions. If the answer to any of them is “yes,” you need to examine how your alcohol or drug use is affecting your health, safety, relationships, family, job performance or finances.
1. Do you ever drink heavily or use drugs when you are disappointed, under
pressure or have had a quarrel with someone?
2. Do you sometimes feel guilty about your drinking or drug use? Do you do
things while under the influence that you wouldn’t do otherwise? Do you
find yourself regretting them later?
3. Do you tell yourself you can stop drinking or using drugs any time you
want to, but you keep getting drunk or high when you don’t intend to?
4. Has a family member, friend, or your employer ever expressed concern or
complained about your drinking or drug use? Are you annoyed by their
concern? Do you become defensive?
5. Do you sometimes have the “shakes” in the morning and find that it helps
to have a “little” drink, tranquilizer or medication of some kind?
6. Do you ever wake up the morning after with no memory of the night
before? Have these “blackouts” become more frequent?
7. Do you find yourself lying to your spouse, your kids, your friends, your
employer to cover up your drinking or drug use - though you really don’t
8. Have you had financial, work, family or legal problems as a result of your
drinking or drug use?
9. Do you drink or get high while alone?
10. Have you driven a car while intoxicated or in a drug-induced haze? Have
you ever been arrested for driving under the influence of a substance?
11. Have you been drunk or high more than four times in the past year?
12. Do you need to resort to alcohol or drugs in order to do something
(start the day, work, have sex, or socialize, for example) or to change how
you feel (sad, scared, anxious or angry), to banish shyness or bolster
13. Do you notice you have an increased need for more alcohol or more of
your drug of choice in order to feel high?
14. Do you sometimes feel uncomfortable when you have to be somewhere
where no alcohol or drugs will be available? When drinking or drugging
with other people, do you keep going when everyone else has had enough?
15. Are most of your friends or acquaintances people you drink or get high
with? Do you try to avoid other friends and family when you’re drinking
or using drugs?
16. Has your drinking or drug use led to conflicts with your friends or family
members? Do you regularly hide alcohol or drugs from those close to you
so that they will not know how much you are using?
17. Have you ever thought that your life might be better if you didn’t drink or
use drugs, or that life as it is just isn’t worth living?
18. Are you taking illegal drugs?
If you find the answer is “yes” to even two or three of the questions above, you should seriously consider the possibility that your drinking or drug use is a problem. Answering “yes” to three or more may indicate a dependency.
NOTE: The questionnaire above is for educational purposes only and does not provide a diagnosis of alcohol or drug abuse or addiction. It is not a substitute for a full evaluation by a healthcare professional, and should only be used as a guide to understanding your alcohol or drug use and related health issues.
Symptoms of chemical dependency
The preceding questions represent some of the symptoms of chemical dependency. Generally speaking, chemical dependency is the repeated use of a physical substance (alcohol, cocaine, marijuana, prescription drugs) that causes trouble in the user’s personal, professional or family life. When a chemically dependent person drinks or uses, they can’t always predict when they will stop, how much they’ll drink or use, or what the consequences of their drinking or drug use will be.
Do you have a problem?
Maybe you have a problem, and maybe you don’t. If you do, the odds are good that you’re denying it. Denial of the negative effects of alcohol or drugs in their lives is another usual symptom of chemical dependency.
What to do
Recognizing that there is a problem is the first step toward recovering from problem drinking or drug use. If you think you might have a problem, here are some steps you can take:
- Acknowledge the problem openly.
- Seek professional help from doctors or therapists who deal with alcohol/drug problems
and recovery. You might benefit from counseling or a recovery program at a hospital
or private clinic.
- Avoid time spent with people who encourage alcohol/drug use, or who believe that a
drinking or drug problem is a problem of weak will.
- Seek out the support of people who are recovering themselves. Many 12-step
programs are available, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.
Contact your EAP
If you think that you or a family member might have a problem with alcohol or drugs, contact your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for CONFIDENTIAL counseling, referrals or information. EAP counselors are specially trained to help you get the right kind of help for a problem with alcohol or drugs.
Problem drinking or drug use can happen to anyone. The key is to recognize the problem early and seek professional assistance. Taking steps as soon as possible can help reduce the painful consequences that almost always come with excessive drinking or drug use. If you need help, why not call an EAP counselor today? We’re here to help you.
National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD)
Provides information, help and guidance for those seeking help for alcohol or drug abuse, including information for parents, youth, people in recovery, family and friends.
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
Here you can learn more about Alcoholics Anonymous or find an AA meeting near you.
Al-Anon Family Groups
Al-Anon groups are support groups for spouses, parents, family members or friends of people with an alcohol or drug problem. Here you can learn more about the Al-Anon program or find an Al-Anon meeting near you.
Narcotics Anonymous (NA)
Narcotics Anonymous is a recovery and support program for those seeking to overcome active addiction and live drug-free productive lives. Here you can learn more about the NA program or find an NA meeting near you.