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How do I know I have a problem with alcohol or drugs?

28 Answers
Last Updated: 01/10/2022 at 6:29am
1 Tip to Feel Better
United Kingdom
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Tara Davis, Doctorate in Counselling Psychology


I have worked successfully with a wide range of difficulties. Nothing is more important than developing a warm, compassionate relationship with someone you can trust

Top Rated Answers
April 30th, 2015 7:54pm
Sometimes it's difficult to know whether your alcohol and drug use is a "problem" or whether or not you're an "addict." It might be easy to say, "I can quit any time I want," but if you continue to use drugs despite harmful consequences, that's a good indication that you might have a problem with drugs or alcohol. If you've found yourself hanging out with different friends, feeling careless about your appearance, doing worse at school or work (skipping classes or shifts), losing interest in your hobbies, getting in trouble with the law.. it might be a good idea to speak to a medical professional.
November 17th, 2014 12:28pm
If you are asking this question, then you probably do have a problem. People who don't have substance abuse issues generally don't spend time worrying if they have a problem, but if you are concerned about it, something must be telling you there is an issue.
September 15th, 2014 2:55am
When it starts interfering with your life. Your work, your friendships and financially. If you begin to use alcohol as a way to help with, for example, anxiety, this can soon lead to a habit, and then an addiction. If you find yourself 'needing' alcohol or drugs, rather than using them recreationally, then the individual should consider seeking help. Unfortunately, many with alcohol and drug problems are in denial. Admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery.
October 28th, 2019 10:52am
the problem arises when you have to lie and convince yourself that what you are doing is not wrong, you start making excuses to yourself and realise that you are a bit too lenient in this matter. you start to think of it as a reward for yourself. furthermore it has become a problem when after you sober up you realise that you are loathing your being and your decisions however when given the opportunity you still allow yourself that leniency. when it has started to affect other work and you feel like functioning without it has become impossible.
November 2nd, 2014 4:53pm
Whenever alcohol or drugs effect your life in a negative manner you should find a listener to better understand your addiction and help you guide you through what the general problem is.
November 2nd, 2014 9:34pm
If you consume alcohol or drugs to forget you problems or as a way to cope with things and do that in excessive amounts, it could indicate you have a problem with it. Alcohol should be consumed to have fun, but if you aren't able to have fun without it, that's also a sign. Same goes for binge drinking: it happens to everyone. Most people have drunk too much once in their lives, but if you always end up black out drunk, it's not healthy anymore and could also indicate a problem. Finally, ask yourself whether you'd be able to go a week without drugs/alcohol. If the answer is no, you could have a problem
November 3rd, 2014 6:35am
A problem arises when you depend on a substance in order to have a good time or to feel comfortable. If you can't be around others or can't be alone without some substance then you may have developed a problem with said substance.
December 20th, 2014 8:19am
I would know I had a problem with them if they consumed my mind on a minute by minute basis. They would be interfering with my everyday life.
December 23rd, 2014 10:19pm
There are several red flags for a substance problem. If you think your substance abuse may be negatively affecting you and those around you, it is time to ask yourself if you see any of these warning signs. First, alcohol or drugs are becoming more important to you than your interpersonal relationships. This may involve alienating others or shunning friends or family who want you to stop using. Second, your alcohol or drug use is becoming more important to you than your health. This can include your psychological, physical, or emotional well being. If drugs or alcohol are compromising any of these things, it has probably become a problem. The third warning sign that your alcohol drug use is problematic is that you stop using to feel good, and start using in order to not feel bad. This is the characterizing quality of the addiction stage of a substance problem. Lastly, and most importantly, if you see your alcohol or drug use as a problem, then it is definitely a problem. Do not let anyone tell you you're being dramatic or weak by attempting to address it.
January 2nd, 2015 10:45am
I would say you have a problem with drugs or alcohol when it starts impacting your life in any negative way whether it be financially, ie. Missing work and the like, or starting to affect relationships in your life. If it is causing a negative impact in your life it is a problem and help should be found within yourself or professionally.
May 5th, 2015 12:55am
In addictions counseling, we use what is called WART: With Alcohol Repeated Trouble. If you have more than one legal issue that is related to drugs/alcohol, then you may want to consider seeing a treatment provider. Plus if you are asking yourself this question, you are probably in the pre-contemplation stage of change. " I think I may have a problem, but not sure if I need help yet."
June 4th, 2015 6:34pm
You usually know you have a problem with alcohol or drugs once you start to crave and need it. Once you can't go further without it. Then you have a problem.
June 22nd, 2015 1:32am
You have a problem if it becomes something more important in your life versus other things. If you do them at high frequency and interval, there is an issue. Drugs altogether are an issue, but honestly, some are fine in moderation.
September 7th, 2015 11:24am
Well usually you'll crave them or feel empty when you haven't consumed them in a while. Just little hints can show you whether you have a problem or not.
December 7th, 2015 2:39pm
If you are asking this question, more than likely you have a problem. If you are wondering whyyou hide the drink or drug, why others seem to put down their last hit or drink before it is done and you can't seem to, you are embarrassed or are getting in trouble with the law, it is time to seek help. If others around you seem more distant, your thinking has become more and more distorted or you feel you are sinking in emotional distress, please seek help. I am here for you as well to support you on your way.
March 5th, 2016 12:13am
One of the first clues is that you think about quitting but promise you will do it later. If you find yourself thinking that you can't function without help then you might have a problem The good news is that it is repairable. Getting sober and staying sober is a goal you can reach.
March 19th, 2016 1:31pm
You know this when your body takes more your tolerance is low and you start to take more to try to find the first ever experience of the drug also you will no you have a problem when you can't leave it go with out if you know you have changed in your self appearance to if you realize you have and are addicted go to you doctor or local rehabilitation to ask for help but don't be scared to get help that's what they are there for good luck
April 24th, 2016 3:35am
1. You are asking 2. If it creates a mess in the family,yourself,finances,and your social community Stay Strong
May 14th, 2016 2:37am
When you needs drugs or alcohol to function every day then you may have a problem with drugs or alcohol. It's a problem when you need them every single day.
June 27th, 2016 11:58am
This can be hard one to tell if you're not in the right group of friends. Most true friends will tell you honestly if you already have these problems. All you need to do is accept criticism positively and ask for help.
July 25th, 2016 11:23pm
You can find that out either by the fact that you use it too often or by the fact that it is more important to you than some other things like school, work, family etc
July 27th, 2016 9:51am
When you start to use alcohol/drugs regularly and begin to plan how to get more for yourself
August 22nd, 2016 8:07pm
When it starts interfering with your life. Your work, your friendships and financially, If you find yourself needing alcohol or drugs more than you normally do you have an addiction. You cant live without drugs or alcohol.
August 23rd, 2016 7:29pm
Try to quit them and then see how you and your body reacts, if you do find out that you have a problem, you can always find help.
September 11th, 2016 3:29pm
If your use is causing problems YET you continue to do it it is like having a friend who only hurts and embarrasses and alienates you but still inviting them over. The average person would walk away from a friend like that as would a person who does not have a problem with drugs or alcohol would walk away when it hurt them or their loved ones
April 23rd, 2019 6:59am
Basically if you cannot go a week or two without touching your chosen escape, it's become a problem and should be addressed. It's okay though, start small. The biggest thing is just to start small and be aware of what you feel when you use. Eventually, you might find that there are other things you might wish to do with your time, things that better you and put you more in line with where you'd like to be in your life. Many people get to a place like this, and it's nothing that can't be handled without a little effort and some hard work.
June 2nd, 2020 2:35am
I would begin to examine how you function day to day with and/or without these in your life. What would a day in your life look like if you did not drink or smoke? What would a week look like if you went without them? A month? If you find yourself unable to resist temptation from them I would think that would be a time to question if you have a problem to deal with. If certain things in life occur that trigger you and cause you to reach for them as a comfort or a crutch, that could also be a warning sign that they are holding too large of a presence. I believe the fact that you are asking such a question, demonstrates that you carry a concern with the amount that you are ingesting of either product. Take steps to better yourself and keep away from the temptations that they bring forth if possible! Best of luck!
January 10th, 2022 6:29am
If you are struggling without them, you should look into this. You should not feel dependant on any substance to survive or to just "get by." Your energy alone should be enough to get you by and your emotional intelligence should get you through the difficult times. If it cant alone, then seek out help from someone who will be able to help you! Professionals are available all over the world. The internet is an amazing (and can also be dangerous) place. If you are constantly needing alcohol to get by or get through things, you may have a problem and should seek help.