Welcome to New Life Counselling

Warning Signs of Adult/Teen Substance Abuse

Sometimes it is tough to tell if a friend or a loved one has a problem. Most people won't walk up to someone they're close to and ask for help. In fact, they will probably do everything possible to deny or hide the problem. But, there are certain warning signs that may indicate a family member or friend is using drugs and drinking too much alcohol.

If your friend or loved one has one or more of the following signs, he or she may have a problem with drugs or alcohol:

  • Deterioration of physical appearance and grooming.
  • Fatigue, run-down, sleeping in, hung over in mornings, repeated health complaints, red and glazed eyes and a lasting cough.
  • Personality change, sudden mood changes, easily irritated,
    general changes in overall attitude, irresponsible behavior,
    poor judgment and a general lack of interest.
  • Feeling hopeless, depressed or even suicidal.
  • Unusual flare-ups or outbreaks of temper.
  • Starting arguments, breaking rules, or withdrawing from the family.
  • Living a hotel/motel existence.
  • Decreased interest, negative attitude.
  • Abrupt changes in work or quality of work, /grades, absences, and discipline problems.
  • Promises to straighten out but unable to keep commitments.
  • Withdrawal from responsibilities.
  • Suspension and warnings from work/school for an alcohol-or drug-related incident.
  • New friends who are less interested in standard home and school activities, problems with the law, and changes to less conventional styles in dress and music.
  • Unusual borrowing of money from family & friends.
  • Stealing small items from employer or home. Secretive behaviour regarding actions and possessions.
  • Poorly concealed attempts to avoid suspicion such as frequent trips to storage rooms, restroom, garage and basement.
  • Lying about things, or the amount of drugs or alcohol they are using.
  • Giving up activities they used to do such as sports, hobbies, stop socializing with non-using friends.

Many of the signs, such as sudden changes in mood, difficulty in getting along with others, poor job, irritability, and depression, might be explained by other causes. Unless you observe drug use or excessive drinking, it can be hard to determine the cause of these problems. Parents/loved ones may recognize signs of trouble but should not be expected to make the diagnosis. Your first step is to contact a qualified alcohol and drug professional who can give you further advice.

At New Life Counselling we have developed a comprehensive assessment system that will determine if, and to what degree, chemical dependency is a problem in a persons life.
In addition consulting a physician to rule out physical causes of the warning signs is a good adjunct to our assessment. This should often be followed or accompanied by a comprehensive evaluation by a psychiatrist or mental health professional.

To see if a problem exsits, please try the drug and alcohol assesments.


New Life Counselling   4211 Yonge Street Suite 302, Toronto, Ontario     416-939-0074    info@newlifecounselling.ca