The Counselling Centre

Alcohol and Substance Use/Abuse


Alcohol and Substance Use/Abuse

University encourages independence and experimentation with new identities and ideas - which are normal and healthy parts of young adulthood.

However, with this brings the complex task of figuring out your relationship with drugs and alcohol. The choices that you make regarding your alcohol and drug use can have a significant impact on your grades, relationships with friends and parents, physical health, and safety. In addition, your parents’ or relatives’ use of alcohol or drugs may have already impacted your life.

How can I tell if I have a problem with drugs or alcohol?

You may have a problem with drugs or alcohol, if:

  • You can't predict whether or not you will use drugs or get drunk on any given night
  • You believe that in order to have fun you need to drink and/or use drugs
  • You turn to alcohol and/or drugs after a confrontation or argument, or to relieve uncomfortable feelings
  • You drink more or use more drugs to get the same effect that you got with smaller amounts
  • You find yourself in unplanned sexual situations after drinking
  • You drink and/or use drugs alone
  • You encounter financial problems because of your drinking or drug use
  • You have trouble at work or in school because of your drinking or drug use
  • You make promises to yourself or others that you'll stop getting drunk or using drugs but are unable to follow through

How can I tell if a friend or a loved one has a problem with alcohol or drugs?


Alcohol and Substance Use/Abuse

Sometimes it is hard to tell. 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 that 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:

  • Getting high on drugs or getting drunk on a regular basis
  • Lying about the amount of drugs or alcohol they are using
  • Avoiding you and others in order to get high or drunk
  • Giving up activities they used to do such as sports, homework, or hanging out with friends who don't use drugs or drink
  • Having to use more illicit drugs to get the same effects
  • Constantly talking about using drugs or drinking
  • Believing that in order to have fun they need to drink or use drugs
  • Pressuring others to use drugs or drink
  • Getting into trouble with the law
  • Taking risks, including sexual risks and driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs
  • Feeling run-down, hopeless, depressed, or even suicidal
  • Suspension from school for an alcohol- or drug-related incident
  • Missing work or poor work performance because of drinking or drug use

Remember that many of the signs such as sudden changes in mood, difficulty in getting along with others, poor job or school performance, 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.

If you are worried about yourself or someone you care about, your first step is to contact a qualified alcohol and drug professional in your area who can give you further advice.

Getting Help

Addiction Services and Al - Anon have people who know a great deal about alcohol dependency, about all the hurt and anger you may be feeling. They can talk with you about alcoholism and your feelings, so you can handle the problem in the best way possible.

Addiction Services 902-461-1119

Alcoholics Anonymous: 902-461-1119