Maybe you have an uncle who always drinks "more than he should."
Maybe your dad tries to keep alcohol away from your mom because she gets really
angry or cries a lot when she drinks. Maybe you've seen an adult smoke pot and "become
somebody else." These are all warning signs of addiction or a really serious drug
or alcohol problem. Find out what addiction is and how to spot it around you.
What is Addiction?
Addiction means being dependent on a substance, thing or
activity. Examples include alcohol, drugs, video games or gambling. An alcoholic
or drug addict needs that substance to feel physically OK and to feel emotionally
"normal." Addiction is an illness — not a moral "weakness."
What Are the Signs?
Although substance addiction may be different for any given
person, there are some telltale signs of addiction. Express your concern to your
friends or family member if he or she…
needs drugs or alcohol to have fun — they don't just like
to have a few beers at a party, they need a few beers so they can feel comfortable
at a party or social situation.
uses the substance to deal with emotions like anger or disappointment.
needs the substance to feel "normal" — they feel uncomfortable
in their own skin until they have that drink or drug. It makes them like themselves
uses the substance when they're alone.
gets worried if they think they can't get it or won't have
can't say no — they use the substance even when they don't
needs to have it a lot (two to three times a week or more).
needs more of it to get the same effect because they’ve "built
can't stop — for example, an alcoholic wouldn't be able to
stop drinking once she started.
deny they have a problem and make up excuses. Denial is a
dangerous thing because it keeps people from getting help.
What Can You Do?
This information is important so you can reach out to an
adult you trust for help or make smart choices for your personal wellbeing to prevent
addiction. If there are people in your family who have problems with alcohol or
drugs, it increases the chances that you'll have problems, too. Rather than falling
into the same trap, you’ll know better. And you can point them in the right direction
to get help.
For additional help, talk to a trusted adult and contact
one of these specialists:
For free information and other resources on alcoholism: Substance
Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration at
National Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependence (NCADD)
For free, confidential meetings in every city as well as
literature and support: Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) www.aa.org.
Free, confidential meetings in many cities for teens who
have to deal with alcoholics. Also, literature and support: Alateen
Alcohol/Drug Abuse Referral Hotline 800-ALCOHOL (800 252-6465)
Find the signs of addiction and read helpful information at BeingGirl.com.