1. Understanding Substance Use Problems and Addiction

Signs of substance use problems

Families are often the first to notice when something is wrong with a loved one. Some signs that substance use may be a problem include:

    changes in appearance, friends, personality and routine
    increased need for money
    increased or decreased sociability
    decreased or impaired communication
    decreased productivity and responsibility
    decreased trustworthiness and reliability
    impaired concentration, judgment and long-term thinking
    compromised values, ethics and standards

    increased social, legal, financial and work-related problems
    increased physical symptoms and health problems
    increased mental health problems
    denial, minimization or rationalization of use
    loss of control related to use
    pre-occupation with use
    smell of alcohol, smoke, marijuana
    increase in high-risk behaviours.

stressed out man

These are examples of signs you may be concerned about. It’s important not to judge your loved one based on these signs. Instead, if you are concerned, ask how they are feeling, and begin to learn more about substance use problems and ways you may be able to help.