How To Help A Friend

What do I do if I think I have a problem or my friend has a problem with alcohol or drugs?

To help someone you know who you think may have a substance use problem, you first need to get them screened. Your best bet is to talk to a trusted adult such as a school counselor, someone from your faith community or a parent, who can help find a licensed substance abuse counselor or family therapist.

Above the Influence, How to Help a Friend

Signs of Addiction

You might see signs in an addicted person but not others. These are signs which occur across many (but not necessarily all) addictions:

  • Extreme mood changes – happy, sad, excited, anxious, etc.
  • Sleeping a lot more or less than usual, or at different times of the day or night
  • Changes in energy – unexpectedly and extremely tired or energetic
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Unexpected and persistent coughs or sniffles
  • Seeming unwell at certain times, and better at other times
  • Pupils of the eyes seeming smaller or larger than usual
  • Secretiveness, lying, stealing
  • Financially unpredictable, perhaps having large amount of cash at times but no money at all at other times.
  • Changes in social groups, new and unusual friends, odd cell-phone conversations
  • Repeated unexplained outings, often with a sense of urgency
  • Drug paraphernalia such as unusual pipes, cigarette papers, small weighing scales, etc.