Using alcohol or drugs regularly is usually just a step away from addiction (where you depend on these substances to feel good or get through your day).
Here are a few warning signs that someone may have a substance abuse problem:
relying on drugs or alcohol to have fun, forget problems, or relax
drinking or using drugs while alone
withdrawing or keeping secrets from friends or family
losing interest in activities that used to be important
performing differently in school (such as grades dropping and frequent absences)
building an increased tolerance to alcohol or drugs — gradually needing more and more of the substance to get the same feeling
lying, stealing, or selling stuff to get money for drugs or alcohol
It’s usually hard for people to recognize they have a problem, which is why friends or family often step in. Quitting is hard to do, and many people find they can’t do it without help. The best thing you can do is to talk to someone you trust — preferably an adult who can support you — so you don’t have to deal with your problem alone.
Lots of resources are available for people with substance abuse problems. Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous offer information and recovery programs for teens. The Alcohol and Drug Information hotline is (800) 729-6686 .