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

How will Alateen Help Me?

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.