Young people having issues with substance use may display similar types of behaviour, however it is important to remember that the underlying issues can be complex and will vary from person to person.
Using alcohol or drugs to deal with personal problems is an incredibly common motivation. If someone you know is struggling with personal issues and has increased their alcohol consumption or drug use in hopes of distracting themselves from their troubles, this is a worrying sign. Let your friend know you’re there if they need to talk to someone, reassuring them that you care. It may be worth talking to them about why they're using and discussing the underlying issues that may be triggering the substance use, or you could recommend they give us a call on the YSASline 1800 014 446 for a confidential chat.
If you find that they attempt to hide or play down how much they drink or use drugs, and how often, this may be a sign of a developing problem. Commonly, young people struggling with substance dependence find it incredibly hard – or impossible – to set themselves limits and stick to them.
If they are regularly experiencing blackouts (he or she is unable to remember large chunks of a night out), this could be a sign they have a risky relationship with alcohol.
Often someone with a substance dependence issue will become detached from things they once found entertaining, engaging or interesting. If they lose all interest in their studies, sport, or social activities that don’t involve drugs or alcohol, these can all be indicative of a drinking problem or drug issue.
Ultimately, it’s up to the individual to identify that they may have a problem and address their high-risk use of drugs or alcohol. However, support groups exist for those concerned about their loved one’s substance use. Seeking these out could help you gain a better understanding of the at-risk individual’s behaviour and assist you in coping with the effects on your own life.