What to Look For

Many young people will drink alcohol and do not develop problems. However, if someone starts when they're young and uses it on a regular basis, they are putting themselves at risk.

In addition to starting young, there are other factors which put a person at increased risk of developing alcohol problems. These factors don't mean that a person will automatically develop a problem, but they do increase the risk.

These include:

  • Family history of alcohol or other substance use problems
  • Difficulty coping with or managing stress and other problems
  • Problems at home
  • Having an untreated anxiety, depression or other mental health condition
  • Difficulty fitting in at school, at work or with one's peer group
  • Having a stressful life change or experiencing trauma

Alcohol may be becoming a problem when you...

  • Find that your drinking is increasing - the number of drinks you have on any one occasion is increasing or you're drinking more frequently
  • Have difficulty cutting down or controlling your use
  • Rely on alcohol to help you escape from worries or problems
  • Use alcohol as your main source of entertainment and fun
  • Spend a lot of time getting alcohol, using it or recovering from it
  • Have problems at school, work or in your relationships as a result of your drinking

Effects of Alcohol

Concerned About a Friend?

Often friends notice changes that may signal an emerging alcohol use problem. For information on how to support a friend, visit Concerned About a Friend's Alcohol or Drug Use?.