Drug & Alcohol Abuse

What Is Drug/Alcohol Abuse?

There are many reasons we might initially try alcohol or drugs, e.g. curiosity, peer pressure, stress or difficulties at home or at work. However, drug or alcohol use can quickly turn into abuse which isn’t something we should take lightly.

Drug or alcohol abuse occurs when these substances are used excessively or in the wrong way. Abusing drugs or alcohol can be detrimental to our physical and mental health and, in severe cases, it can be life-threatening. Both of these substances alter how we think, feel and act, often resulting in diminished interest, failure to meet obligations, loss of control and relationship issues.

It is important to become aware of potential substance abuse as early as possible, before it turns into an addiction. Early recognition of symptoms increases the chances for successful treatment. 

Note: the information provided in this module is not designed to diagnose you but rather to demonstrate the consequences of drug/alcohol abuse and to point you in the direction of relevant resources to help you if you are struggling right now.

What Is An Addiction?

A drug or alcohol addiction is a serious condition where a person cannot stop using a substance, despite the harm it causes them. Often, this is done to avoid uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. The person may be unaware of, or deny their addiction and go to great lengths to hide it from their loved ones.

It is important to remember that no one ever plans to become an addict. Addiction is a serious health condition that heavily impacts how someone thinks, feels, and acts. By the time they realise that they have a problem, the drugs or alcohol may have seized control, making the person unable to stop using on their own.

If you have tried to cut back on your own and weren’t able to, you may want to try other options and look at our helplines.

Note: videos depict scenes containing alcohol and/or other drugs, so if that is something that triggers you, you might want to decide not to watch them.

Government Guidelines

For many legal substances, such as alcohol or nicotine, it is difficult to draw the line between use and abuse. People have differing opinions and beliefs on what is and isn’t acceptable and different countries have different legal rules surrounding the use of alcohol and other drugs.

The UK government publishes guidelines for ‘low risk drinking’, produced by the four chief medical officers. These provide the most up-to-date scientific information and are intended to help us make informed choices about our own alcohol consumption.

Click here for a brief summary of the report. They advise to drink no more than 14 units a week on a regular basis. This is the equivalent of 6 pints of beer or 6 medium glasses of wine a week. 

How Does This Link To The MyMynd Assessment?

If your indicator for alcohol and drug abuse was in the high concern range following your assessment it means that you may be experiencing problems with alcohol and/or drug use. You may currently be using either or both of these substances excessively or in the wrong way. You may be experiencing trouble sleeping, diminished interest, failure to meet your obligations and/or relationship issues. You may be unable to stop using the substance, even though you want to. If this is the case, we recommend that you SEEK MEDICAL HELP from your GP as soon as possible. If you cannot wait to speak to your GP then please contact one of the helplines or local support organisations that you can find below. 

Looking Back At Your Assessment Results

It is also important to consider that all of the indicators in the MyMynd assessment are fundamentally linked. This means that whether your score for alcohol and drug abuse is a high concern, optimal or somewhere in between, there are various tools that you can use to enhance your resilience and increase your coping ability. Take some time to revisit the Wellness Centre and look through all of your individual indicator scores.

The alcohol and drug abuse indicator is closely linked to hope, happiness and social relationships. By working on improving your scores in these areas you will be better equipped to handle adversity and may also start to see improvements in other areas as a result. 

Looking after your mind is just as important as looking after your body and the tools we provide are designed to help you do that. 

Get Help Now

If you need emergency help, find helplines here

If you need local help, find services nearby

Call Someone Now

Frank (24/7)

Call: 0300 123 660     Email: frank@talktofrank.com      Website: talktofrank.com

Accessing Support Services


If you would like to access further support or discuss any concerns with a qualified addiction counsellor, the organisations below provide self-referral options for various rehabilitation and recovery services.

What is FRANK?

FRANK is a national drug-advisory service which was jointly established by the Department of Health and Home Office of the British Government in 2003. Its aim is to reduce the use of both legal and illegal drugs by providing information, support and advice on the potential effects of drug and alcohol misuse.

FRANK has a network of local and national support services that provide counselling and treatment across the U.K.

They also provide friendly, confidential advice via their 24 helpline and text services which you can access here.

To find your local FRANK service, click the button and follow the instructions.

Finding support in your area

1. Click on the button to open the FRANK service finder. Enter your postcode and select the type of service you are looking for from the drop down menu provided. 

3. Click 'search' - you will be presented with a list of all the services in your local area that match your search criteria.

4. Read more about each service by clicking on the website links provided.

5. To book an appointment or inquire about service opening times, treatment options, capacity etc. please contact the service directly using the contact information provided.

What is Mind?

Mind is a mental health charity which provides advice and support to anyone experiencing mental health problems.

They have a network of approximately 125 local Minds across England and Wales offering specialised support and care directly to those who need it most. The types of support available through local Minds varies depending on location but services include: talking therapies, peer support, advocacy, crisis care and more.

The main Mind website also provides emergency advice and urgent coping tools for use in crisis situations. You can access these at anytime by clicking here.

To find your local Mind service and complete a self-referral form, click on the button and follow the instructions.


How to self-refer

1. Click on the button to open the local Minds service finder. Enter your postcode in the location search bar. Click 'find' - you will be presented with a list of all the Mind services in your local area. Click on the local Mind that is nearest to your home address and follow the link to their website.

2. Explore the website for counselling and other support service availabilities (this information can usually be found under a "how can we help?" tab although website layouts do vary between services).

3. Once you have identified the support services that are available to you, follow the on-screen instructions to complete a self-referral for the service that feels right for you - this may involve calling Mind directly, in which case a phone number will be provided, alternatively, you may be required to fill out an online referral form. The information you are required to give in order to complete the self-referral process may vary between services.

For online referrals, most services will contact you within 48 hours to confirm receipt of your referral and arrange an appointment with a wellbeing service worker - this contact will likely be a phonecall which may be displayed on your telephone as a private number.

What is the Hub of Hope?

The Hub of Hope is the UK's leading mental health support database, bringing a range of local, national, peer, community, charity, private and NHS mental health support services together in one place.

The Hub is a signposting service designed to guide people towards appropriate support for their individual needs/preferences. The Hub is available to everyone, not just those who are in crisis, and allows individuals to search for services tailored to their particular concerns.

There is also a section of The Hub dedicated to supporting friends, family members and support workers to find help for themselves, as well as for the person they are supporting.

To access the Hub of Hope and find support that is right for you, click on the "click here" button and follow the instructions.


How to use it

1. Click on the button to open the Hub of Hope service finder. Enter your postcode in the location search bar or click on the "click to find nearby services" button. You will then be presented with a list of all the mental health support services in your local area that are registered to the Hub of Hope.

2. Use the filter buttons at the top of the page to refine your results according to service type e.g. NHS/private sector/online & telephone support and area of concern e.g. anxiety/depression/carer and family support/crisis care/frontline staff etc.

3. Click on each service individually for further information on their exact location, opening hours and areas of expertise. Most services list their contact details alongside a link to their own website where you can find further guidance on how to book an appointment.

Additional Resources


Below are some links to helpful articles and videos that provide more information on the warning signs of drug and/or alcohol abuse as well as tips for managing symptoms.

We have also created an additional module on coping strategies that includes exercises and tools that can be helpful when you need to deal with stressful situations or difficult emotions. 

Note: videos depict scenes containing alcohol and/or other drugs, so if that is something that triggers you, you might want to decide not to watch them.

Substance Abuse Overview. An overview of substance abuse, including alcohol and illegal drugs, but also substances such as caffeine and nicotine.

Alcohol Misuse. NHS Guide on the short- and long-term risks of alcohol misuse and where to get help. 

Withdrawal. Explains withdrawal symptoms, causes, types and treatments.

Caffeine Addiction. Explains the negative effects that too much caffeine can have on us as well as symptoms and helpful tips.

5 Signs Of Alcohol Abuse. Tips on how to tell that someone might be abusing alcohol.

Addiction. Help Guide provides several blog articles on different types of addiction (gambling, smart phone, alcohol, smoking etc.) and their symptoms as well as guidance on how to help yourself and/or others.

Guide To Addiction Support. Mind provides information on where and how you can find support for addiction and dependency (for drugs, alcohol, sex, tobacco and gambling). 

Coping Strategies