Drug And 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.

How Does This Link To The MyMynd Assessment?

If your indicator for alcohol and drug abuse was in the at-risk 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 listed below.

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 at-risk, 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.

Some indicators are linked more closely than others. For example alcohol and drug abuse 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.

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 nice 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. 

Emergency Helplines



Call: 0300 123 660 

Website: talktofrank.com


(Mon-Fri: 9am-8pm, Sat-Sun: 11am-4pm)

Call: 0300 123 1110

Website: drinkaware.co.uk 

Alcoholics Anonymous


(10am-10pm, Daily)

For family and friend’s of those affected by alcohol abuse

Call: 0800 0086 811

Website: al-anonuk.org.uk

We Are With You

For over 50s

Call: 0808 801 0750

Website: wearewithyou.org.uk

Narcotics Anonymous


Call: 0300 999 1212

Website: ukna.org

Download List Of Helplines

Online Meetings

Smart Recovery


Website: smartrecovery.org.uk

Gay & Sober

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.

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.