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People who are having alcohol or drug problems often try to hide the symptoms and play down the extent of their problem. Watch out for the following warning signs that something may be wrong.


  • Bloodshot eyes, small or large pupils
  • Changes in appetite or sleep patterns
  • Deterioration of physical appearance and personal hygiene
  • Shakes, slurred speech, or clumsiness.




  • Unexplained change in personality or attitude
  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Periods of unusual hyperactivity, agitation, paranoia or anxiety
  • Lethargic or ‘spaced out’ appearance.



  • Reduced performance or attendance at work/study
  • Financial problems, borrowing money
  • Secretive or suspicious behaviour
  • Sudden change in friends and social activities.

If you notice any changes like this it may be that the person is having problems. If someone is having problems often the first step to getting help is support from a friend, a family member, or a colleague. You may be nervous about raising the issue, but if it means they get help sooner it will be worth it.