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If you know the illness or disorder you are trying to find, search for the illness or disorder.

If you're not sure what the problem might be, review our list of symptoms to see if any of them sound like you or your loved one.

Common symptoms of substance abuse problems

If you aren't sure what the problem might be, review this list of typical symptoms to see if any of them seem familiar. This is not an accurate diagnostic tool, but can provide a rough indication of where you should alcoholism or abuse:

Denial that an alcohol problem exists is common. Alcohol abuse can occur without physical dependence.

Alcohol abuse symptoms include:

  • Repeated work, school or home problems due to drinking
  • Risking physical safety
  • Recurring trouble with the law, often including drinking and driving
  • Continuing to drink despite alcohol-related difficulties

Alcohol abuse often progresses to alcohol dependence. Symptoms of alcohol dependence include:

  • Craving a drink
  • Unable to stop or limit drinking
  • Needing greater amounts of alcohol to feel the same effect
  • Withdrawal symptoms if alcohol is stopped, including:
    • Nausea
    • Sweating
    • Shaking
    • Anxiety
    • Increased blood pressure
    • Seizures
  • Giving up activities in order to drink or recover from alcohol's effects
  • Drinking that continues even when it causes or worsens health problems
  • Wanting to stop or reduce drinking and not being able to

You or your loved one may have a drug abuse or addiction problem:

Denial that a drug problem exists is common. Drug abuse can occur without physical dependence.

To definitively diagnose drug abuse, the symptoms must have lasted for at least 12 months. They include:

  • Repeated work, school, or home problems due to drug use
  • Continued use of drugs even though it means risking physical safety
  • Recurring trouble with the law related to drug use
  • Continuing to use drugs despite drug-related problems in personal relationships

Drug abuse often progresses to drug dependence. Symptoms of drug dependence include at least three of the following:

  • Craving for the substance
  • Inability to stop or limit drug use
  • Tolerance, taking greater amounts to feel the same effect
  • Withdrawal symptoms that occur when the drug is stopped
  • Significant amounts of time trying to acquire drugs and recover from their effects.
  • Giving up activities in order to use drugs or recover from the effects
  • Drug use continues even when it causes or worsens health and/or psychological problems
  • Wanting to stop or cut down and not being able to