Signs of Substance Misuse or Abuse

Top Three Indicators of Risk for Alcoholism

     
  • Family History
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  • High Tolerance
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  • Blackouts


Medical Signals

     
  • Accidents and injuries
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  • Passing out (unconsciousness)
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  • Gastritis
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  • Emergency room visits
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  • Nausea and vomiting
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  • Mysterious bruises
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  • Blackouts (memory loss)
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  • Frostbite
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  • Hangovers

 

Academic Signals

     
  • Academic failure
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  • Not living up to one’s academic potential
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  • Missed classes
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  • Difficulties with deadlines or procrastination
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  • Scheduling afternoon classes to accommodate late night drinking

 

Sexual Signals

     
  • Impotence in males
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  • Unintended pregnancy
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  • Wearing “beer goggles”
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  • Sexual assault
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  • Delayed orgasm in men and women
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  • Failing to use safer sex techniques
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  • Contracting a sexually transmitted disease
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  • Inability to resist an unwanted sexual advance
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  • Sexual activities that are contrary to one’s values

 

Social Psychological Behavioral Signals

     
  • Loss of self-respect
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  • Personality changes
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  • Mood swings
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  • Paranoia
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  • Embarrassment or guilt
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  • Driving under the influence (no arrest)
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  • Causing emotional pain to friends or loved ones
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  • Problems with legal or university authorities
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  • Property damage
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  • Social isolation and withdrawal
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  • Depression
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  • Panic and unexplained fears
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  • Fights and arguments
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  • Arrests for driving while intoxicated

 

Drinking Behavior

     
  • Alcohol focused recreational activities
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  • Drinking to feel more confident in social situations
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  • Gulping drinks (especially the first few)
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  • Drinking before a drinking event (pre-game)
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  • Drinking more than one intended to drink
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  • Inability to carry out an intention to “cut down”
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  • Inability to predict how much one will consume
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  • Inability to predict one’s behavior when drinking
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  • Spending substantial amounts of money on alcohol
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  • Relieve anxiety, insomnia, pain, or depression
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  • Finding excuses to drink
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  • Preoccupation with the next drink or drinking event
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  • Annoyed or angry when one’s drinking is discussed
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  • Family or friends concerned about one’s drinking
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  • Drinking again soon after becoming sober
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  • Drinking alone, sneaking drinks, hiding bottles