Drug Dependency

2011/06/06 in Alcohol and Drugs

We’re glad you want to learn more about drug dependency because many people have some pretty strange ideas about it. One is that you can only get hooked on certain drugs, like heroin, uppers and downers — maybe hard booze. The fact is that any mood changing drug is potentially addicting.

We’re talking about beer, marijuana, prescription drugs, fume sniffing — any substance that changes the way you feel.

Another false belief most people have is that if they use drugs sensibly, they won’t get hooked. This is not always the case. What begins as infrequent drug use can progress into abuse and possibly dependence. The more often you use, the more you increase your potential for getting “hooked.” Some people are more likely to get hooked because of family history, and psychological and social stressors. Anyone, however, can become hooked on alcohol or drugs.

Often, the person who’s dependent on drugs is the last to know, or the last to admit there’s a problem. We’re going to list 10 things that describe the possible behaviors or attitudes of someone with a drug or alcohol problem. If you have any questions or concerns about the way you use drugs or alcohol – or are wondering if you’re becoming dependent, please read this list carefully. If three of the things we mention describe your situation, take a long, hard look at what you’re doing and where you may be heading. If more than three things seem to apply to you, the best thing you can do for yourself is to get help. We’ll talk about that in a few minutes.

Here’s the list:

1. Having friends and parents express concern about the way you use drug or alcohol and how it affects you.

2. Doing things that usually involve getting high or drunk, or getting uptight if something comes up that interferes with a planned high or drunk.

3. Getting further away from your non-using friends, or changing to heavy using friends, to feel comfortable about the way you’re using drugs or alcohol.

4. Always having reasons for drinking or taking the drug — having a bummer day, having a great day, feeling lonely, having fun with your friends, getting “hassled” by your parents.

5. Feeling that your work at school is not as good as it used to be, or that school itself is not as interesting.

6. Staying high or drunk continuously for a long period, like 24 hours at a time.

7. Thinking a lot about drinking or getting high — when, where and how, for example.

8. Feeling like you become a different person when you use – saying and doing things you wouldn’t normally do.

9. Increasing your use of a drug and combining it with others. For example, drinking more and more beer and smoking marijuana at the same time.

10. Getting into legal hassles because of the drug. For example, getting busted for possession of an illegal drug, or something you did while high.

If more than three of the things we’ve just mentioned describe your experiences with a drug, we suggest that you get help. You may have a problem.

Many people want to get help but don’t because they feel bad about admitting what’s happened to them. It takes real guts to admit you have a problem with drugs and to get help. Remember, drug dependency is like an illness. If you developed diabetes you wouldn’t blame yourself, but you would get medical attention. The same should be true if you discover yourself dependent on drugs. Try not to feel embarrassed or guilty. Problems in our lives can cause us to do things we wouldn’t ordinarily do. Turning to drugs can be the result of bad decisions made during a difficult time.

If you are dependent on drugs or alcohol and want to talk to someone confidentially, please call the Teen Hotline by dialing 2-1-1 or 954-567-8336 (TEEN.)

You are not alone. We are always here to listen and help you explore options.


Teen Tapes is produced by the University of Wisconsin, Madison.