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Alcohol and Other Drugs

Alcohol: What to Look For

Learn about the thoughts, feelings, behaviours, and physical symptoms seen with problematic alcohol use. The symptoms listed below are likely to happen early and you may have other symptoms later on.

Find out more below to learn more about the symptoms of problematic alcohol use.



  • you need alcohol to have fun or to loosen up
  • you’re more interesting or fit in better when you’re drinking
  • you think you should cut down on your drinking


  • you get mad when people criticize your drinking
  • you sometimes feel guilty about your drinking

Physical Signs

  • you need to drink more to feel the effects
  • you’ve had blackouts


  • you use alcohol to escape from your worries or problems
  • drinking is causing problems with work, school, or in relationships
  • you’re drinking more alcohol or more often or are unable to cut down
  • you’ve stopped doing activities that were fun or important to you
  • you spend a lot of time getting alcohol, drinking, or recovering from alcohol

Not everyone has the same symptoms or symptoms at the same level. A person may be diagnosed with an alcohol problem when symptoms don’t go away, are very upsetting, or affect their life.

You can prevent problems from getting worse by knowing what symptoms to watch for and getting help.

Worried about a friend?

Friends are often the ones who notice a problem with alcohol use. To learn how to support a friend, see Helping Others: For Friends.​​​

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