Should You Talk to Someone About a Drug, Alcohol, or Mental Health Problem?

Substance use and mental health problems are treatable, and help is available. Many people struggle with both a substance use and a mental disorder.

These questions can help you decide whether you need help with substance use, a mental health issue, or both. For people who suffer from both, receiving treatment for both is important for getting better. Treatment works: Recovery starts with understanding that you may have one or both of these problems.

  • Over the past 2 weeks, have you felt down, depressed, or hopeless?
  • Over the past 2 weeks, have you felt little interest or pleasure in doing things?
  • In the past year, have you had significant problems with insomnia, bad dreams, or falling asleep during the day?
  • In the past year, have you thought about ending your life or had thoughts about suicide?*

*If you have had thoughts of not wanting to live, or harming yourself or anyone else, talk to someone immediately or call 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) NOW.

  • In the past year, did you have a hard time paying attention at school, work, or home?
  • Have you ever felt you should cut down on your drinking or drug use (use less alcohol or drugs)?
  • Have people annoyed (irritated, angered, etc.) you by criticizing your drinking or drug use?
  • Have you ever felt bad or guilty about drinking or drug use?
  • Have you ever taken a drink or a drug first thing in the morning (an eyeopener) to steady your nerves or get rid of a hangover?

In the past, have you ever:

  • (for men) had 5 or more drinks in a day?
  • (for women or anyone over age 65) had 4 or more drinks in a day?
  • used recreational or prescription drugs to get high?

Unless you answered “never” to all of the above questions, talk to your doctor, a nurse, or a counselor about the details. They can help you decide what to do next. They may also help you find more information and resources.

A better, healthier life may be closer than you think.