Help a Friend

Think your friend has a problem? Don't ignore it. Review the warning signs below and don't hesitate to ask for help.

Warning signs

When drinking or other drugs interferes with school or work, leads to relationship problems, or results in physical harm, it could mean there is a serious problem.

Some potential warning signs:

  • Missing classes, work, deadlines or tests because of intoxication or hangovers
  • "Blacking out" or inability to remember things that happen
  • "Passing out" or becoming unconscious
  • Recurrent trouble with police or campus authorities
  • Loss of ability to predict and control when and how much one uses
  • Using despite knowing that use causes or worsens problems
  • Experiencing a change in personality while under the influence (e.g., belligerent, aggressive)
  • High tolerance
  • Frequently using alone or at inappropriate times

How to help

If you think your friend has a problem, you can help by:

  • Contacting someone like your Community Assistant, a professional in Health Promotion & Wellness or a CAPS counselor for tips on how to intervene.
  • Talking to the person when both of you are sober and neither of you are rushed.
    • Communicate your care and concern
    • Describe in specific, non-judgmental terms the behaviors that concern you.
    • Make a referral for help. See the Explore Your Use page and suggest they examine their habits through BASICS.
    • Follow-up to see how things are going.
  • Not enabling their behavior by pretending everything is ok, making excuses for your friend, taking on his/her responsibilities, etc.
  • Being attentive to your own needs and stress by talking with a trusted friend or a CAPS counselor about how this is affecting you.
If you would like to request a Fireside program on how to approach a friend you're concerned about, contact us.