Skip to Content
Need Help Now?
YOU ARE HERE: Home > Youth > Health Hacks > Alcohol Use > Risk Factors
Services Map button
Self-Checks button
Links and Resources button
Risk Factors

As mentioned, some factors can put you at increased risk of developing alcohol problems. These factors don't automatically mean that you might develop a problem, but they do increase the risk that this could happen. Some of these factors may include:

  • A family history of alcohol or other substance abuse problems;

  • Difficulty coping with or managing stress and other problems;

  • Problems at home;

  • Having an untreated anxiety, depression or other mental health disorder;

  • Difficulty fitting in at school, at work or with a peer group; and

  • Experiencing a stressful life change or traumatic event

  • Alternating between periods of abstinence and binge drinking,

  • Being unfamiliar with the effects of alcohol, putting you at risk for injury and alcohol poisoning.


When does alcohol become a problem?

Any of the following signs may indicate that you or someone you know may have a problem with alcohol. You may find:

  • Your drinking is increasing, and the number of drinks you have on any one occasion is growing;

  • You’re drinking more frequently;

  • You’re doing things when using alcohol that you are not happy with or proud of, or you feel like you have to hide from people;

  • You have difficulty cutting down on or controlling your drinking;

  • You’re relying on alcohol to help escape from your worries or problems;

  • You’re using alcohol as the main source of your entertainment and fun;

  • You’re spending a lot of time getting alcohol, using it or recovering from it; or

  • You’re having problems at school, work or in relationships as a result of your drinking.

If you can say “yes” to several of these statements, alcohol may be a problem for you – consider visiting “Getting Help” or go to “Need Help Now?”.


Getting help

Seek emergency help immediately if you are having suicidal thoughts, or thoughts of harming yourself or others.

You should also seek help right away if you:

  • Have depressive thoughts along with your alcohol use;

  • Feel that you behave differently when using alcohol;

  • Are experiencing prolonged trouble sleeping;

  • Have heard from family and/or friends that they believe your alcohol use is a problem; or

  • Have tried self-help efforts (such as cutting down), but they haven’t helped.

  • Anytime you find someone unconscious after using alcohol (health and safety first)