Substance Abuse

Alcoholism and/ or Drug Dependency are major problems in this country affecting 10% of the population, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

As defined by The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence:

"Alcoholism is a primary, chronic disease with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations. The disease is often progressive and fatal. It is characterized by continuous or periodic: impaired control over drinking, preoccupation with the drug alcohol, use of alcohol despite adverse consequences, and distortions in thinking, most notably denial."


  1. Appears intoxicated or hung over
  2. Deterioration of physical appearance and grooming
  3. Shakiness, tremulousness
  4. Unpredictability, strange behavior, inappropriate behavior
  5. Withdrawal from responsibility
  6. General changes in overall attitude
  7. Overwhelmed easily, unable to manage emotions, emotional outbursts, overreacts
  8. Aggressiveness or becomes withdrawn
  9. Forgetfulness, poor concentration, short attention span, "blank spots" in memory
  10. Loses sense of humor, misinterprets situations, loses sense of perspective
  11. Becomes suspicious and distrustful
  12. Loses touch with reality at times
  13. Loss of intellectual sharpness, creativity, business acumen
  14. Becomes indecisive, confused
  15. Change in weight
  16. Frequent medical visits
  17. Frequent absence and inability to account for whereabouts during work day, misses deadlines, appointments
  18. Legal, family, social, medical problems


  1. Needs a drink to relieve stress
  2. Quickly drinks or gulps down several drinks to "loosen up"
  3. Availability and consumption of alcohol becomes the focus of social or professional activities.
  4. Individual becomes erratic, temperamental, irritable, difficult to get along with
  5. Misses deadlines
  6. Chronic lateness
  7. Quality of work deteriorates
  8. Quality of presentations deteriorates
  9. Poor business judgment
  10. Trouble making decisions
  11. Misses work on Mondays and Fridays
  12. Frequent medical leaves of several days duration
  13. Missing during the middle of the workday
  14. Odor of alcohol when around individual, especially on breath
  15. Shakiness, trembling hands in the morning
  16. Frequent trips to hospitals, medical providers
  17. Increase or decrease in weight
  18. Changes in skin appearance, including flushed skin on nose and cheeks
  19. Repeated injuries, bruises, cuts & scrapes, limping
  20. Repeated complaints of fatigue, lack of energy, inability to concentrate, headache
  21. General "run down" appearance
  22. Legal difficulties

Stimulants (cocaine, methamphetamine and others):

  1. Dry mouth and nose, bad breath, frequent lip licking, teeth grinding, body tremors.
  2. Excessive activity, difficulty sitting still, lack of interest in food or sleep.
  3. Irritable, argumentative, nervous, extreme moodiness.
  4. Talkative, excited speech and incessant talking but conversation often lacks continuity; changes subjects rapidly. "Grabs spotlight" during presentations, meetings
  5. Runny nose, cold or chronic sinus infections, nose bleeds.
  6. Use or possession of paraphernalia including small spoons, razor blades, mirror, little bottles of white powder and plastic, glass or metal straws.
  7. Euphoria, expansive mood
  8. Chronic financial difficulties in spite of more than adequate compensation
  9. Progressively aggressive or violent behavior, unusual temper tantrums
  10. Increased physical or sexual activity
  11. False sense of confidence and power
  12. Purposeless, repetitious behavior
  13. Compulsive cleaning, grooming, sorting, disassembling

Depressants (barbiturates and tranquilizers):

  1. Symptoms of alcohol intoxication with no alcohol odor on breath (slurred speech, stumbling gait, droopy eyes, etc.)
  2. Lack of facial expression or animation
  3. Flat affect
  4. Flaccid appearance
  5. Slurred speech

Opiates (painkillers, heroin, and morphine):

  1. Euphoria, tranquility, apathy, and impaired judgment. (Although the initial effects are generally calming or dulling, psychomotor agitation and aggressiveness can occur).
  2. Excessively active, frantic or lethargic, drowsy, nods off during meetings
  3. Slow breathing
  4. Very pale and sweaty or extremely thirsty
  5. Small, "pin prick" pupils
  6. Nausea
  7. Frequent itching and scratching
  8. Red and raw nostrils (sign of sniffing)
  9. Wears long sleeves even when inappropriate (sign of injecting)

Do you know an attorney or are you an attorney who may need help?

Substance Self-Test


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