Caring for someone with alcohol or substance misuse issues

Are you affected by someone else’s drinking or drug use? 

Talk to someone and find support

You may find it helpful to talk to someone about the caring you do and how this affects you and the help that may be available.

Start by contacting your local carer service. They will be able to offer you a range of support and some carer services have workers that specialise in helping people who care for someone with alcohol and/or substance misuse problems. They will give you a chance to talk to someone, find practical help and join support groups. 

Organisations that can help

There are also lots of organisations that may be able to help you: 

  • Adfam gives information, local support groups and helplines for anyone affected by someone else’s substance misuse. Adfam's guide for carers is a good starting point to help you answer these questions and more. 
  • Al-Anon Family Groups provide support to anyone whose life is, or has been, affected by someone else’s drinking, regardless of whether that person is still drinking or not.
  • Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is for people who need help with a drinking problem.
  • Frank has information about drugs and details of support.
  • Narcotics Anonymous (NA) supports people with a drugs problem.
  • National Association for Children of Alcoholics offers information, advice and support for everyone affected by a parent’s drinking.
  • Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol & Drugs (SFAD) provides support to family members and friends across Scotland who have been affected by the substance use of a relative or loved one. It provides information, help and support through a wide variety of resources including a helpline and message boards.
  • The Royal College of Psychiatry has a factsheet for carers about alcohol, drugs and addition. It includes advice on what sort of questions to ask.

Date revised: 10/07/2019