What is addiction?

There are a lot of different ways to talk about drugs and alcohol use, but they have the potential to cause problems when things go unchecked. Here’s a look at the different types associated with behavioral health.

Substance Use: This includes tobacco, alcohol, and drugs (legal or illegal).

Substance Misuse: Using legal substances in an unhealthy or improper way, causing harm to ourselves and/or those around us.

Addiction or Substance Use Disorder: This is a disease which affects a person's brain and behavior. This leads to them not being able to control the use of drugs (legal or illegal).

What does an unhealthy relationship with drugs or alcohol look and feel like?

Some people will use drugs or alcohol at some point in their lives, either for fun or as prescribed by a doctor. In most situations this will not lead to problems, but some people can start misusing them and even become addicted to drugs or alcohol over time.

Different drugs have different dangers attached to them. Drug use can lead to dependence and addiction, injury and accidents, health problems, sleep issues, and other things. This can impact our lives in a lot of ways.

Signs of a problem with drugs or alcohol may include:

  • Low performance at school or work
  • Changes in physical health such as a lack of energy, bad coordination, tremors, or changes in how hungry someone is or how much they need or want to sleep.
  • Sudden changes in behavior like who people hang out with and what they do. People who are addicted may become more secretive about where they are spending time and who they’re hanging out with.
  • Mood swings, irritability, or depression
  • Unusual hyperactivity, agitation, or giddiness, often followed by low motivation
  • Unexplained fear, anxiety, or paranoia

Other changes in behavior related to drug or alcohol use can include:

  • Increased use of drugs or alcohol while hiding the fact they use them
  • Using drugs or alcohol even when it’s causing problems in relationships or other parts of life
  • Legal problems related to drug or alcohol use
  • High risk drug or alcohol use (i.e. driving while impaired or using drugs or alcohol while working)

When is drug or alcohol use a problem?

If you or someone you know is experiencing problems related to drugs or alcohol use it is a good idea to talk to someone about getting help. There are a lot of different ways to treat people who have a drug or alcohol addiction. This may include medication, support groups, detox, or therapy, among other things. While there are many ways to treat addiction, it all starts with an assessment.

Substance Use Treatment Programs

Resources for Problems with Drugs and Alcohol

Help Lines

988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline 24/7 free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24/7.

Help Lines

Behavioral Health Services Navigation Line

When you call the Intermountain Behavioral Health Services Navigation line, you can expect to talk to someone who can help you access your needs and connect you with the right resources.

Intermountain Services

Dayspring Treatment & Recovery

Dayspring is an outpatient addiction treatment program that helps people recover from substance use disorder.

Intermountain Services

Connect Care: Behavioral Health

Connect Care virtual appointments can be done anywhere in Utah, Idaho, or Nevada using your smartphone, tablet, or computer.

Intermountain Services


COMPASS is a government-funded program to help patients with addiction or substance abuse get the treatment they need.


Live On

Live On provides resources for those struggling with suicidal ideation or other mental health concerns.


National Institute of Mental Health

Learn more about substance use disorder and associated mental disorders.


Treatment Locator

The Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator sponsored by the Subtance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration can you help you anonymously seek behavioral health treatment anywhere in the United States.


USARA (Utah only)

USARA’s mission is to connect and inspire communities to advocate for addiction recovery. We envision a Utah where recovery community and connection are recognized as the most valuable assets for people to recover from addiction.

Mobile Apps

myStrength App

For self-guided mental health, access myStrength for free with registration code MYHEALTHPLUS. Download the app on Apple App Store/Google Play or: