Substance misuse harms a person’s health. Dependence occurs when there is physical and/or psychological addiction, and the person will have withdrawal symptoms if they do not use the substance. Their lives are dominated by getting and using the substance. People use many sorts of substances. These can be legal (alcohol, tobacco, and solvents), or illegal (cannabis, heroin and cocaine). Some prescribed drugs are addictive (e.g. diazepam). Substance misuse and dependence is increasing in the UK, especially among the young.

Who is a carer?

A carer is someone who, without payment, provides help and support to a partner, child, relative, friend or neighbour, who could not manage without their help. This could be due to age, physical or mental illness, addiction or disability.

The term carer should not be confused with a care worker, or care assistant, who receives payment for looking after someone.

A young carer is a child or young person under the age of 18 carrying out significant caring tasks and assuming a level of responsibility for another person,which would normally be taken by an adult.

Anyone can become a carer; carers come from all walks of life, all cultures and can be of any age.

Many carers do not consider themselves to be a carer, they are just looking after their mother, son, or best friend, just getting on with it and doing what anyone else would in the same situation.

Carers don’t choose to become carers: it just happens and they have to get on with it – if they did not do it, who would and what would happen to the person they care for?

For more information, help and advice for carers visit If you are caring for an adult with alcohol and / or drug issues, contact us to see how we can help.