What are the warning signs regarding alcohol use?
They relate to consequences of drinking - is the use of alcohol affecting the person’s health, their relationships, causing problems at work or with the law? Do they do things after drinking which they would normally regard as unacceptable behaviour? Do they forget large aspects of what they did when drinking? Are others challenging them about their drinking, and do they resent those challenges?
What about other drugs?
Alcohol is the favourite mind-altering drug in our society, and the one with the greatest overall impact on aviation safety. But the warning signs referred to above are similar for other drugs, and relate to the consequences of using the drug. There is a wide range of additional risks associated with other recreational drugs.
Is it really an illness?
The past view that it was simply a moral failing or poor will-power, is not supported by science. Substance dependence has been classified as an illness for decades, and there is a large body of genetic and medical evidence to support this view.