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Warning signs of someone becoming dependent on alcohol? Help please.

(8 Posts)
FABBYDABBY Wed 22-Nov-17 22:59:38

Posting here for traffic as I’ve tried “chat” but no replies. Name changed for obvious reasons.

Growing up, my sister has a few mental health issues. The main issues my sister had through her teens and 20s were eating disorders. She got through it but would then fall back into it. At one point, she stopped drinking alcohol as if she drank alcohol she’d end up binging and purging at the end of the night. Instead of just stopping drinking though, she replaced it with taking cocaine, as that didn’t have the same effect. When she told me all of this I did my best to help her see sense, that she was substituting one problem for another. As far as I know, she stopped doing that.

Anyway, quite a long while down the line, I realised that she was drinking quite a lot. She was sort of embarrassing herself at family events and anyway she ended up blurting out that she’d drank every day for the last 3 months. She seemed depressed at that time. I told her to try to quit alcohol for a spell, even a few weeks or a month to give her body a break. She looked at me in disbelief and said she really didn’t think that was necessary, she’d just cut back. She quit smoking a number of years ago and she has now started again. At the last family event we were at, she told me during the day that she wasn’t going to drink much on both nights of the trip, but she ended up wasted.

I feel like maybe she has an addictive personality or something and I’m just a little worried about how she’s been acting recently. Do you think any of this is a cause for concern or am I blowing this out of proportion. Thank you.

FABBYDABBY Thu 23-Nov-17 01:54:33


samesh1tdifferentday Thu 23-Nov-17 04:59:48

Hi well done for posting your sister is in turmoil by the sounds of it ( I’ve been there) unfortunately you can’t do much other than be there which it sounds as if you are.
When you struggle with MH. anything which takes your mind away for a while is nice but not obviously good once the substance wears off and makes it ultimately worse in the morning.
When you are in deep as she is it’s hard to see another way. Has she seen the doctor or nurse?
I found keeping occupied in other ways helps. I was always worse when alone with my own mind racing. It may be a long road but she has you keep going.

Peanutbuttercheese Thu 23-Nov-17 09:16:52

Your sister is obviously self medicating in different ways to try and tolerate being alive. Really she needs professional help, you may or may not know the reasons behind her substance misuse. I'm not asking you to share her story by the way.

The problem with addictions is the person themselves needs to want to stop so you telling her will make no difference at all.

Does she have anything in her life such as a job or partner. I feel that she may sadly have had something happen to her when younger that is hidden. One of my sisters has MH issues it turned out she had been abused as a child. Nothing known at all until she was an adult in her late twenties when she had her first MH incident. It was a rather cataclysmic one and she ended up as an in patient. It did at least mean she had MH services involved. My beautiful sister will never quite live the life she should have and could have. Tolerance amongst our sibling group has always been quite varied, I have argued on her behalf to another sibling for many years who seemed to think our poor sister could choose to be better or just not do the things she does.

Give your sister understanding and help her get to the root of the actual issue that is causing self medication. Read up on addictive behaviours and MH issues.

copingish Thu 23-Nov-17 09:19:12

Can you get her to open up about her feelings, get her to the GP?

FABBYDABBY Thu 23-Nov-17 10:14:52

See all of the incidents I’ve written about are spaced out time wise and she seems to go through phases in between these lows where she is on a bit of a high (although I believe that to be almost a front). If it was one incident after the other, I’d be more concerned than I am, but I am still worried and think you’re right that she’s self medicating somehow. She has a good career and friends. I just worry that she could be on a bad road but struggle to find the best way to support her. At the moment she’s acting as if she’s on a high, although she was consuming huge amounts of alcohol this weekend. I don’t live near her which makes it more difficult to get a bigger picture of what’s going on.

FABBYDABBY Thu 23-Nov-17 10:56:46


copingish Thu 23-Nov-17 12:16:49

Sorry OP this sounds awful and you are clearly worried about her. Have you googled 'how to help someone who has a problem with alcohol...'? I'm sure I head there was a helpline or something recommended a few weeks ago as it was alcohol awareness week.

Can you try to see her more often / call and check in with her regularly?

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