Most of us have probably been affected by friends who have been drinking heavily at one time or another. They may disrupt your sleep, mess up the bathroom, or pass out on your couch. It can be inconvenient, annoying and scary.
How much is too much?
Moderate Drinkers drink slowly and know when to stop drinking. They usually eat before they go out, and while they are out. These drinkers do not drive after drinking, do not interfere with others' choices not to drink, and they know and obey the laws related to drinking. They and are at low risk for drinking-related consequences.
Problem Drinkers frequently drink to get drunk, drink when they should not be drinking (before work, before class), and try to solve their problems by drinking. They are likely to experience personality changes and can harm themselves or others while drinking.
How to intervene?
More than likely, you're not comfortable confronting your friend if they are a problem drinker, or maybe you have a problem with drinking, also. Use an assessment tool like eCHUG to determine if you or your friends are high risk drinkers.
When you talk to your friend, keep in mind that your friend will not want to hear lectures or blame. Keep an open mind, and keep it conversational. Be clear that you care about the person and your friendship but that you dislike their drinking behavior and the situation. Say "I'm worried about you because drinking this much seems to be causing problems for you" or "I'm upset about your drinking because the bathroom is a mess every weekend and I can't get a decent night's sleep."
Choose to drink in moderation, and ask your friend(s) to join you in sticking to that goal. You can help your friend by limiting your own drinking and planning non-alcohol related activities.
Get the facts. Contact the CASE Peer Educator Team for more information about the effects of alcohol. Contact Counseling Services or Student Health Service if you or a friend needs professional assistance.
Signs of Alcohol Poisoning
A person who shows any of the following signs may be suffering alcohol poisoning and should receive immediate, emergency medical attention. Don't hesitate to call 911 -- you may save a life. The signs of alcohol poisoning are:
- Vomiting while sleeping
- Mental confusion, coma, stupor, person cannot be roused
- Slow or irregular breathing
- Low body temperature, bluish skin, paleness
- Not responding when someone pinches their skin