Home HealthTopics Health Centers Reference Library Research
Join us on Facebook Join us on Facebook Share on Facebook

Addiction and Substance Abuse

Am I ok

02/05/2004

Question:

I am a 49 yr old female who has been drinking heavily for 35 yrs. Never in the am , just start after work. It used to be everynight and in the last yr it is only 2 times a wk. Once I start I can`t stop. I did not drink for 15 days and I didn`t feel any different. Why didn`t I go thru withdrawl. I still enjoy drinking on Friday night but I have no desire to drink during the wk. The thought of it makes me sick. I am basically a light beer drinker, wine, and sometimes (very rarely mix drinks. What do you think /thanks

Answer:

Hello,

Without a more detailed history, I can only guess that you didn`t go from every night to 2 times a week abruptly. I would assume that you gradually cut back. From only drinking 2 times a week to none for 15 days, I wouldn`t expect physical withdrawal. You don`t have to drink daily to be alcoholic. The intermittent loss of control in spite of consequences coupled with your apparent higher tolerance is sufficient as long as there is at least one other consequence. This can be health as in alcoholic liver disease, anemia, etc., or legal, relationships, job, financial, etc.

You might want to go to the website (www.netwellness.org/healthtopics/substanceabuse/) and read the initial info distinguishing between alcohol abuse and dependency. We only see withdrawal and organ damage in the late stages of withdrawal. Most alcoholics can quit without any significant withdrawal symptoms.

If I can be of further help, let me know. I would advise no alcohol in the future.

For more information:

Go to the Addiction and Substance Abuse health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Edna M Jones, MD, MRO Edna M Jones, MD, MRO
Emeritus Clinical Assistant Professor of Family Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University