Substance Abuse and Addiction - When to Call a Doctor
Call 911 or other emergency services if you or someone else:
- Has the symptoms of
alcohol poisoning. These can include vomiting,
coughing up blood, gasping for breath,
passing out, and
- Has a
history of heavy drinking and is having severe
withdrawal symptoms but is not willing to get
delirium tremens (DTs), which can lead to death.
Symptoms can include
seizure, shaking, a fast heartbeat, and seeing or
hearing things that aren't there (hallucinations).
- Is thinking or
suicide or harming others. For more information, see
the warning signs of suicide.
Call a doctor right away if you or
someone you care about:
- Has withdrawal symptoms, such as
confusion and trembling.
- Agrees to be seen for possible treatment.
You need to call right away, because people who agree to get help often don't
follow through with making the appointment.
- Has stopped drinking but starts drinking again (has a
- Has severe stomach pain.
Call a doctor if you're concerned that you or someone you care about may have an alcohol problem. To learn what to look for, see Symptoms.
Watchful waiting is a
wait-and-see approach. Watchful waiting is not a good choice for alcohol abuse and dependence.
If you have concerns about
your drinking or the drinking of someone you care about, talk to your
doctor. Early treatment makes recovery more likely.
Who to see
Health professionals who diagnose and treat alcohol problems include:
professionals who can help with recovery include:
Find a health professional who has chemical dependency
certification (CDC) or is a certified alcoholism counselor (CAC).
Support groups can also help you and your family:
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or similar support groups
are for people with alcohol abuse or dependence.
- Al-Anon and Alateen
(for teenagers) are for families and friends affected by someone's