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University of Wisconsin-Green Bay

Counseling & Health Center

Signs of Abuse

If you are concerned about your own, a family member's or a friend’s alcohol or other drug use, the following information and resources may help you identify the signs of abuse and how to get help.

Warning Signs

  • Loss of control (inability to quit or cut back).
  • Increased use and increased tolerance for alcohol or other drugs.
  • Drinking or use of other drug becomes primary activity.
  • Failing to fulfill responsibilities: school, work and relationships.
  • Increased consequences associated with drinking and or drug use: legal and/or financial problems, health concerns, relationship problems, decreased academic performance.
  • Changes in a person’s personality, mood, hygiene, routine or social connections.
  • Becomes defensive or evasive when concern is expressed.
  • Secretive use.


Risks associated with the use and abuse of a variety of substances can be found by visiting our Resources section.

Danger Signs for Alcohol Poisoning

  • Mental confusion, stupor, coma or person cannot be roused.
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Slow breathing (fewer than eight breaths per minute)
  • Irregular breathing (10 seconds or more between breaths)
  • Hypothermia (low body temperature), bluish skin color, paleness.

What Should You Do if You Suspect Someone Has Alcohol Poisoning?

  • Watch for the danger signs of alcohol poisoning.
  • Do not wait for all symptoms to be present.
  • Be aware that a person who has passed out could die.
  • If there is any suspicion of an alcohol overdose, call 9-911 on-campus or 911 off-campus for help. Do not try to determine the level of drunkenness.
  • Turn the person on his or her side to prevent choking in case of vomiting.
  • Stay with the person until help arrives.

Getting Help

To determine the best campus, local, state or national resource to best assist you in finding information or help, go to the Resources section.