St. Luke's Hospital
Located in Chesterfield, MO
Main Number: 314-434-1500
Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Find a Physician Payment Options Locations & Directions
Follow us on: facebook twitter Mobile Email Page Email Page Print Page Print Page Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size Font Size
America's 50 Best Hospitals
Meet the Doctor
Spirit of Women
Community Health Needs Assessment
Home > Health Information

Multimedia Encyclopedia


    Deciding to quit drinking alcohol

    Many people with drinking problems cannot tell when their drinking is out of control and controlling their life. Knowing what type of drinker you are may be the first step.

    • Alcoholism is present in when your body depends on the alcohol to function and y our drinking is causing problems with your health, social life, family, or job. This means you are addicted to alcohol.
    • Alcohol abuse is when your drinking is causing problems, but you are not physically addicted to alcohol.

    Talk with your health care provider about your drinking. Your health care provider can help:

    • You decide whether or not you are abusing alcohol or are dependent on alcohol (“an alcoholic”)
    • Guide you to the best treatment

    Are You Ready to Change?

    You may have tried to stop drinking alcohol many times in the past and feel you have no control over it. Or you may be thinking about stopping, but you're not sure you're ready to start.

    Change takes place in stages over time. The first stage is being ready to change. You can learn from each of these important stages

    • Thinking about the pros and cons of stopping drinking
    • Making small changes and figuring out how to deal with the hard parts, such as what to do when you're in a situation where you would normally drink
    • Stopping drinking
    • Living an alcohol-free life

    Many people go back and forth through the stages of change several times before the change really lasts. Know what you will do if you slip up. Try not to be discouraged.

    Talk about your drinking with your health care provider, an alcohol counselor, your family, or your friends. Weigh the pros and cons of quitting with them.

    Lifestyle Changes That Can Help

    These tips will help you control your drinking:

    • Stay away from people you normally drink with or places where you would drink.
    • Plan activities you enjoy that do not involve drinking.
    • Keep alcohol out of your home.
    • Follow your plan to handle your urges to drink. Remind yourself why you decided to quit.
    • Talk with someone you trust when you have the urge to drink.
    • Create a polite but firm way of refusing a drink when you are offered one.

    Getting Help from Others

    After talking with you about your drinking, your health care provider will guide you to a program to help you quit drinking.

    Your health care provider will:

    • Ask if your feelings are making you drink
    • Help you figure out what else about your life may be causing you to drink

    The next step will be a referral to an alcohol support or recovery program.

    • These programs teach people about alcohol abuse and its effects. They also offer counseling and support about how to stay away from alcohol.
    • A support group where you can talk with others who have drinking problems is a key part.

    Other places where you can find support are:

    • People who are willing to listen and help. This may include trusted family members or friends who don't drink.
    • Your place of work, which may have a program where you can seek help without needing to tell anyone at work about your drinking
    • Alcoholics Anonymous (AA):

    Alcohol Withdrawal

    You may be at risk for symptoms of alcohol withdrawal if you stop drinking suddenly.You will likely need to be under medical care while you stop drinking if you are at risk for alcohol withdrawal.


    Bush K,Kivlahan DR,McDonellMB,FihnSD, Bradley KA. The AUDIT alcohol consumption questions (AUDIT-C): an effective brief screening test for problem drinking. Ambulatory Care Quality Improvement Project (ACQUIP). Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test. Arch Intern Med. 1998; 158(16):1789–1795.

    In the clinic. Alcohol use. Ann Intern Med. 2009 Mar 3;150(5).


          A Closer Look

          Talking to your MD

            Self Care

            Tests for Deciding to quit drinking alcohol

              Review Date: 6/11/2012

              Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.

              The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

              A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Fire Fox and chrome browser.

              Back  |  Top
              About Us
              Contact Us
              Locations & Directions
              Quality Reports
              Annual Reports
              Honors & Awards
              Community Health Needs

              Brain & Spine
              Sleep Medicine
              Urgent Care
              Women's Services
              All Services
              Patients & Visitors
              Locations & Directions
              Find a Physician
              Tour St. Luke's
              Patient & Visitor Information
              Contact Us
              Payment Options
              Financial Assistance
              Send a Card
              Mammogram Appointments
              Health Tools
              My Personal Health
              Spirit of Women
              Health Information & Tools
              Clinical Trials
              Health Risk Assessments
              Employer Programs -
              Passport to Wellness

              Classes & Events
              Classes & Events
              Spirit of Women
              Donate & Volunteer
              Giving Opportunities
              Physicians & Employees
              For Physicians
              Remote Access
              Medical Residency Information
              Pharmacy Residency Information
              Physician CPOE Training
              St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
              Copyright © St. Luke's Hospital Website Terms and Conditions  |  Privacy Policy  |  Notice of Privacy Practices PDF  |  Patient Rights PDF Sitemap St. Luke's Mobile