Alcohol Abuse Awareness

By Cathy Walker

Valeo Behavioral Health Care


Did you know?

Alcohol Use Disorder is a chronic, progressive disease that if left untreated will worsen and may be deadly.  

Alcohol use often starts out in a social setting.  For some, a drink or two with friends and the ability to stop drinking for the day is possible.  For others, they can’t stop with just a drink or two. They continue to drink after everyone is gone.  The early stages of this are alcohol abuse. Mild alcohol abuse can easily be overlooked, however minor issues can turn dangerous over time.  That time varies from each individual. Early warning signs of abuse should not be ignored. If left untreated, alcohol abuse can spiral out of control very quickly.  When the abuse begins to negatively impact a person’s life and cause harm, it is seen as an alcohol dependency. Some of the most common symptoms of alcohol abuse are:

  • Short-term memory loss or temporary blackouts
  • Irritability and extreme mood swings
  • Making excuses for drinking; needing to relax, stressful day, experimenting, just want to “fit in,” etc.
  • Choosing drinking over dealing with responsibilities and obligations
  • Isolating from family and friends
  • Drinking alone
  • Changing appearance (unkempt, body piercings, tattoos, etc.) and change in peer groups

If you notice these symptoms, early intervention and treatment can make a significant difference in one’s recovery process.

When alcohol use progresses to dependency, the symptoms become more severe:

  • Loss of control over the amount and how often alcohol is consumed
  • Desire to cut down on drinking but the inability to do so
  • Withdrawal symptoms between drinking (vomiting, headaches, dizziness)
  • Feeling bad or guilty about drinking
  • Drinking first thing in the morning to get over a hangover
  • Continued use of alcohol, even though it leads to problems (loss of job, family conflict, legal issues)

Prolonged drinking can lead to issues affecting both personal and professional life. Excessive alcohol use can increase a person’s risk of developing serious health problems in addition to those issues associated with intoxication behaviors and alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

If someone in your family is living with an active alcohol use disorder, you and your family are not alone. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) found that more than 15 million Americans over the age of 18 were living with an alcohol use disorder and about 623,000 young people between the ages of 12 and 18 were struggling as well.

Valeo Recovery Center (VRC) in Topeka offers a 24/7 social detox program which can be obtained by calling 785-234-3448 to see if an individual meets the criteria and bed availability.  VRC also offers assessment, inpatient residential and outpatient treatment services. Individuals can contact 785-233-1730 extension 6380 to speak to admissions staff with any questions.


Valeo Behavioral Health Care   



Crisis Services

400 SW Oakley

Topeka, KS  66606

24 Hour Crisis Line           



National Suicide Prevention Life Line



Shawnee County Suicide Prevention Coalition


Family Service and Guidance Center  (18 and under)

325 SW Frazier            

Topeka, KS  66606

24 Hour Crisis Number



Healing after Loss to Suicide Group  (HeALS)

Sandy Reams – Group Facilitator



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