Less than 24 hours before the well-documented punching incident at an N.Y.C. nightclub that got her arrested, Lohan was "dancing like crazy" past 2 a.m. at The Darby, at one point "causing a scene" when she thought she lost her phone, says an onlooker. "She even demanded that a girl at a nearby table empty her pockets."
The following night, Lohan appeared drunk, according to reports, before she allegedly punched Tiffany Mitchell at a Manhattan nightclub. She is due in court for the altercation on Jan. 7.
Simply put, Lohan, 26, continues to struggle with alcohol, says a friend. "She will fool people into thinking she's changed, but at some point in the night, she always snaps and it's always the same story," says the pal.
After the nightclub incident, Lohan's assistant Gavin Doyle Tweeted to the actress: "@lindsaylohan after bailing you out last night I HOPE and PRAY you get the help you so desperately need. We are ALL rooting for you. xxx."
Lohan is "out of control," adds a second source. "Her friends don't know what to do. She won't ever change."
Meanwhile, another source close to the actress denies that she has a problem and says that it's the "near constant criticism" that's taking a toll on her. "If everything you did was criticized, you'd lash out too," says the pal. "But she'll be fine, she's tough. She'll probably outlive everyone."
For now, Lohan is due in a Los Angeles courtroom on Dec. 12 for a hearing relating to a June 8 car accident that resulted in three misdemeanor charges, including lying to a police officer. Those charges normally wouldn't threaten jail time for a first time offender, but because Lohan is still on informal probation, those charges, combined with a possible assault, could land her in jail.
The last time the starlet appeared before L.A. Superior Court Judge Stephanie Sautner, the judge warned Lohan that she could face 245 days in jail if she slipped up again.
Reporting by KEN LEE, HOWARD BREUER and EMILY STROHM