Alcohol addiction

Many of us use alcohol for enjoyment, but for some of us, drinking can become more than social, safe and fun. Dangerous use or overuse of alcohol can arise for many reasons and unfortunately, the consequences can be serious; physically and psychologically. Alcohol addiction can be understood and treated using a variety of approaches.

Signs of an alcohol addiction

Alcohol is addictive. Some warning signs that you or someone you know have an addiction are:

  • You do not feel right without a drink or need a drink to start the day
  • You get very shaky, sweaty, and anxious/tense a few hours after your last drink
  • You regularly drink more than you intend to
  • You need to drink more and more to get the same effect
  • You try to stop, but you find you can’t
  • You try to control or stop, but find you can’t
  • You get ‘memory blanks’ where you can’t remember what happened for a period of hours or days
  • You find that your drinking has increasingly become a coping mechanism

If you are worried about your drinking or a friend’s drinking, tell them – they need to make changes as soon as possible. It is much easier to cut back before drinking problems damage your health than it is once they are out of hand.

You may find that you have been using alcohol as a way of handling stress, anxiety or depression, without realising that the use of alcohol is compounding and exacerbating these symptoms. A psychiatrist or a psychologist may be able to help you find ways of overcoming these worries that do not include relying on drink.

How much alcohol is too much?

You can count units, 14 units per week for both women and men – but a far simpler measure is that if alcohol is causing problems in your life, then you have a problem. It will not get better of its own accord, it will get worse, so seek the specialist help you need now.

Treating alcohol addiction at Nightingale Hospital

Our approach to treating alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction includes individualised treatment programmes with therapies based on current clinical evidence. You may attend as an outpatient, day patient or inpatient.


We treat alcohol addiction using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, known as CBT, Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET), Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) and Twelve-Step Facilitation (TSF). We consider biological, psychological and social factors in our alcohol addiction programmes.

We also treat any co-existing conditions such as depression, anxiety etc. If detoxification from a chemical or substance is required we have experts in this field to carry out specialist detoxification as the first stage of treatment.

Alternative therapies

Through therapy, education on alcohol abuse and relapse prevention and alternative approaches such as mindfulness, sleep therapy, relaxation techniques, nutrition and physical therapies, we aim to give you the knowledge and coping skills for living without depending on alcohol.

Family support groups

Those nearest to the sufferer often blame themselves, going through a range of emotions from despair, depression and guilt to anger and frustration, leaving them exhausted and having difficulty coping, as well as feeling powerless in how to deal with the situation.

Research has shown that the involvement of families in the treatment process greatly increases the prospects of a person’s recovery.

Addiction monthly free family day

Our addictions family day takes place once a month and is led by addictions and family specialist therapist. It consists of two groups.

One group is for family and partners only. It will offer them education in not only how to deal with the addicted person, but also how to safeguard themselves in this difficult situation. This can allow you to help your loved one in a healthy way while still being able to lead your own life.

The other group is to bring together the families and partners and the addicted person. It gives the addicted person the opportunity to learn how their addiction has affected family members and partners. It gives a forum for them both to express their thoughts and feelings.

Addiction weekly family free support group

Family support groups are aimed at families, partners and friends of people suffering from an addiction problem. When these problems arise, it can have a devastating effect on those who are close to the person. The Family Support Group is there for so that you do not have to go through this alone.


Avoiding relapse is the greatest challenge so we offer to step down programmes, individual counselling and free aftercare to sustain motivation against alcohol abuse.

Free telephone consultation

We offer a free telephone consultation to determine if alcohol addiction treatment and rehabilitation would be right for you or a loved one. Complete the form below and a member of our expert addictions team will be in touch to arrange an appointment.

“When you have a problem and you drink, take drugs or gamble, the problem won’t go away. Stay and tackle the problem”