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.
Warning signs of 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 women and 21 units for 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.
Our treatment approach for alcohol addiction
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.
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.
Avoiding relapse is the greatest challenge so we offer step down programmes, individual counselling and free aftercare to sustain motivation against alcohol abuse.
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- Dr Ian Nnatu View profile
- Dr Michael Craig View profile