Alcoholism Treatment & Home Alcohol Detox

Alcohol and glasses of wine

Home Alcohol Detoxification (medically assisted withdrawal) or reduction of alcohol consumption

If you are concerned about your, or a loved one's, drinking, then contact us for specialist help and alcoholism treatment. Private Home Alcohol Detox under daily medical supervision for up to 10 days may be a suitable option if you are drinking up to 30 units daily, e.g. up to 13 pints of average strength beer, 3 bottles of wine, or a 70cl bottle of spirits. Needing to drink large quantities of alcohol on a daily basis to prevent feeling worse would suggest the development of alcohol dependence. During a home alcohol detox, you would need to have someone you trust staying with you. After initial screening for suitability, and a medical assessment with addiction psychiatrist Dr Iqbal Mohiuddin, a bespoke treatment and recovery plan is jointly agreed. Suitable home detox medications would be prescribed and could be delivered to your home at your convenience. Medications would minimise the distressing physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms when stopping alcohol, and also prevent potentially life-threatening withdrawal seizures and delirium tremens (please see below). Physical health checks, blood tests, and an ECG would always be recommended before starting a home detox or at least afterward.

One unit of alcohol is equivalent to 10ml or 8g of pure alcohol. You can work out how much alcohol is in your drink - based on its strength and size - by using the following equation:

  • strength (alcohol by volume or ABV) x the volume of the drink (in millilitres) ÷ 1,000 = the total number of units in your drink

So to find the number of units in a pint of 4% ABV beer, calculate:

  • 4 (ABV%) x 568 (ml) ÷ 1,000 = 2.3 units

 

Anti-craving medications such as Acamprosate (Campral) or Naltrexone can be prescribed after successful home alcohol detoxification to help prevent relapse and support long-term abstinence. AA 12-steps and SMART Recovery groups would be recommended to support and maintain abstinence in the long-term. It would be ideal to engage with a good quality private rehabilitation programme for 1-3 months to learn and reinforce how to live without alcohol and to learn relapse prevention strategies. As alcohol dependence is a chronic disorder affecting the body and mind, just like other chronic conditions it needs long-term management to prevent relapses. Please take a look at our Useful Links page for further alcohol rehabilitation resources and information.  

Daily drinking of more than 30 units of alcohol would suggest severe alcohol dependence and the need for residential detox and rehabilitation due to the greater risks of stopping alcohol. Suitable private inpatient admission could be arranged. Get in touch today if you need specialist help and treatment. We could assist and support you in cutting down your alcohol intake first to safer healthier levels. Nalmefene may be a suitable treatment option for the reduction of alcohol consumption in patients with alcohol dependence who have a high drinking risk without physical withdrawal symptoms, and who do not require immediate detoxification.

 

We have been successfully helping motivated patients to safely reduce their alcohol consumption, and also safely home detox. The demand for this private service continues to grow, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic. Boredom is often a trigger, as well as stress and anxiety. It is highly advisable to avoid putting off an intervention until you have hit rock bottom and lost everything, as often happens with alcoholism. Unfortunately, the vast majority of those who are alcohol dependent are in differing degrees of denial and hence do not seek the specialist help and treatment that they need.    

Do I need to cut down or stop drinking alcohol?

It can be helpful to consider your short and long-term costs of continued drinking financially, socially, mentally, and physically. Do you still enjoy alcohol healthily and socially? Have you or someone else thought that you should cut down? Have you felt guilty about your drinking? Have people annoyed you by criticising your drinking? Could you stop drinking alcohol safely, or do you need a drink first thing in the morning or later on in the day to steady your nerves?

Unfortunately, healthy and social drinking can slowly become unhealthy and anti-social in some people who are vulnerable and predisposed to harmful drinking. Your genetics and family history can play a large part in your risk. Daily drinking may be an early sign of alcohol dependence.    

Alcohol: our favourite drug

  • Alcohol is the UK’s favourite drug: UK household expenditure on alcohol has more than doubled to £19.9 billion in 2017, from £9.3 billion in 1985.

  • Most of us use it for enjoyment and relaxation as it's legal, readily available, culturally accepted, and often expected. However, for some of us, drinking alcohol can soon become a daily necessity and a serious problem.

  • Unfortunately, alcohol can cause much more serious harm than illegal drugs such as heroin and cannabis.

  • It's a tranquilliser, it makes us impulsive, and it's highly addictive.

  • It's the cause of many preventable hospital attendances and admissions, especially at the weekend.

Alcohol statistics

  • 7% of adults in England regularly drink over the Chief Medical Officer’s low-risk guidelines: less than 14 units per week for men and women with alcohol-free days.

  • In the UK, in 2015 there were 8,758 alcohol-related deaths (around 14 per 100,000 people). The mortality rates were highest among people aged 55-64.

  • In England, there are an estimated 595,131 dependent drinkers ("alcoholics"), of whom only 108,696 are currently accessing treatment (<20%).

  • Alcohol misuse is the biggest risk factor for death, ill-health, and disability among 15-49 year-olds in the UK.

  • Alcohol harms are estimated to cost the NHS around £3.5 billion annually.

  • While the price of alcohol has increased by 36% since 2005, it remains 60% more affordable than it was in 1980.

  • Statistics in 2020 have shown that the number of problem drinkers in the UK has doubled from around 4 million to 8 million people since the COVID-19 lockdown.

 

Problems with Alcohol

  • Many of these problems are caused by having too much to drink at the wrong time or place.

  • Alcohol affects your judgment, so you do things you wouldn't normally think of. It takes away your inhibitions.

  • It makes you less aware of risks and so more vulnerable.

  • You are more likely to have fights, arguments, money troubles, family upsets, or impulsive casual sex and unwanted pregnancies. 

  • Alcohol leads to accidents at home, on the roads, in the water, and on playing fields.

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Physical health problems with Alcohol

  • Being very drunk (acute intoxication) can lead to:

    • severe hangovers

    • stomach pains (gastritis)

    • vomiting blood (haematemesis)

    • unconsciousness

    • death

  • Chronic drinking can cause:

    • hypertension (high BP)

    • heart disease

    • stroke 

    • liver disease (cirrhosis)

    • pancreatitis and

    • increased risk of some kinds of cancer such as mouth, laryngeal, oesophageal, breast, and bowel cancers.

  • Even just 3 units of alcohol daily can increase the risk

  • However, it can reduce the risk of heart disease for men over 40 and women of menopausal age - but only if their drinking is very moderate: less than 2 units daily.

 

Mental health problems with Alcohol

  • Heavy drinking (more than 8 drinks per week) can cause and worsen depression and anxiety

  • Alcohol makes people lose their inhibitions and behave more impulsively increasing the risk of deliberate self-harm and suicide

  • Alcohol can cause memory problems and brain damage, e.g. Wernicke’s encephalopathy

  • Heavy drinking can cause paranoia, morbid jealousy, and hallucinations, and delusions (psychosis)

  • Heavy drinkers stopping alcohol suddenly can develop the medical emergency of Delirium Tremens (DTs) – psychosis, body tremors, and confusion. Urgent medical treatment is needed

  • Heavy drinking can adversely affect relationships with a partner, family, friends, and work.

 

Warning signs of Alcohol addiction (physical and psychological dependence)

  • You don't feel right without a drink or need a drink to start the day (“eye-opener”)

  • Get very shaky, sweaty, and anxious or tense a few hours after your last drink (physical withdrawal), or even life-threatening withdrawal seizures

  • Can drink a lot without becoming drunk (tolerance)

  • Need to drink more and more to get the same effect (tolerance)

  • Try to stop, but can't (due to withdrawal symptoms)

  • Carry on drinking even though you can see it's interfering with your work, family, and relationships

  • You get "memory blanks" where you can't remember what happened for a period of hours or days.

https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg100/chapter/Recommendations#acute-alcohol-withdrawal

https://alcoholchange.org.uk/alcohol-facts/interactive-tools/check-your-drinking/alcohol-units

https://jnnp.bmj.com/content/79/8/854.short

https://patient.info/doctor/CAGE-Questionnaire

https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/facts

https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/statistics-on-alcohol/2018/part-7#expenditure-on-alcohol-purchases

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/alcoholism-alcohol-abuse-funding-drugs-addiction-coronavirus-lockdown-b445410.html

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