Is your drinking becoming a problem?
- Have you tried to cut back on the amount of alcohol you consume?
- Are you increasingly happy to drink on your own, perhaps at home?
- Do you find yourself reaching for an alcoholic drink earlier in the day?
- Do you find that you are drinking more than you used to in order to get the same effects?
- Do you find that once you start drinking, you are unable to stop?
- Have you been drunk regularly in the past six months?
- Do you often wake up and find that you have little memory of the night before?
- Do you feel guilty for drinking, or you try to hide evidence of your alcohol consumption?
- Have you stopped spending time with your loved ones in favour of drinking?
- Has your drinking caused you problems at home or work?
- Do you suffer withdrawal symptoms such as feeling sick, shaking or sweating when you are not drinking?
- Do you spend most of your time drinking or recovering from drinking?
If you have answered yes to three or more of the above questions, you should consider calling or emailing Serena House today for an assessment of your problem.
What is alcohol addiction?
Alcohol is an accepted ‘habit’ for most of us. Having a drink after a hard day is something many of us look forward to – the idea that a drink can help us unwind and give a surge of pleasure and confidence - alcohol causes the brain to produce ‘feel good’ chemicals, or neurotransmitters, known as dopamines – is ingrained in our culture. But because drinking is pleasurable, and socially acceptable, it’s easy to forget it’s an extremely addictive substance, until it’s too late and you’re hooked.
The more you drink, the more your mind and body become tolerant to the effects of alcohol, so you start craving more of it to get the same buzz. And before you know it, those couple of glasses have become a bottle a night, which equates to about ten units of alcohol; and new government guidelines advise that both men and women shouldn’t be drinking more than 14 units per week.
Signs you’re addicted to alcohol
Alcohol addiction is an illness that develops slowly over time and those affected rarely realise they’ve got a problem. This means, it’s often up to a loved one or concerned friend or colleague to broach the subject, by which time the person is often already in the grip of addiction.
Alcoholism doesn’t conform to stereotypes, it can affect anyone at any time in their life. It can be triggered by a trauma, the pressures of work or an intense social life, illness or hereditary factors.
Why a medical detox from alcohol is important
Trying to come off a dependency on alcohol can be more dangerous than withdrawal from class A drugs like heroin. Dr Bruce Trathen, who is clinical lead at Serena House is an expert in alcohol addiction, explains that for those deep in the throes of addiction, it is very important to get medical support when stopping drinking.
“When the person is heavily alcohol dependent, the overactive brain state may be so severe that seizures and epileptic fits occur (discharged electricity in the brain).
“Fits can sometimes lead directly to death, and in other cases cause brain damage.”
The reason alcohol withdrawal is so dangerous is the body believes it is in a state of emergency as the alcohol leaves the body. It’s a bit like being in a state of shock. Your heart will hammer, you may sweat, your stomach may become upset, and you may suffer nausea and vomiting.
However, carrying on drinking is also dangerous. if you continue to drink large amounts of alcohol you are at risk of major health problems. Studies have shown that women who consume three alcoholic drinks a week have a 15 per cent higher risk of breast cancer, compared to those who abstain. This is because alcohol raises levels of oestrogen and other hormones associated with breast cancer, as well as increasing the risk of damaging DNA in cells. Other cancers connected to alcohol include those of the bowel, liver, throat and mouth, and what’s more, drinking regularly increases your risk of liver disease, heart attacks, stroke and obesity.
The safest way to stop heavy drinking
When you come off alcohol it’s best to do it slowly, to allow your mind and body to adjust. Many people have tried this and inevitably failed to do so on their own, as coping with symptoms of withdrawal such as paranoid thoughts, hallucinations and memory loss on your own is near impossible to do.
The answer is to do it the safe way with a medical detox at a clinic, where you can feel looked after under the watchful eye of an integrated team of doctors, nurses, therapists and support staff. The specially trained staff at Serena House are on hand to offer you support 24-hours a day, and can cater for your emotional needs as well as ensuring that any side-effects of withdrawal do not pose a threat to your health.
This allows you to begin your journey to wellness, by kick-starting a safe detox, followed by a bespoke programme of therapy including cognitive behavioural therapy, individual counselling and access to holistic therapies, while our chef provides nourishing meals.
Our expert staff recognise that each patient has individual needs, so you are involved in the treatment package every step of the way. And once we’ve helped you to get back in the driving seat of your own life, we will continue our relationship of trust by offering follow-up therapy sessions, giving you the best possible chance of a successful long-term recovery.
If you would like more information about how Serena House can help, contact us today.
Serena House is a private alcohol detox clinic in the heart of London
Talk to one of our counsellors on 020 3582 4288.