Alcohol addiction help in the UK: Intervention and screening

If intervention is the first step towards seeking alcoholism help, screening and assessment are the first steps of the treatment process. Learn more about research around trends and causes of alcohol addiction, here.

minute read

If you or a loved one are experiencing some worrying signs and symptoms of alcohol dependence, and can’t seem to stop drinking despite wishing and trying to quit… addiction help may be necessary.

Where does the recovery journey start and how can you help? What do trends and statistics say about the success rates of alcoholism treatment programs? Continue reading to learn the answers to these questions. At the end, we invite you to join us for Q&A and share your questions and comments.

Intervention for Alcoholics

Early intervention is important in increasing the chances of recovery. With any illness, the sooner it is identified and treated, the better the outcome. Alcohol addiction is no different. With addiction there are multiple causal factors, both environmental and genetic.
When someone admits to a problem with alcohol then they are ready to accept treatment, but they cannot always come to this realisation on their own. This is why it is helpful to step in to encourage acceptance that they have a problem with alcohol and need treatment. This can be done:

  • individually
  • with the support of family and friends
  • with the help of a relevant professional

Alcohol addiction is a chronic, debilitating condition, which if ignored, will only get worse; it is highly unlikely that the problem will simply go away on its own. In an intervention an addict can be shown that there is a connection between their drinking and the other problems in their life. Making this link helps to plant the idea that they require help and may be crucial to the future course of their condition. Intervention can be a giant leap on the recovery journey, opening up opportunities for real change.

Screening and Assessment for Alcoholism

There are several tests devised to indicate whether a person has a problem with alcohol. For example, the CAGE test asks:

  • Have you ever felt you should cut down on your drinking?
  • Have people ever annoyed you by criticising your drinking?
  • Have you ever felt bad or guilty about your drinking?
  • Have you ever had an eye opener; a drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or get rid of a hangover?

Answering yes to at least two of the above should raise concerns about a potential problem with drinking.

This is not to say that anyone answering yes to two or more of the above is addicted to alcohol. To complete the picture you should be assessed by an experienced therapist to determine whether you have an addiction and how you can move forward in terms of treatment. Assessment should be holistic and consider the following factors:

  • Social
  • Behavioural
  • Reasons for dependence
  • Related mental illnesses (depression, anxiety).

Screening is a useful tool that can serve to highlight when a person is drinking too much…but it doesn’t tell the whole story.

Alcoholism Research and Trends in Use

Public Health England published a report for 2013/14 which indicated that 59% of those who had sought help for their drinking were no longer dependent on alcohol.

Office of National Statistics figures have shown a steady increase in alcohol-related illnesses and deaths since inception in 1994, peaking in 2008 but still significantly higher than when records began. There is still a long way to go in our understanding of and treatment of alcohol addiction, so the more information the healthcare system is armed with, the better.

For example, in a survey conducted by the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health across 14 countries it was found that longer working hours increased the likelihood of higher alcohol use by 11%. Although this may seem an obvious link, it is representative of how stress plays a part in a person’s drinking. See Priory’s ‘Stress Zones’ to learn more about properly managing stress.

The relevance of research and figures such as these is how they can affect approaches to treatment in the future. By studying contributory factors, such as work-related stress, new approaches can be formed. However, there is much still to learn about alcohol dependence and addiction in general.

Intervention, screening and research questions

Do you have any questions regarding alcohol addiction intervention, screening and research? We welcome you to post them in the section below. We will try to provide a personal and prompt answer to all legitimate inquiries.

Reference Sources: Public Health England
Finnish Institute of Occupational Health 
Finnish Institute of Occupational: Health: Long working hours linked to increased risky alcohol use
Finnish Institute of Occupational Health:  Alcohol related deaths in UK

About the author
Priory is the leading provider of behavioural care in the UK including mental healthcare, education and children’s services, adult care and older people’s care. As the UK’s leading independent provider of addiction treatment services, Priory provides professional, specialist treatment programmes for a wide range of addictive substances and behaviours.
I am ready to call
i Who Answers?