Currently, in the UK 20% of patients* attending general practice are drinking in an "at risk manner" while 1 in 5** acute medical admissions to hospitals are related to alcohol.
Figures from the Institute of Alcohol Studies show that per capita alcohol consumption for the UK as a whole has doubled since 1960.
According to Government statistics alcoholism is the second most common disorder in the UK after depression and anxiety. Those with issues with alcohol may often be walking a very thin line between what is often referred to as social drinking and becoming an alcoholic without realising it.
The Priory Group is the UK's leading independent provider of addiction treatment services. Alcohol and drug dependency can be life-threatening; at Priory hospitals recovery is a positive, life-affirming process.
Priory's addiction treatment programme offers people with substance misuse issues the best opportunity to make a crucial change in their lives when they are ready to do so.
Priory hospitals offer an abstinence-based addiction treatment programme, which usually incorporates a hospital stay supported by 12 months of structured aftercare. With more patients in treatment than any other UK provider, Priory helps over 1,200 people annually achieve their abstinence goals.
Priory’s carefully planned inpatient programme is intensive with patients spending up to seven hours a day in either group therapy or individual sessions with their psychiatrists or experienced and qualified specialists.
Priory offers a range of treatment options from a seven-day inpatient detox for alcohol and 14-day detox for other drugs to 48-day interventions for more complex dual-diagnoses or poly-addicted patients. They recognise that an inpatient stay is not possible for all of the patients who require treatment, so have also developed highly successful day patient and outpatient addiction treatment services.
On successful completion of the inpatient programme, some patients may benefit from a period of extended care on a daycare or outpatient basis, the duration and intensity of which depends on each individual's needs.
All patients are encouraged to attend a free weekly aftercare programme for 12 months for additional support and guidance in the early stages of recovery.
Priory also offers support and advice to family members, who often play an instrumental role in helping the patient recognise their need for help and who have had to deal with the impact of their loved one's addiction. Hospitals run weekly family support programmes to improve the quality of family relationships, help families understand the facts and dispel the myths about addiction and allow them to learn from the strength and experiences of others.
According to a recent internal outcome study, up to 62% of Priory patients maintain total abstinence one year after discharge and enjoy significantly improved quality of life.
In this web TV programme, Dr Dorcas Kingham, Medical Director at the Priory Hospital Bristol who is a specialist in the treatment of alcohol abuse, discusses alcohol addiction and offers advice to GPs who may be faced with patients they believe have a problem.
*NHS figures 2008
**Impact of alcohol on the NHS study 2008