Alcohol treatment Information for service users Page

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1 South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust Alcohol treatment Information for service users Page

2 This leaflet tells you what you can expect during treatment for problems related to using alcohol. It's helpful if you read it together with the general information leaflet that your key worker will give you. Please ask if you need more information. The last page is left blank so you can make notes about your treatment. If you are coming to a SLaM service because your drinking is causing you problems, an assessment is important as it helps us to decide with you what treatment you need. What do we do? We offer a range of different treatments. What we offer you will depend on the amount you drink, whether you are addicted to alcohol and what problems alcohol is causing you. Page 2

3 What will happen? A nurse, substance misuse worker or alcohol worker will discuss and agree the next stage with you. This could be either: going to your GP or service again usually within a week having an appointment for a fuller assessment with us. What is assessment? This is a short meeting which aims to get a clear picture of your current and past problems and to develop a treatment plan with you. It usually includes: finding out what you think you need taking details of your health and social situation taking details of your past and current drinking, and any other drug use agreeing a care plan that sets out what you want to achieve talking about how information is shared and who with, with your consent. We will also talk about: blood tests to find out whether you have suffered physical harm from alcohol testing for hepatitis C and HIV testing for hepatitis A and B and immunisations for these information about alcohol use and the risks you may be facing the dangers of using other drugs with alcohol. Page 3

4 Treatment options Community treatment The "standard" treatment plan is to see you regularly in the community. We will look at your drinking and how it affects your body and makes you feel. We can help you with any health problems and suggest ways of improving your health. This is to help you to break the pattern of heavy drinking and, if possible, for you to stop drinking while you decide what to do in the long term. Detoxification If you are a dependent drinker - meaning that you become very unwell or have fits if you do not drink every day - you may find it helpful to plan a day when you will stop drinking. On this day we will start giving you medication to help you with withdrawal symptoms. You will usually be an outpatient and come to clinic daily for 5-8 days. We will give you decreasing doses of medication, usually chlordiazepoxide (Librium and vitamins). We may suggest that you go through the detoxification with your GP. During this time you must not drink alcohol. We will ask you every day how you are managing and may breathalyse you. If you have problems that make it unsafe for you to continue the detox in the community, or you cannot stop drinking, we might check to see whether you would be better off staying in hospital. Page 4

5 Common side-effects These affect less than 1 in 10 people who take this medicine. Along with their useful effects all medicines including Chlordiazepoxide, can cause unwanted side-effects. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine. Speak with your doctor or pharmacist if you experience any of the following side effects or they continue to become troublesome: drowsiness or light-headedness. What can I do? Make sure your reactions are normal before driving, operating machinery or doing any other jobs which could be dangerous if you were not fully alert. unsteadiness or muscle weakness, confusion or forgetfulness. What can I do? Let your doctor know if these are troublesome. Page 5

6 If you stop drinking If you stop drinking, you will have follow-up appointments with your keyworker. This is to check your mental and physical health and to develop a care plan to help you stay alcohol-free. This may include prescribing medication, going to Alcoholics Anonymous, other therapy or residential treatment. In some cases we may see you for a longer period or see another professional for specialist support. The keyworker will talk about these options and draw up a plan with you. You will normally be go back to your GP for further support and may be referred for help to not start drinking again. Page 6

7 If you are unable to stop drinking If after four weeks you can't stop or cut down on, your drinking and are still drinking dangerous amounts of alcohol, we will ask you to go back to your GP. We will give your GP a brief treatment summary and you are advised to take multivitamins regularly, and to attend a selfhelp group such as Alcoholics Anonymous or perhaps a local charity. If you decide to try again we will see you and re-assess you. Inpatient treatment In some cases we will think about treating you in hospital. Your keyworker will talk about this with you if it is an option. If we think you need a longer period of residential treatment to help you not to start drinking again, we will refer you to the local social services substance misuse team who can talk about things they can do to help. Psychological problems It is quite common for people to have psychological problems when they are making changes to their drug use or drinking. Common experiences can include depression, anxiety and panic, and, for some people, a return of some of the difficult feelings or memories that using alcohol helped to manage. Relationships can change, too, and people can feel quite isolated and stuck. There are treatments that can help with these and other similar problems and we may suggest seeing a psychologist. If we don't, and you would like to see one to talk about how they could help you, please speak to your key worker or ask to speak to your team psychologist. Page 7

8 South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust Options available If you d like a large print, audio, Braille or a translated version of this leaflet then please ask us. Useful contact details SLaM Switchboard: SLaM 24hr Information Line - Advice on how to access SLaM Services: Contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) for help, advice and information: T: W: E: Complaints If you are not happy about something but not sure if you want to make a formal complaint you can speak to a member of staff directly. Alternatively you can contact the PALS Office on freephone If you decide you want to make a formal complaint this can be done by contacting the Complaints Department: Complaints Department, Maudsley Hospital, Denmark Hill, London SE5 8AZ T: (020) /2499 E: W: For the quickest way to plan your journey anywhere in greater London use journey planner: 00 (hrs) Date of Publication: Reference: 04/07/2011 lc Page

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