Helping a friend detox

I have a friend overseas that cant get into an inpatient program to detox. I think he drinks about 3 bottles a day but I’m not certain…

He wants to quit but I’m trying to explain that quitting cold turkey is dangerous. Are there any online resources to safely detoxxing?

Does anyone know how to find an inpatient program in London/how to get referred?

If your friend is in need of detox then trying to do it alone with only online guidance would be very dangerous, you never know what you can trust online, personally I wouldn’t trust anything you read and without anyone monitoring them for dangerous withdrawal symptoms they could be putting their life in danger. You say you don’t know exactly how much they drink so I certainly wouldn’t recommend they try to go it alone as it could be way more than you think.
Your friend can do one of two things, go to their Gp if they have one and ask for a referral to their local Alcohol Services (All areas have one) or they can refer themselves. All they need to do is look up their local service and ring up or attend in person, it is usually an open door service so they won’t need an appointment. Alcohol Services will provide them with a Keyworker who will do a full assessment of their drinking history and risk factors for detox. If they are in need of a supervised chemical detox they will be passed on to the in-house Dr who will make recommendations for and arrange outpatient or inpatient detox for them. They will also arrange follow up, access to groups, counselling and AA, the Keyworker will also support them for as long as necessary.
Please tell them to make that call, Alcohol Services were amazing with me, it’s totally free, confidential and life saving.
Edit: there is also the option of attending A&E but this would only be appropriate if they were actually experiencing withdrawal symptoms and in imminent danger. If this were the case A&E would treat the immediate symptoms as necessary but ultimately refer them them to the same Alcohol Services I mentioned above.


My concern is he isnt telling the truth about asking for help. In the states we have wellness checks, is there something similar in the UK?

At that level of consumption I would think they would detox him in a hospital.

There is no planned medical hospital detox service here anymore, there used to be but nowdays a hospital will treat severe withdrawal i.e if a patient actually presents with current symptoms but they don’t admit patients for planned detox. I work in A&E and all patients looking for detox are treated if in crisis but anything else is Alcohol Services who do have access to inpatient facilities but not acute hospital based. We have huge issues sometimes even getting out psychiatric liaison to review our alcoholic patients and to take them into the inpatient Mental Health wards, mention alcohol and it’s a no go, other times the ball rolls the other way and a psychiatrist will ask for inpatient planned detox and the medical wards will say no. It’s not a good state of affairs and sad to see the buck being passed between services but it is how it is in my experience (All budget and lack of bed availability based of course)
When I said ‘treat the immediate symptoms as necessary’ the medical teams will get them past the danger point if they are actually in a withdrawal crisis so yes they will administer chemical detox including a reducing regime over a few day if severe symptoms are present but they won’t do it as a planned admission pre withdrawal. This could of course vary in other hospitals but I have worked in several and this has always been the case :confused:
Anyone else please chip in if you know anything to be different elsewhere.

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There isn’t any wellness checks he would routinely attend, he can ask his Gp if he presents and describes his problem but he would need to ask for the help. Alcoholism is very much treated as a self referral or picked up if someone presents to a medical service unwell, some Gp’s offer health checks to over 40’s but this usually includes blood pressure, pulse, weight, blood sugar and a chat so again he would need to offer the information that he is concerned about his alcohol abuse. Other than that there is no routine screening unless of course he has private healthcare but even then routine checks are usually requested by employers or patients themselves and not just offered as part of the service.
He really really needs to ask for help and be honest if you can encourage him to do so.

The addiction treatments here are really lacking aren’t they. I had to wait a month for an initial appointment and then another month for a second then ten days to actually see the doctor and I can only imagine it would be the same for alcohol as it’s a joint drug and alcohol service. I asked my gp for help years ago but he said he knows nothing about addiction which put me off☹️

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Luckily for me my Gp admitted he knew very little about how the Drug and Alcohol service works but he did point me in the right direction. I think my assessment took about two weeks in all including seeing the Drug and Alcohol Services Dr. It is indeed a sad state of affairs and all because of budgets. Our services are very reactive as opposed to pro active when it comes to addiction

I was told that the government takes the stance that if you have got addicted then it’s your own fault if you have to wait to get help which makes sense for drugs but not alcohol especially considering how much tax they get from it. They must be too stupid to realise it would cost them a fraction of the current cost if they did something to help people before it gets that far :slightly_smiling_face:

They make way more money in alcohol tax revenues than it costs them to treat the consequences so alcohol is promoted and treatment is not. The current hospital go to line is “they’ve got to want the help” which is true to a point but not very helpful to those who are lost in how the system works.

I know my cousin went to a&e a couple of years ago as he was in withdrawals from alcohol, he wasn’t drinking enough to be at risk of seizure. He was there about seven hours, they have him one mg of lorazepam, kept him there while it kicked in and then sent him home or so he said as he kept asking me to order him some from abroad :slightly_smiling_face:

Yes it’s not good :confused: but @silent please don’t be discouraged, the help is out there in the UK and you’re friend needs to access it, he will need to be very honest about his problem though as the services will not go looking for it

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Detoxing is a medical thing, so I advise against relying on online sources like @Shell said, the safest would be for him to discuss this with some sort of doctor somewhere. If there are issues with him following through and being honest and actually accessing the help available, there isn’t much you can do for your part except encourage him to do so. You can also make sure that he knows that if he’s in withdrawal and it gets severe enough to cause concern, he can still go to emergency for medical assistance at that point. Sometimes a crisis will push people to want help they wouldn’t otherwise sign up for.