If you care about someone who is an alcoholic, it is a terrible experience to watch them destroy themselves.
It is not possible for the health authorities to detain someone forcibly (i.e. section them) because they drink too much alcohol.
There are options available to you in terms of getting advice, support and guidance:
- You can go to your own GP to ask for help.
- You can inform the GP of the person who is drinking of the problem.
- You can contact Alcoholics Anonymous, some people find this a helpful source of support. Their number is 0845 769 7555 – this is a helpline that’s open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Their website can be found at: http://www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk.
- You can speak to Alcohol Concern for free on: 0800 917 8282.
- You can suggest to the person who is drinking that they go to see a therapist or counsellor.
- You can go to a therapist or counsellor yourself for support to deal with the trauma of watching someone you care about hurt themselves.
Someone who is physically addicted to alcohol needs to come off alcohol under the supervision of their GP and possibly go into hospital to avoid a condition called ‘delirium tremens’, which can cause death, as well as other symptoms including:
- Severe confusion
- Seeing or feeling things that aren’t there (hallucinations).
This article provides more information about this condition: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001771
This information was up-to-date at the time of publishing (17 Febrary 2012). Please let me know if you find that any of this information needs updating or if you find a broken link. Thanks.