Where can you find support for an alcohol problem?

If you have recognised that you have an alcohol issue, take heart that you have already taken the first major step towards recovery. You might have noticed various symptoms of alcohol addiction - such as often feeling the need for alcohol, getting into trouble due to drinking, or being warned by other people about the extent of your alcohol consumption. So, how can you get help?

Draw a helpline under your alcohol problem

Rest assured that seeking help with your alcohol problem does not have to be financially costly. There are many organisations which you could phone for free. The alcohol education charity Drinkaware lists many of these helplines for people suffering drinking problems in the UK.

Those helplines include that of Drinkline, which offers confidential and accurate information for callers of any age, ethnicity, gender, sexuality or spirituality. The helpline can be reached through 0300 123 1110 from 9am to 8pm every weekday and 11am until 4pm on weekends.

Another option is Alcoholics Anonymous, a global organisation the British branch of which offers a free helpline on 0800 917 7650. Through calling this number, you can bring yourself into contact with other men and women who are suffering alcoholism and could help you to overcome yours. You can also contact Alcoholics Anonymous by emailing help@aamail.org.

How your GP could help

An alternative to all of these helplines is getting in touch with your GP. When speaking to them, endeavour to be frank and accurate about how much you are drinking, the NHS advises. You should also say whether you think it could be giving you particular problems.

Your GP might recommend various forms of assessment and highlight such support options as local community alcohol services. Don't be shy in asking them about support groups which are available locally to you and could help meet your particular needs.

It is, however, possible that you have developed a physical dependency on alcohol and need to quit alcohol completely. As you could bring inadvertent harm if you try to entirely stop overnight, you should ask your GP for advice on how to quit safely.

You might even require medication in order to put your alcohol problem entirely behind you. This could be the case if your withdrawal symptoms include sweating, tremors, vomiting, hallucinations, seizures or fits. Other signs that medication might be necessary include feeling anxious after waking and, in mornings, retching or feeling nauseous.

Set yourself up for longer term success

Typically, reducing drinking would be only the start of a recovery process; you might need a more long-term plan to help prevent yourself veering off course. To this end, getting suitable support can be vital; support from just your family or friends is unlikely to suffice.

Your GP could advise you on the longer term support options on offer near where you live. For example, the Portsmouth-based ANA Treatment Centres can provide services in alcohol rehab for Surrey residents - and for other people negatively affected by alcohol wherever they usually live in the UK.

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