At Castle Craig, we believe that alcohol addiction, or alcoholism, is a primary, chronic brain disease. As a result, patients must undergo an abstinence-based programme in order to achieve long-lasting recovery. The specialized residential treatment programme for alcoholism that has been developed here at Castle Craig will help patients suffering from alcohol addiction find get the personlised care they need to combat the disease.
Many people drink alcohol responsibly and within the recommended limits which does not put their health at risk. But some people get into serious trouble because of their drinking, causing harm to themselves and those around them.
Drinking is described as ‘alcohol abuse’ when a person drinks heavily, despite negative consequences on their work, studies or personal life, when they put themselves or others in danger because of their drinking (e.g. drink driving), or if they get into trouble with the law due to their alcohol abuse. (DSM-IV Criteria)
People with alcohol addiction (also known as ‘alcohol dependency’ or ‘alcoholism’) will have a strong urge to drink and will find that they are consistently unable to stop once they have started. As well as this they will experience some of the following symptoms:
- Drinking to cope with stress, problems or to suppress emotions
- Increased tolerance to the effects of alcohol
- Frequent memory lapses after a night of drinking
- Family and friends criticise and comment on their drinking
- Withdrawal symptoms
- Reaching for a drink in the morning or early in the day to steady their nerves or to cure a hangover
- Running into problems at home, at work or with the law which are directly or indirectly related to their alcohol abuse
- A desire to cut down with unsuccessful attempts at this
- Most of the person’s time is spent planning the next drink, abusing alcohol and recovering from the side effects
- Social activities, hobbies and work appointments are reduced
- Frequent excuses to justify their alcohol abuse or related behaviour
Health Risks & Side Effects of Alcohol Abuse
Alcohol is toxic to the body’s cells when consumed in amounts other than those recommended. Prolonged heavy drinking and binge drinking have a variety of adverse effects on the body, including:
- Chronic Liver Disease Alcohol is the most common cause of chronic liver disease in the UK. Alcohol-related liver disease includes fatty liver, hepatitis and cirrhosis. Cirrhosis which is an irreversible form of liver disease occurs in 15 to 30% of heavy drinkers. Women in particular are more at risk of liver disease and are likely to develop complications at an earlier stage than men. Liver disease and cirrhosis of the liver are also increasingly prevalent in younger age groups.
- Infertility Men and women may experience fertility problems. Alcohol is toxic to sperm and heavy drinking reduces sperm count and quality. Women trying to conceive should also avoid alcohol.
- Cancer Many cancers are directly related to chronic heavy alcohol use. This includes cancer of the mouth, throat, oesophagus, breast, bowel, liver.
- Anxiety & Depression Prolonged alcohol consumption commonly leads to mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.
- Withdrawal Symptoms Heavy drinkers will also experience the withdrawal symptoms of nausea and vomiting, heart palpitations, sweating, ‘the shakes’, and difficulty sleeping.
- Memory Blackouts A blackout results in an inability to recall details of events which have occurred during a drinking bout. Blackouts occur even after a few drinks and the degree of memory lapse increases with the amount consumed. One particular form of alcohol-related acquired brain injury is the condition Korsakoff’s syndrome which is characterised by persistent memory and learning problems and caused by a deficiency of vitamin B1.
- Alcoholic Brain Damage Chronic heavy drinkers are at risk of more progressive and persistent brain damage leading to generalised cognitive impairment. This may present as loss of memory and difficulty with problem solving.
- Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) Alcohol use during pregnancy is potentially damaging to the developing fetus and even frequent consumption of moderate amounts may cause a condition known as Fetal Alcohol Effects or with heavy consumption the full-blown Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. These children suffer from a variety of cognitive disabilities.
Personalised Alcohol Detox Programme at Castle Craig
Detoxification—the treatment of any withdrawal syndrome associated with the abrupt or gradual cessation of the drug or drugs that the person has been taking—is the first step on the road to recovery, and Castle Craig’s 30+ years of experience are what help make our success rates so high.
Our personalised alcohol rehab detoxification programme is supervised by an experienced team who work together to make detox as safe and comfortable as possible. We understand that this is an extremely difficult time and provide 24/7 round-the-clock care, support, and encouragement.
We closely monitor all patients throughout detox until they are stable; easing withdrawal symptoms and reviewing a patient’s care several times a day. A specialist doctor is available exclusively to Castle Craig, onsite, 24 hours a day, seven days a week in case of emergency.
Detoxification is more supportive when there is a shared room environment and in general patients share a bedroom during detoxification although there is provision for single and single en-suite accommodation. After detox patients move to a bedroom which is either single or shared.
We do not believe in a “one size fits all” approach to treatment. Because each patient comes to us with unique life experiences and circumstances surrounding their addiction, the personal treatment needs of each individual are taken into account when we form their alcohol treatment plan.
Our world-class psychiatrists, doctors, nurses and therapists meet regularly to discuss the patient’s ongoing condition and update their treatment plan according to their progress in treatment. Because our treatment is residential and located on one site, patients can join in the daily routine of individual counselling and group therapy as soon as their physical condition permits.
Castle Craig’s Treatment Model for Alcohol Addiction
Because of our belief that alcohol addiction is a primary, chronic brain disease and that patients must undergo an abstinence-based programme in order to achieve long-lasting recovery, we utilize the 12 Steps, along with other treatment methods.
- Medical assessments
- 12 Step facilitation
- Individual therapy
- Group therapy
- Cognitive behavioural therapy
- Family therapy
- Complementary therapies that have been proven effective for patients with substance misuse disorders.
The recovery process is assisted by a combination of exercise and a healthy diet, in peaceful, private surroundings. We assign a personal focal therapist who works with patients throughout their stay, conducts one-on-one therapy sessions and shapes their aftercare plan alongside the Head Nurse and Consultant Psychiatrist.