During an initial assessment, you will be asked questions such as
- How much heroin, alcohol, cocaine or cannabis you use
- If you use other substances
- Contact details such as your address, contact number, who you live with, if you work, etc
- Questions regarding your health, both physical and mental health
- If you’ve been in treatment previously and if yes what worked and what didn’t work.
Together with a recovery worker, you’ll complete a care plan and may be offered a medical check-up with a clinician.
DRUG AND ALCOHOL INFORMATION
Everyone’s situation is different and so the treatment journey is tailored to the person’s needs and situation.
Speaking to your GP is always one option, or you can call RCDAS on 020 3228 3020. At the moment, due to COVID-19, we are not running ‘drop-in’ sessions at the site but we are still open and taking phone calls from people who are thinking about treatment.
We will also start having on-line appointments so that you can speak to someone via video call.
About half of the people that come to RCDAS are looking for help with alcohol.
To stay alcohol safe the recommended safe level is 14 units per week for both men and women.
1 unit of alcohol is 8gs or 10ml of pure alcohol. This is the equivalent of:
– ½ pint of lower to normal strength beer (larger/cider) – AVB 3.6%
– A single shot of spirit (whiskey/rum/vodka/gin/etc) (25ml – AVB 40%)
A small glass of wine (125ml) is about 1 ½ units of alcohol.
14 units is the equivalent to 6 pints of average strength beer or 10 small glasses of low strength wine (AVB 12%)
For more information regarding alcohol units and what these are click here.
Alcohol withdrawal happens when someone who is physically reliant on alcohol abruptly stops drinking or suddenly cuts down the amount they drink.
Alcohol dependancy is when the body and brain needs alcohol to function normally. A person who is dependent may not appear drunk but needs a certain amount of alcohol in order to feel normal. Sign of dependance include:
– drinking alcohol most days
– having shakes or sweats in the morning that are relieved by having a drink
– drinking above the recommended weekly limit (14 units) on most days
It usually takes 6 to 12 hours after a persons last drink to get symptoms of withdrawal, but the symptoms can start up to three days (72 hours). Symptoms typically get more and more intense and reach a peak in the first 48 hours. They will then begin to subside and go away altogether after about 5 to 7 days. Problems with sleep is very common and may take weeks or months to get back to a normal routine.
Milder symptoms of withdrawal can be managed without medical attention. These symptoms are:
– feeling anxious
– feeling sick or vomiting.
Some symptoms of alcohol withdrawal are a medical emergency and you should call an ambulance immediately if you have any of the following:
– shaking or trembling
– rapid pulse or heart beat
– hearing or seeing things that aren’t there (hallucinations)
– seizures or ‘fits’
How to reduce the amount you drink
If you think that you may be physically dependant on alcohol then you’ll probably need help and support to help you cut down.
It’s important to remember that stopping or drastically reducing the amount you drink is very dangerous, especially without proper advice and support. It needs to be done with professional help.
Staff at RCDAS will work with you to plan your reduction to do it safely. Together, you will come up with a joint plan. This may involve speaking with a medical doctor and also with a psychologist to help you understand the reasons that led to, and maintained, the drinking.
OPIATE SUBSTITUTE MEDICATION
You may be offered a substitute opiate medication, depending if opiates have been detected in your urine.
Your keyworker will help you decide if you want to maintain (maintenance therapy) your addiction to opiates (or other opiate based pain killers) or explore recovery based approaches. Recovery based approaches means a community based detox or a residential detox.
Maintenance therapy: means switching heroin to a heroin substitute such as methadone or Subutex with the aim to keep you on a stable dose of the substitute medication.
Recovery: means switching your heroin use to a heroin substitutes such as methadone or Subutex but supporting a gradual reduction leading to abstinence over a period of time.
What about detox and rehab?
Community based detox is usually done at home whereas a residential detox is completed in a residential centre and usually takes between 10-14 days.
Residential treatment (rehab) is an option available when we’ve exhausted all other options. The most successful recoveries occur in a community setting and our aim is to support this process over any other option. If your health and well being deteriorate during treatment and it is agreed that a residential option may be the best option then RCDAS will support you with assessment and funding.