Frequently Asked Questions

Addictions General FAQs.

As well as being directly related to many serious diseases, drinking large amounts of alcohol can also lead to poor sexual performance, and it can harm an unborn baby. If you have an alcohol related problem, there are many ways in which you can get help to reduce your drinking, and there are also many services that you can use that will help you stop altogether. Definition The problems associated with alcoholism, or alcohol dependence, are wide ranging, and can be physical, psychological, and social.

There is no definitive cure for addiction. However, rehab can provide patients with the skills needed to successfully manage their addiction and remain sober. Recovery from addiction is never over and patients will need to work on their ability to avoid relapse for the rest of their lives. A high quality addiction rehab programme sets patients up for this process.

The stereotypical of view of the alcoholic as a homeless, jobless bum with a bottle always in hand can be true, and it can also be a completely different picture from the reality for many alcoholics. There’s no such thing as a ‘typical’ alcoholic, and you might not fit the stereotype at all. You might think you’re in perfect control of your drinking because you only drink at night and you can still hold down a job and pretend to your family that you only drink half as much as you really do.

But if you really can’t stop, no matter how much you try, you’re still an alcoholic.

What’s the difference between just enjoying a casual drink, alcohol abuse and alcoholism?

Most people can enjoy a casual night out with friends, have one or two drinks and then stop, and they might not drink again for several days. They enjoy a drink, but they don’t NEED it.

With someone who abuses alcohol, they have a pattern of drinking heavily, perhaps even to the point of blacking out, and of out of character behaviour due to the alcohol. They can’t stop this behaviour even when they know all about the negative consequences for their health, and about the effects it can have on their family and friends.

An alcoholic, on the other hand, is dependent on alcohol, and has a compulsion to drink. If they try to stop, their brain and body have become so used to alcohol being present that they begin to suffer from withdrawal symptoms, and the only way – in their mind – to get rid of the withdrawal symptoms is to have another drink.

There are two different types:

Binge drinking: This is where people drink a very large amount in a short period of time. People tend to talk about doing a pub crawl, or going out on the razz among other phrases, and they deliberately aim to drink as much as possible to get very drunk. For women, the definition of binge drinking is of having four or more drinks during a two-hour period, and for men the definition is five drinks or more within two hours.

Heavy drinking: Heavy drinking is defined by exceeding the government guidelines for alcohol over the period of a week, on a regular basis. For people under 65, it’s defined as having more than 14 drinks per week, or four drinks every day, and for the over 65s, the definition is having more than seven drinks per week, or more than three drinks every day.

Ten warning signs that you could be an alcoholic

If you’re worried about your own drinking or about someone else, take a look at our list of possible symptoms below and see if you recognise anything:

  • Do you feel guilty about your drinking?
  •  Do you crave alcohol?
  •  Do you start to drink first thing in the morning?
  •  Do you drink by yourself and hide what you are doing?
  •  Are you unable to stop drinking if you try, or control how much you drink?
  •  Are you irritable, with severe mood swings?
  •  Do you prioritise your drinking over your life, ignoring your job and your family in order to drink?
  •  Do you suffer from withdrawal symptoms if you stop drinking?
  •  Have you stopped doing other activities and hobbies that you used to enjoy because you are focusing on drinking?
  •  Are you still drinking, despite it causes health problems for you, or getting you into debt, or causing problems with your family and friends?

Does too much of that seem familiar? If it does, just know that you aren’t alone. So many people suffer from alcoholism and find the strength and the courage to reach out and ask for help, and you can too.

Serenity Rehab Clinics are available around the country, and we have highly trained and experienced staff who’ve completed a rehab programme themselves and now help others to do the same.

All you need to do is pick up the phone and talk to us for free advice, and if you choose to stay at one of our clinics, we can have you settled in on the same day and receiving help to get you on the road to recovery.

And if you’re worried about a loved one, again, just pick up the phone. We’re very happy to offer free advice to family and friends who may be hoping to help someone they care about.

Alcoholism is different for every person that experiences it, and there are also different stages that an alcoholic will go through. By the end stage, alcohol dependence has firmly set in and the alcoholic is completely unable to control how much they drink or to stop drinking.

The good news is that alcoholism is treatable, no matter what stage you’re at, and Serenity Rehab clinic can develop a personalised programme specifically for you and your situation to help you get on the road to recover and stay there.

Below, we’re going to walk you through the four main stages of alcoholism to give you the full picture of how the condition develops, and the differences between the initial stage and the end stage.

The four main stages of alcoholism:

Stage 1: Early stage alcoholism

In the beginning stages of alcoholism, the alcoholic has only positive experiences with alcohol. It makes them feel good, giving them the euphoria and the high they are looking for, and it helps them blot out whatever reasons they had for starting to drink.

It’s likely that at this stage, the alcoholic will appear to be behaving normally, and that only people who are very close to them might notice that they are drinking more.

Early Stage Alcoholism Alcohol tolerance

If anyone else has too much to drink, they’ll start to slur their words, have lack of coordination and balance, and the other signs of being drunk. But when someone at the early stage of alcoholism drinks, they’ll begin to develop their tolerance for alcohol and it might not be obvious that they are drunk at all. They may be able to balance and coordinate properly, and have a perfectly normal conversation without slurring their words.

Note: This is different for everyone as there are different factors which affect alcohol tolerance, such as race, body mass, biochemistry, etc.

The alcoholic may also feel that they function better when they’ve had a drink or two, as they put off any hangover symptoms and any life challenges that they have to deal with until they stop drinking. Over time, they will become more dependent on alcohol as their body and brain begin to get used to its presence and crave it when the alcoholic hasn’t had a drink for a while.

Common early stage alcoholism behaviours:

• Drinking to avoid problems, such as boredom, loneliness, stress and anything that might be going on in their life
• Drinking noticeably more than usual
• Deliberately finding reasons to have more alcohol in their life
• Being far more sociable and easy to get along with when they’ve had a drink than they are when they are sober.

This stage then begins to progress to Middle Stage Alcoholism.

Common middle stage alcoholism behaviours:

• Drinking alone and drinking away from their usual social activities
• Lack of self-control and any kind of restraint where alcohol is concerned.
• Problems with existing relationships and difficulty in building new ones
• Erratic behaviour that’s completely out of character
• Decrease in their usual social activities.

Unlike early stage alcoholics, middle stage alcoholics must drink. They can’t do without it in order to function, and they now begin to feel the negative effects that weren’t present in the early stages. They’ll drink to forget the last time they drank, as well as to forget the issues that made them drink in the first place, and if they don’t drink, they will feel dreadful. They need to be drunk to actually feel well at this stage. This is also the point where their organs are starting to suffer damage.

As the alcoholic continues to drink, their cells become more resistant to the effects of having a drink and begin to adapt to it. It takes more to get the alcoholic drunk, though if they drink more than their newly built tolerance, it will happen. If they stop drinking suddenly, their body can experience shock as their cells have now begun to need alcohol in order to function.

It will become far more obvious both to the alcoholic and to other people that they have a problem, and the alcoholic reaches the point where they can’t resist a drink, and if they do try to stop, they suffer with withdrawal symptoms.

Common middle stage alcoholism behaviours:

• Drinking alone and drinking away from their usual social activities
• Lack of self-control and any kind of restraint where alcohol is concerned.
• Problems with existing relationships and difficulty in building new ones
• Erratic behaviour that’s completely out of character
• Decrease in their usual social activities.

Stage 3: Later stage alcoholism

At this point, the alcoholic is only concerned with their drinking. Everything they do revolves around getting their next drink, and managing their drinking to try and prevent other people from knowing how bad it is and trying to stop them.

More severe damage is being done to the body because of the continued heavy drinking, and if the alcoholic wasn’t feeling any consequences from drinking, they very likely are now. There’s the possibility that they may begin to lose friendships and relationships – either on purpose as they choose to spend more time with people who don’t say anything about their drinking, or simply because their focus on alcohol has caused too many problems between them and their close friends and family.

Even at this stage though, it is likely that the alcoholic still considers themselves a ‘functioning alcoholic’ as they can still hold down a job and keep up with most of the people in their lives.

Stage 4: End stage alcoholism

The end stage of alcoholism is the point where the alcoholic has really lost control and the addiction begins to impact every area of their life. The addict is likely completely obsessed with drinking to the point that close relationships are badly affected or even damaged so badly that they may be beyond repair.

Physically, the alcoholic will be highly dependent on alcohol, with frequent blackouts and an inability to sleep unless they have yet another drink. It’s also likely at this stage that the alcoholic will have medical problems, as excess drinking over a long period time can cause cirrhosis of the liver, pancreatitis, hepatitis and respiratory infections. In the most severe cases, an alcoholic may suffer brain damage or heart failure.

Even so, it’s still possible that the addict can keep their job going, but it’s not likely to last for long at this point in part due to any physical symptoms they might suffer, but also because every ounce of their concentration isn’t on their job, but on when they can have their next drink.

No matter what stage you are at, you can be helped and given treatment to remove alcohol from your system and take away your dependence on it. You can begin to recover and return to your previous life without needing to drink.

Just call Serenity Rehab for free advice and we’ll do everything we can to help you.

People often begin drinking as a social activity with friends, and there’s nothing wrong with that at all, but for those who are disposed to alcohol addiction, that can be where the trouble starts. Spending time with good friends is great fun. Add alcohol and you can feel a very pleasant ‘buzz’ and as you drink more, feelings of euphoria. You might perhaps be funnier than you usually are, or more chatty, and that can give you a high too – a feeling of being part of the group and fitting in. Or alcohol may simply allow you to forget about any pains and problems you have for a few hours.

But any of those feelings of euphoria can become addictive, and the more you drink to get that same high, the higher your tolerance of alcohol gets, and the more you need to drink to feel as good as you did the first time.

Psychological and Physical Addiction to Alcohol

If you continue to drink to keep matching that high, you’ll eventually get to the point where you don’t feel you can be yourself without alcohol. It’s a crutch to enable you to be more sociable or to get you through life. That’s the psychological addiction to alcohol.

If you then continue to drink to the point that you can’t stop without starting to have withdrawal symptoms, such as shaking, anxiety, hallucinations and confusion, then you are physically addicted to alcohol and your body craves it.

Drinking alcohol stimulates the release of dopamine and serotonin and these chemicals in your brain are what make you feel so good when you drink. Heavy drinkers also seem to have a higher release of these neurotransmitters, which makes it even harder to give up.

Alcohol is so addictive because it affects your brain, your body and your emotions with both psychological and physical addiction.

Cannabis is what is known as a gate way drug, for many people suffering from a substance misuse problem this is where it started, normally from the age of around 13/14. This could be a need to fit in and be part of or peer group pressure, and in other cases a need to escape reality . If you suffer from addiction this will have sparked what is known as the obsession of the mind, and what normally happens is the addiction progress in to harder drugs. Once you’ve taken your first drug and survived the fear of taking other drugs isn’t so high. Your Inhibitions are also lowered making it easier to put harder drugs in you while under the influence of Cannabis.

Many people will not be aware of their own behaviours, a family member will normally spot that the person is acting out character. It can start with, being awake all night and sleeping all day, acting different as though they are irritable and discontent, having bouts of anger or depression. Lying, steeling. They can appear to be on top of the world one minute and very down the next. Strong forms of denial can happen when challenged on any behaviours . Always try to be as patient and tolerant as you can with your loved one try to remember addiction is an illness and the person needs to be treated like a sick person. But it also important not to enable these behaviours at the same time.

Absolutely yes, so many people are not even aware they have a mental health problem and many people don’t make the connection in children and mental health. The drugs can become a ‘solution’ for a persons mental health. At the start it will seem as if the drugs are quieting the mind, but in time as the addiction progress it will only add to any mental health problems the person has. It is also difficult to diagnose a person with mental health while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Admissions and Pre Admissions FAQs

Each patient can receive a meal plan determined by our ED focused therapists. Meals are varied and balanced, and for our ED patients, we will offer one to one support to reduce anxiety, panic and trauma.

Serenity Health offer an innovative private treatment synergistic community. Each patient on a Serenity Health treatment programme has a customised treatment plan to include individual and group therapies on a daily basis. Residents will have the opportunity for reflective time during activities such as journaling and reading.

The multi-disciplinary teams across our clinics consist of highly skilled professionals including: Psychiatrists, Doctors, Therapists, Dieticians, Nurses, an acupuncturist, an herbalist, equine specialist and trauma reduction therapists.

Studies indicate that a person’s success rate directly correlates with the amount of time spent in treatment. The longer the length of stay in treatment the higher the likelihood of long term recovery. One40 recommends that you consider the value of a 60-day stay. Success is also greatest when patients follow the step down care plan co-designed by the patient with their lead therapist. This is strongly advised by our Admissions staff. Serenity Health will carefully coordinate aftercare with each patient, and we stress the importance of following the discharge plan.

Serenity Health clinics offer detox programmes and therapeutic treatment programmes that are approved by the Care Quality Commission, the independent regulator of all health and social care services in England. We are proud to offer 24/7 nursing care supervised by Psychiatrists, Doctors, Nurses and therapists in conjunction with our multiple treatment and therapeutic modalities.

Serenity Health firmly believes that family/friends involvement is essential to a successful recovery. Therefore, we incorporate a bespoke family program, which includes educational sessions, therapy sessions as well as experiential/expressive therapies.

Serenity Health will help you obtain information about your insurance’s benefits and their policies. An insurance plan may or may not cover the cost of your stay. Serenity Health has no control over the ultimate outcome of insurance reviews and your insurance provider may not guarantee payment.

The minimum length of stay we would advise for one of our therapeutic treatment programmes is 4 wks. However patients do stay longer. Research shows that a 60 -90-day stay produces the greatest long-lasting benefits and offers the best chance of long term recovery.

The Serenity Health multi-disciplinary staff team treats individuals with co-occurring process addictions as well as alcohol and drugs, such as sex, co-dependency, trauma and gambling. If you think you might have coexisting issues please speak with one of our admissions counsellors and together we will determine how we can best meet your needs and create the most effective program for you.

Serenity Health offers each patient time for visits from friends and family. Throughout your personalised treatment plan we will help you assess your interpersonal connections and communications.

The treatment team recognises that appropriate exercise is a functional part of an overall plan for optimal recovery. Exercise under supervision is integrated into each resident’s care plan schedule.

Predominantly the age of our patients starts from 18, please contact our admission specialists should you be under the age of 18 and we will try to help you.

Yes. Every patient is given the option of which clinic they wish to stay at. The Admissions counsellors will go through each clinics treatment programme, its facilities complete with all the services it provides.

Patients have many opportunities for supervised offsite experiences. Including; equine therapy, exercise, swimming and day to day basic life skills trips.

Rehab programmes vary a great deal in price, depending on the length of the programme, the facilities provided, and various other factors. Inpatient treatments are understandably more expensive due to the costs involved in providing meals and lodgings as well as therapy and activities. Outpatient programmes can cost less, but prices vary greatly depending on the level of intensity provided and the number of counselling and support

Let’s take a look at some of the factors which affect the cost of rehab.


There are a wide range of amenities which could increase the cost of a rehab programme, but which may aid recovery, such as:

– High quality or gourmet food
– Private rooms
– Acupuncture
– Massage
– Yoga
– Additional activities, such as art classes

Length of programme

The longer a programme is, the more expensive it will be. The length of the programme will depend on your individual needs which will be assessed by a counsellor before the rehab begins.


Rehab facilities in particularly scenic or luxurious locations can be more expensive. Plus, patients must factor in their travel costs when choosing a facility far away from their home.

Type of programme

Inpatient facilities, which provide food, board, and access to medical professionals and treatment professionals at all times, are more expensive than outpatient facilities.

Our inpatient programmes can vary between £1500 and £18,000 depending on the length of stay and the clinic chosen. Outpatient programmes start from £995, with the price increasing with additional treatment or relapse support. The cost of rehab can be daunting, but compared to the cost of ongoing drug addiction, they are a worthwhile investment.

sessions or activities provided each week.

There is no simple way to compare the cost of addiction against the cost of rehab, because addiction can cause a huge amount of financial loss in various different ways.

The first factor to consider is the cost of the drugs, which may increase exponentially the longer the addiction goes on for. If the addiction affects your ability to work, you may have to factor in loss of earnings which may occur if you lose your employment. Plus, you could incur legal costs if your addiction results in you being prosecuted.

Aside from financial costs, there are many other costs to addiction. You could sacrifice your physical or mental health, your happiness, your relationships with others, and your ability to pursue hobbies or career aspirations. When you consider all of these factors, the cost of addiction rehab is nothing in comparison.

It depends on the individual. Overcoming addiction from drugs or alcohol is often a long and complex process and exactly how long the treatment lasts will depend on the needs of the person. We offer a range of different treatment methods that enable both abstinence and recovery from addiction. All the facilities have been designed with helping sufferers break free of their addiction, but the length of treatment varies from person to person.

Most treatment facilities will work with you around prescribed medication, there will be a GP you can visit and talk to about your medication. The treatment centre will work alongside what the GP recommends. Some people find that after coming off drugs and alcohol they don’t need medication, or they can lower their dose. You will never be forced to stop prescribed medication in any rehab centre.

Depending on the substance you come in on the detox procedure is different for each individual person.

If you are on any type of opiates like heroin, or prescription medication like Tramadol, or Co-dydramol the detox can last for up to 28 days . With heroin you will be brought down slowly with Methadone or Subutex, also known as Buprenorphine. Most treatment centres will give you a blind detox, and you will not know the dose you are on. The first 3 days you will feel uncomfortable but after this the detox will be much more bearable. When you are coming off prescription medication they will just lower the does daily to bring you down in a safe way.

Alcohol can take between 5 to 10 days. You will be prescribed Librium and Vitamin B tablets.

Crack Cocaine is more an obsession of the mind, so there isn’t really much that can be given, but some treatment centres will give a short course of Benzodiazepine to get you settled in to your process.

Benzodiazepine has to be a very slow process and can take up 28 days to detox from.

While there are some treatment centres designed around a Christian model, most treatment centres are not religious.  Treatment centres that are based around the 12 steps are not religious, the idea is that you find a power greater than you  that doesn’t have to be from any form of a religious background. You will be encouraged to explore and find your own power, which is known as a higher power. A higher power is something that is loving, caring, kind and forgiving, its just something you can put some faith in and trust in. Some people may be scared around the God concept or word, but there is nothing to worry about at all. You can stay clean if your are an Atheist and the treatment centre will support you to find the way around this.

Aftercare FAQs

After you leave treatment, your journey is not yet at an end. To avoid relapse and a return to your addiction, it is important to follow a programme of aftercare. Aftercare is essentially continued treatment that will help you maintain your new sobriety as you return to society following a period of treatment.

Yes. Following a treatment period, you may feel that you are now ready to return to a normal life – but you are likely to experience setbacks, triggers and temptations along the way. Aftercare can help you deal with this.

All addicts are encouraged to engage in some kind of aftercare programme. The specifics may differ, but it is never a good idea to try to manage your recovery from addiction alone – unfortunately, these attempts usually end in failure. Even if you believe that you are strong enough to continue your battle with addiction without any support, remember that this is a powerful disease. You will be far better off in the long run if you seek help, whether from a professional counsellor or therapist or a support group.

During treatment, you will have learned about different coping strategies which can help you fight the urge to start using again. Aftercare is an important tool for putting them into practice. Depending on your needs, you may benefit from different types of aftercare programme:

* Individual therapy sessions. Some people choose to have regular meetings with a therapist as they make the transition back to a normal life.
* Group counselling sessions. Others prefer a group approach to therapy. These support groups are led by professional therapists or counsellors who will help guide you on the journey to recovery.
* 12-step programmes. These free programmes can be found all over the world. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) are support networks made up of former addicts.

You might start using one or more of these techniques and, as time goes by, you may change your aftercare programme. It is important to find the best aftercare programme to suit your individual needs, to maximise your chances of a strong recovery.

In Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA), members attend regular meetings to support each other’s sobriety. These meetings are not led by medical professionals, but rather by other ex-addicts. Each newcomer will be assigned a sponsor – a more experienced member who will act as your personal go-to in moments of need.

One major benefit of these programmes is that they can be found in towns and cities all over the world. If you move house, have to travel for work, or find yourself feeling tempted while away from home, you’re sure to find a meeting near you.

No. Every addict is different, and the severity of each addiction is unique. Some people will only begin aftercare after spending some time in a residential facility. Others start it without having completed an inpatient programme.

The goal of aftercare is to maintain your sobriety, so abstinence is expected. However, relapses are common for many people recovering from addiction. If you suffer a relapse or slip, you should not see this as a reason to abandon your aftercare programme. Instead, inform your therapist, counsellor or sponsor as quickly as you can, and use your existing aftercare framework to get back on track.

There is no easy way to answer this question, as each individual varies. Do not make any decisions about giving up therapy without first consulting your therapist or counsellor – although you may feel ready, it is always a good idea to get a professional opinion before moving on.

In the case of twelve-step programmes, many addicts never leave. These programmes can become powerful support networks, and although some addicts move on after a period of time, others continue to actively attend meetings even decades after recovery.

Most treatment centres have what are known as dry houses, this is supported accommodation where you will still see a key worker and attend an after care program. If it is not possible for you to go to a move on house and you need to return home, your key worker will make sure you can access an after care team in your local area. All treatment centres have an after care program in place that you can return to for continued support.

Alcohol Addiction FAQs

As well as being directly related to many serious diseases, drinking large amounts of alcohol can also lead to poor sexual performance, and it can harm an unborn baby. If you have an alcohol related problem, there are many ways in which you can get help to reduce your drinking, and there are also many services that you can use that will help you stop altogether. Definition The problems associated with alcoholism, or alcohol dependence, are wide ranging, and can be physical, psychological, and social.

Heavy drinking is linked to suicide, murder, fatal accidents, and many fatal diseases. It can increase your chances of developing cirrhosis of the liver, and it has been associated with many different types of cancer, including cancer of the breast, mouth, larynx (voicebox) and liver.

Drinking a moderate amount of alcohol will not do you any physical or psychological harm. However, for some people, social drinking can lead to heavier drinking, which can cause serious health problems. It is estimated that 1 in 13 people in the UK are dependent on alcohol (an alcoholic), with several million drinking excessively, to the extent where they are putting their health at risk.

Just because someone is a “heavy drinker” or a “problem drinker” doesn’t mean that they are automatically an alcoholic. You could say that this type of person “abuses” alcohol, but rather alcoholism itself is an addiction with a variety of different definitions. There is often controversy over how the actual diagnosis should be made.

We often suggest that alcoholism is an addiction due to the following factors: compulsive use, preoccupation with the acquisition of alcohol, narrowing of interests, relapse and often denial. These various factors are also seen in addictions in all other variations of drug dependence.

There isn’t a single “correct” definition that we should and can use for alcoholism due to the subtle nature of the disease in its progression. The line in which people cross to become an alcoholic from heavy drinking is unclear. However, if we apply an overall definition of addiction, then “continued use and abuse in spite of severe consequences” is a smart place to start.

For those whose alcohol use has continued to the point of addiction as defined above, then we can conclude that they are an alcoholic and they need professional help immediately.

It is very important to note that many of those people who only consider themselves “moderate drinkers”, experience some of the early symptoms that alcoholism permits. This includes interpersonal problems, medical issues and hangovers that cause absence from work.

There is no single kind of an addictive personality that appears to predict alcoholism. Rather, the addictive personality doesn’t appear to be present before the onset of alcohol dependence, nor does it seem to be inherited.

However, it has been shown that antisocial behaviour in childhood often leads to alcohol drinking and eventual problem drinking alcohol. It’s estimated that somewhere between 50% and 90% of prisoners suffer from alcoholism, and many of these people have antisocial personalities.

Typically, people who are considered “moderate” drinkers will report that, when they consume small doses of alcohol, it has a pleasant effect on their communication skills. Alternatively, they may say it brings about a state of relaxation or creates a stimulant effect on their appetite.

A person who consumes alcohol in low-doses can experience a number of mental effects. Ranging from anxiety to sadness, or from hyperactivity to irritability. It also includes a wider range of interpersonal issues. Those who drink higher quantities of alcohol within a more frequent period of time can suffer from psychiatric symptoms including auditory hallucinations, paranoia and intense and prolonged insomnia. The effects on their mental processes are as limited or severe as the quantity of alcohol consumed and the period of time in which it is consumed.

We all know that some people will naturally get drunk more quickly. Especially if they drink too much alcohol in a short period of time with no food in their stomach, or if they are of low weight. Some people have the ability to drink more than others due to different genetic factors or simply because, over time, they have increased their tolerance. This is similar to other drug users. The irony is though, that being able to “hold your alcohol” is an indication that you may actually have a drinking problem.

There are as many different reasons why alcoholics drink as there are alcoholics. Each story is individual and has different factors involved, purely because each person is an individual with their own complex background, history and personal experiences.

The answer, unfortunately, is that alcoholism is a severe mental illness caused by a chemical imbalance within the brain. Just like anyone else with any kind of mental illness, such as anyone suffering from depression, stress or an eating disorder, an alcoholic is completely unable to simply ‘shake it off’ and stop drinking.

That’s the simple explanation, but for a more scientific answer, see below:

In a normally functioning brain, chemicals called neurotransmitters help the brain to communicate efficiently with every other area of the body.

Once someone starts drinking, this interferes with the balance of the brain and affects the neurotransmitter pathways. The ethanol in an alcoholic drink suppresses glutamate, an excitatory neurotransmitter, causing slurred speech and lack of co-ordination. The main inhibitory neurotransmitter, Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is also affected by ethanol and is responsible for that feeling of wanting to drop off to sleep. Dopamine and serotonin release is also stimulated by drinking alcohol, and these neurotransmitters are what creates those feelings of being happy, excited and euphoric that the drinker can begin to crave.

Over time, less dopamine is released, and it takes more alcohol to get the same feelings of excitement and euphoria, and this can lead to alcohol addiction, with the accompanying withdrawal symptoms as the brain gets used to having alcohol present.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) is part of the US National Institute of Health and works with both US and international organisations to study the effects of alcohol and alcohol addiction and find new treatments. While alcoholism isn’t fully understood yet, according to their research, the brain of a heavy drinker may start to respond to drinking alcohol quite differently than the brain of someone who doesn’t drink a lot, as the human brain can begin to adapt to the presence of alcohol.

These changes in the brain could be responsible for withdrawal symptoms, alcohol tolerance and ultimately alcohol dependence. The changes in the brain could also be why alcoholics continue to drink in an effort to avoid any withdrawal symptoms, and to hit that high they crave until they get to the point of hitting rock bottom and deciding to stop for good.


It’s a sad fact that trying to stop drinking is incredibly hard and some alcohol addicts can’t manage to quit for good. The changes in the brain explain why people find it so easy to fall back into the same old ways and continue to drink. The brain’s craving for alcohol will be quickly reactivated, especially if the addict has been used to drinking heavily for a very long time, or if it hasn’t been very long since their last drink.

After that first drink, with the cravings reawakened, it is all too easy to go back to their old lifestyle and find themselves living through the exact same problems and issues as before.

Family and friends can unfortunately suffer a great deal if they are close to an addict, not just with dealing with the fact that a loved one is an alcoholic and can’t seem to help themselves despite all the problems they are causing for themselves and for their close friends and family, but also with having to deal with someone they previously trusted telling outright lies.

When you’re close to a situation like this, it can be incomprehensible. Why on earth would someone continue to lie to you when it’s obvious what they are doing, and when you’ve told them you know they are lying?

• A big part of this behaviour isn’t lying to you, it’s lying to themselves. The alcoholic doesn’t want to face their addiction or acknowledge where they are and what situation they’re in. They don’t want to tell themselves the hard truth that they can’t stop drinking, or that they’re homeless because they lost their job and their partner left them due to their addiction. It’s much more palatable to tell themselves that they can stop drinking whenever they like, and that they are leaving their old job to get something that’s much better. It’s denial and avoidance.

• An addict will also lie to enable and preserve their addiction. Again, in part, it’s lying to themselves about how they are making their loved ones feel and about their behaviour, but it’s also lying to their close friends and family to keep them in the dark and allow the drinking to continue.

• Alcoholics will also look to avoid arguments and confrontation. They’ll hide how much they drink, lie about their problems and their debts, and do their best to present a normal façade while they carry on drinking. Addicts don’t always have good coping skills in general, and avoiding confrontation means they don’t have to fully deal with their addiction.

Lying is only a part of the problem of addiction, and alcoholics need help to uncover the underlying problems that have caused their addiction so that they can move forward with their lives and live addiction free.

The blame game is all bundled in with lying, and alcoholics blame everyone else but themselves and their drinking for their problems so that they can deny that there is a problem and avoid having to do anything about it.

• Alcoholics will often blame other people or situations in order to avoid admitting that they are the one with the problem and that they do have to get treatment and help in order to recover.

• The idea of never having a drink again can be an incredibly hard thing to face, and putting the blame elsewhere can be so much easier, and allows the addict to keep on drinking. For the addict, alcohol isn’t a problem, it’s a solution to get them through the day and to allow them to face any emotional problems, and the idea that this simply isn’t true can be a terrifying and intolerable thing to cope with.

• Change can be frightening and facing their problems and going to alcohol rehab to start on the road to recovery can be a change too far for many alcoholics. It’s easier to carry on down the same path and place blame on anyone and anything else.

• The out of character way that an addict can behave when they are drinking heavily isn’t necessarily something that they won’t remember in the morning. All too often, an alcoholic knows exactly how badly they’ve behaved, they know how much they’ve hurt people and made a fool of themselves, and they feel shame and embarrassment at what they’ve done. The chance to blame outside situations and other people can be extremely tempting when the addict can tell themselves a comforting story that it wasn’t really their fault.

The alcoholic has to get to the point where they face up to and admit that they have a problem and they need help. They can then move past blaming everyone and everything but themselves and start to work on recovery and taking back control of their own lives.

Of course it’s upsetting and can be incredibly hurtful when a loved one lies to you and flings blame around rather than looking to themselves, so you do have to challenge them about what they are doing, but try not to get personal with insults or be very defensive.

It’s very hard but do your best to be supportive and calm, and be someone that the addict in your life feels they can talk to and open up with. You have more chance of them telling you that they have a problem and asking for your help to do something about it, if you can offer support and a listening ear.

Most people will have heard of cirrhosis of the liver and understand that the condition is caused by long-term damage of the liver through heavy drinking, but other organs in the body can be seriously affected by alcohol, and the heart is one of them.

Abuse of alcohol can bring about a condition called alcoholic cardiomyopathy, where the heart muscle is weakened and it can no longer pump blood as effectively. Not only does this have an effect on other organs in the body that are not getting the blood they need, but the heart itself can begin to expand to hold the excess blood that is not being pumped correctly. The heart can enlarge and become thinner, to the point that the vessels and muscles cannot function properly.

If untreated, alcoholic cardiomyopathy can lead to congestive heart failure.

From the CHEST Journal “In the United States, in both sexes and all races, long-term heavy alcohol consumption (of any beverage type) is the leading cause of a nonischemic, dilated cardiomyopathy, herein referred to as alcoholic cardiomyopathy (ACM). ACM is a specific heart muscle disease of a known cause that occurs in two stages: an asymptomatic stage and a symptomatic stage. In general, alcoholic patients consuming over 90g of alcohol a day (approximately seven to eight standard drinks per day) for longer than 5 years are at risk for the development of asymptomatic ACM.”

Unfortunately, some people don’t show any symptoms at all until the condition has already developed and progressed to the point where heart failure could happen. If you do show any of the symptoms listed below, please contact a doctor urgently:

• Lack of appetite
• Fainting or dizziness
• Shortness of breath
• Swelling of feet, ankles and legs
• Feeling weak
• Fatigue
• Rapid, irregular pulse
• A change in how often you pass urine
• Coughing up of pink-coloured mucus

Much like one of our alcohol rehab programmes, there isn’t a set treatment for alcoholic cardiomyopathy as much of what can be done depends on the individual and the state of their health. While everyone will be told to stop drinking to avoid weakening the heart any further, you may have to change your diet to help with your condition, or be given beta blockers or ACE inhibitors if you have high blood pressure.

The aim is to manage the condition and anything that would contribute to it, and control any of your symptoms so you can live a normal life.

Although no-one can guarantee it, it is possible that following your treatment plan could prevent progression of the disease or even reverse it.

Alcohol Detox FAQs

If you are addicted to alcohol, before you can go through alcohol rehab to set yourself on the path to recovery, you will need to go through alcohol detox. This is very dangerous and should not be tried on your own as it is possible to die from the withdrawal symptoms, such as seizures and delirium tremens (often known as ‘the DTs’).

Rather than put yourself at risk detoxing on your own, at Serenity Rehab, we can help you through your detox with suitable medications to reduce any withdrawal symptoms, and support from our staff, many of whom have been through a full alcohol detox and rehab programme themselves.

Detox is short for detoxification and basically means removing the toxins – i.e. the alcohol or drugs – from your body.

While detoxing can be done naturally at home, you will have withdrawal symptoms, and particularly with alcohol, those symptoms can be fatal, so it’s best to speak to someone, such as your doctor or your rehab clinic to decide whether home detox is suitable for you, or whether you will be better going through medical alcohol detox in a proper facility, where you are under observation throughout and have suitable medication to help you with your withdrawal symptoms and keep you more comfortable.

Your body will change when you no longer have alcohol in your system as part of the detox process, and you will then be ready to go forward into alcohol rehab.

This will differ for each patient as everyone’s body and tolerances are different, but you can expect that between 6 and 12 hours after your last drink that you could start to have trouble sleeping, you may feel stressed, have hand tremors, lack of appetite, an upset stomach, headaches and sweating.

Between 12 and 48 hours, your symptoms may get worse, and you may have tonic-clonic seizures, withdrawal seizures and hallucinations.

From 48 to 72 hours into detox, your hallucinations may get worse, and you could get delirium tremens, with disorientation, high blood pressure, high temperature and an elevated heart rate.

At Serenity Rehab Clinic, we expect that detox will take between seven and 10 days before your body is completely free of alcohol.

Those symptoms might sound frightening and off-putting, but don’t let that stop you from getting help. At the clinic, we will do everything we can to alleviate your withdrawal symptoms with medication if suitable, and with our staff helping and supporting you throughout.

You don’t have to do this alone.

This can depend on how long you have been drinking and how heavily, and also on your own individual body response to withdrawal.

If you have been drinking heavily for a very long time and you suddenly stop, you could suffer from Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome (AWS), which can include life-threatening seizures.

No matter how long you’ve been drinking, please consult your doctor or your rehab clinic for the best way to do your alcohol detox as we can give you the best advice depending on your unique situation.

Serenity Rehab can help you with both outpatient and inpatient detox. Before a decision is made, a doctor will do a thorough physical examination of you and take a look at your medical history and your history with alcohol, before deciding on the best option for you.

If the doctor believes you can detox on your own at home, with check-ins from family members or friends, then that option will be open to you, and you can go through the detox process in the comfort of your own home.

There is a possible risk with that as you won’t have medical supervision on hand if something goes wrong, but the doctor won’t recommend outpatient detox if they don’t think you are in a good position to go with that option.

With inpatient detox, you’ll stay in our stunning clinic and have medical staff on hand 24/7 to help you and support you in one of our specialist treatment rooms. We can also prescribe any suitable medication to help mitigate any withdrawal symptoms, including anti-seizure drugs, beta blockers to help reduce your heart rate and any tremors (beta blockers may also help with your alcohol cravings), and anti-anxiety drugs.

It must be stressed that alcohol detox isn’t a cure; it’s simply the process of removing the alcohol from your body.

You must go through a full alcohol rehab programme if you want to live a full life and start the road to recovery from your addiction. You’ll receive counselling, and a range of options, such as CBT, 12 step, art therapy and more to give you the tools you need to change negative thought patterns and help you cope back in your normal life.

Clinic Guidelines Rules and Regulations FAQs

We will arrange an admission time and, except in emergency cases, organise an initial assessment. In general, admissions will take place from Monday to Thursday before 2pm.

Upon arrival, procedures will be clearly explained to you. You will be expected to inform staff if you are taking any medications that might interfere with drug or alcohol testing, and you will undergo a urine test. Any valuables which you are carrying will be checked, and your bags will be searched for any alcohol, drugs or drug paraphernalia.

You will be introduced to your counsellor and assigned a “buddy” from among the other clients to help you settle in. If you require physical detox, this will be organised, and a time will be set for a GP visit.

All alcohol, drugs and drug paraphernalia are completely forbidden. This includes toiletries that contain alcohol. You may be asked to surrender your mouthwash, perfume, aftershave etc if it contains alcohol.

If you are taking any medication, staff must be informed and you must hand it in. You will receive it at the necessary times.

Knives and other sharp objects that may be used for self-harm must also be surrendered. In general, your bags will be searched upon admission and prohibited items will be removed immediately.

Serenity Health Drug and Alcohol Rehab has a strict abstinence-only policy. We have procedures in place to ensure that this rule is followed, and if we suspect that any client has been using drugs or alcohol while in treatment, we reserve the right to carry out testing.

If testing proves that a client has used drugs or alcohol, they will be discharged, and cannot return to the treatment centre for at least four weeks.

Our abstinence-only policy extends to staff, too. Serenity Health Drug and Alcohol Rehab has zero tolerance for either clients or staff using drugs or alcohol.

There are several reasons why a client may be discharged from the clinic. We are dedicated to ensuring that our clinic is a safe environment for addicts trying to overcome their problems. If an individual is preventing us from achieving this, they will be asked to leave. Reasons for discharge include:

* Taking drugs, alcohol, unprescribed medication, or other mood-altering substances
* Violent activity – whether physical or verbal – towards other clients, staff members, or the public
* Any illegal activities. This includes credit card fraud, benefit fraud, shoplifting, and stealing from other clients. If any of these activities take place, the policy may be notified.
* Self-harming
* Refusal to undergo drugs or alcohol testing when requested

We still care about our clients even in the unfortunate circumstance of a discharge from the clinic. If a client is discharged, we will do our best to ensure that they have a place of safety to return to. 

After a period of four weeks, the client may be able to return to the treatment centre. However, this depends on the reason for the discharge, and we expect clients to show commitment to improving their behaviour to avoid any future incidents.

Every week a community group is held at the clinic, enabling clients to discuss the week’s activities as well as any issues that they might have. The Counselling Team will be present at these meetings and will pass on any clients’ concerns to the rest of staff at the next staff meeting.

If you would rather not raise an issue in a group environment, you can always ask to speak privately to your allocated counsellor or support worker, or to a member of the management team. Again, any issues raised in private will be discussed at the next staff meeting or in an appropriate forum.

Either way, the outcome of your issue will be reported directly to you when it has been resolved.

Some treatment centres will allow you to keep your phone, while others will take the phone while you are going through first stage treatment. If your phone is taken you will be able to keep contact with loved ones through the office telephone

You can not smoke inside any treatment centres, there will be an outside space with a gazebo when you can smoke.

Drug Detox FAQs

Some individuals will recover from drug dependency successfully without the assistance of professionals, but this is very rare. In certain circumstances, trying drug detox alone can be extremely dangerous.

Undergoing any medically supervised detox at treatment centres or at home allows individuals to access medical professionals and nursing staff who will ensure client comfort and stability, while making sure you remain safe at all times. It’s also possible that medications or treatments could be prescribed to help ease the discomfort of the withdrawal process.
Rehab centres offer a variety of activities and benefits for anyone going through the detox procedure. Some of the different services that tend to be available include:
• 12-step recovery programmes
• Self-help programmes and talking therapies
• Medical supervision and treatments
• Help with relapse prevention
• Individual and group therapies
• Family well being, information and counselling
• Follow up care services

Drug detox is an important physical step in the journey to recovery. During this time, the body is detoxified – that is to say, all traces of drugs are metabolised and then cleared out of the system. During this time, addicts often experience intense withdrawal symptoms which can make it extremely difficult to complete the process without professional help.

The process of detox varies from individual to individual. In some cases, medical treatment is necessary, and addicts may be prescribed medications to help deal with a process that can be intensely uncomfortable or painful. In others, medication is not needed.

Detox is necessary for anyone who is suffering from a chemical dependence. If you start experiencing physical withdrawal symptoms when you attempt to stop using drugs, then detox will help you. The same is true if you suffer from psychological symptoms, such as anxiety or depression, when not taking drugs.

Yes. If you are attempting to detox from stimulants like cocaine, you can usually expect to have around 72 hours of discomfort, but after that, the physical process will ease up significantly. Opioid drugs such as heroin tend to present a lot more difficulty. The physical process of detox generally takes longer than in the case of other drugs, and attempting an unsupervised detox can result in severe health consequences. For this reason, it is always best to seek professional help before beginning the detox process.

The answer to this question depends on the individual’s circumstances. Some patients will find that the process is faster than others. Factors that affect detox include the drug in question, the duration of use, the amount that you are used to taking, and your current health conditions.

It is estimated that the average length of detox doesn’t usually take more than eight days. However, it’s important to remember that this number only refers to the physical process of removing drugs from your system. Dealing with the emotional and psychological side of addiction can be a much longer process.

No. Detox is an important step on the journey to recovery, but it must be recognised for what it is: a part of a much longer road. While uncomfortable, painful and extremely difficult, detox alone will not cure an addict. Following detox, it is important to continue with a treatment programme that focuses on behavioural therapy and the emotional and psychological side of addiction. Without a proper treatment programme, many users relapse into bad habits.

There is no “one size fits all” detox experience – every individual is different and will experience withdrawal symptoms in their own way. However, common withdrawal symptoms can include cold sweats, anxiety, troubled sleep, watery eyes, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhoea, constipation and hallucinations. Psychological symptoms can include paranoia, fatigue and depression. Withdrawal symptoms are extremely unpleasant, and while experiencing them, you may feel like the world is ending. However, they are only temporary, and they will eventually disappear, however painful they may be at the time.

Drug Rehab FAQs

Rehab centres are part of the drug addiction recovery process. Every rehab centre will have a different programme of treatments, therapies and activities and they will provide a unique environment which can operate utilising different philosophies and approaches to treatment, so it is very difficult to try to describe a typical rehab treatment facility. For example, a specific drug rehab facility could offer long-term treatments in exclusive and luxurious accommodation, while providing an overriding approach to address clients’ overall sense of happiness and health. An alternative rehab centre could be located in a simple, countryside setting and might put more focus on healing the family members of the client with the drug addiction.

All rehab centres have some treatment facilities in common, including being drug-free environments, providing counselling services and offering a treatment approach that is personalised to each individual.

The provision of a drug-free environment is a basic requirement for all rehab centres as it gives all clients a safe zone for recovery. It’s possible to set aside any thoughts or fears about accessing your drug of preference while staying in rehab.

Recovering from drug addiction will be an ongoing process that takes place for a long while after treatment has ended. Indeed, many people consider drug addiction to be a condition that lasts a lifetime. It’s very difficult to give an accurate answer about the length of the recovery process, as every individual is different.

This may seem a daunting prospect, but the good news is that strategies and support networks and systems are in place for recovering addicts once rehab has been completed.

Although you can consider recovery as a life-long process, it doesn’t have to be depressing, it’s true that many people have re-built successful lives and remained free of drugs for several years or decades.

Most people think that drug addiction recovery will mean cutting contact with family and friends for a long period of time, but there are plenty of treatment centres that provide detox and rehab facilities for clients needing to keep in constant contact with family and friends throughout their stay.

Most people think of inpatient rehab centres that require guests to stay on site, but there are a range of outpatient treatment programmes that just require attendance for the day, offering the ability for clients to return home in the evening to spend time with family and friends.

Addicts and their close friends and family often enquire about the length of the recovery process. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to answer this question. Different treatment programmes will take varying amounts of time, although, if you were to register for a short-term treatment programme option, you could probably expect it to take between one and three months.

The counselling services provided in drug treatment centres will be an important component of the treatment and help aid successful recovery. It’s important to take advantage of the counselling service offered by professional therapists in rehab, even if you don’t want to participate in individual or group counselling sessions that are available. The counselling given by professional therapists aims to help you address the causes of your addiction and prepare yourself for leading a drug-free existence.

You can expect your drug rehab facility to provide personalised treatment geared to your needs. Everyone’s experience of issues in addiction is different, so rehab centres work with you to customise the treatment to suit your needs.

Eating Disorders FAQs

An eating disorder is a disturbance in accepted norms for eating behaviours. These are usually due to an overvalued desire to be seen as being thin, although there are other possible causes. These include a biological vulnerability, and a range of both social and environmental factors. Then, once such a disorder develops, psychological changes strengthen the behaviours and help sustain irrational thought patterns. As an example of this: if an individual is starving themselves, this then increases their preoccupation with food and increases the risk of their binge eating.

There are two disorders that most people will instantly recognise by name. Anorexia nervosa is a form of self-starvation. Bulimia nervosa occurs when a person engages in repeated cycles of binge-eating followed by harmful actions such as starvation, self-induced vomiting, laxative abuse or excessive exercising. These are psychiatric illnesses centred on the consumption of food.

Two more common eating disorders are binge-eating disorder and atypical eating disorders. Binge-eating disorder resembles bulimia but sufferers don’t undertake the compensatory behaviours to prevent weight gain. An atypical eating disorder occurs when individuals are controlled by fears when eating, such as that of choking; or undertake unusual behaviours, such as chewing and then spitting out their food. 

Those suffering from eating disorders have an excessive preoccupation with their food, matched to a dissatisfaction with either their weight or body shape, or both. This is usually shown by their need to engage in extreme eating behaviours, such as fasting or binge eating. This is then matched with self-induced vomiting, the use of diuretics or laxatives, abuse of diet pills, chewing, spitting or regurgitating their food, and excessive exercise. Such behaviours develop into a ruling passion which then adversely affects the individual’s well being: physically, psychologically, and in social interactions.

There are many other conditions that might form part of the problem. Psychologically, these can include anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive behaviour, and substance abuse. Medically, these might include gastrointestinal complaints, osteoporosis, chronic pain, and infertility problems or irregular menstruation. 

Although there is often a perception that these mainly affect young women, one in ten sufferers of such disorders are male. In terms of age, the most common onset age range is between 12-25, but these disorders can occur at any time of life. Anorexia nervosa affects 0.5%, and bulimia nervosa 2-3%, of women in their lifetime.

It has been found that women suffering such disorders can tend to be perfectionists, are often eager to please others, can be victims of self-doubt, and are sensitive to the criticisms of others. They may be future-oriented yet have difficulty in adapting to change. Another, smaller group are more extroverted, impulsive, novelty-seekers, who can struggle to maintain stable relationships.

Such pressures, such as to be seen as being thin, are known to influence the dieting behaviours of individuals. Yet, taking the US as an example, although the majority of girls and women will diet at some point in their lives, less than 5% will develop a full-blown eating disorder in their lifetime. Therefore, a range of other factors must come into play for those who are vulnerable to developing such conditions. 

It is thought that abnormalities in the brain’s serotonergic and dopaminergic neurotransmitter systems can play a role in both the cause and the continuation of eating disorders. Studies of both families and twins have suggested that genes predispose (make someone more liable to catch illnesses or undertake certain behaviours) to an eating disorder. Further genetic studies are currently taking place to attempt to identify the genes involved in the development of key eating disorders. Taking these studies in combination, they suggest that it’s possible that there is an inborn genetic vulnerability in at-risk individuals. Further, once such behaviours are in place, this can lead to biological changes that help sustain the behaviours of the eating disorder.

Underweight individuals suffering from anorexia can also engage in bulimic behaviours, such as binge-eating and purging; in such cases the primary diagnosis would be of anorexia rather than bulimia. 

For underweight individuals, the achievement of a low normal weight is a priority for further treatment to be successful. Such treatments involve both behavioural monitoring and nutritional rehabilitation with the aim to normalise the individual’s weight. Psychotherapy treatment will focus on correcting the irrational preoccupations with both weight and body shape, and in preventing any relapse to previous damaging behaviours.

Practical interventions would involve careful monitoring of weight gain, and prescribing an adequate diet. Failure to achieve these might lead to inpatient hospitalisation (see question: Might inpatient treatment be necessary?).

The fear of being considered fat, and body dissatisfaction, key characteristics of this disorder, tend to extinguish gradually, usually over a period of a few months, providing the individual’s target weight is maintained. Between one half and three quarters of patients eventually make a recovery from this condition.

It has been recognised that, with patients under the age of 18, a family therapy approach, rather than just treating the individual themselves, has been found to be more effective.

No medications have been shown to facilitate weight gain in such cases.

The most effective treatment is cognitive behavioural therapy. This involves the individual self-monitoring their thoughts, feelings and behaviours related to this eating disorder. Therapy is then focused on identifying those environmental triggers or irrational thoughts, feelings and states that lead to either bingeing or purging. Actions are taken to help with normalising eating behaviour, including showing individuals how to challenge any beliefs they have regarding their weight or self-esteem.

Anti-depressants have been found to be effective in decreasing bingeing and purging behaviours.

Bulimia nervosa in most cases, can be treated on an outpatient basis. With anorexia, speciality inpatient programmes which combine close monitoring of an individual’s behaviour matched with psychological therapy, are generally very effective in achieving weight gain when this has not occurred in an outpatient environment. 

When an individual, or those concerned for their welfare, believe someone may have an eating disorder, this may be due to a preoccupation with food or weight. When this persists, or symptoms have worsened, then we recommend a comprehensive evaluation in one of our Consultation Clinics.

Here, the individual, preferably accompanied by a family member or significant other, will be seen by an experienced psychiatrist who will undertake that comprehensive review of their history and symptoms. Any necessary medical tests will also be completed, and other medical or psychiatric problems will also be fully discussed. 

After all diagnoses have been made and impressions analysed, our consultant will offer clear treatment recommendations. These could include further testing, medication or psychotherapy. It’s also possible that a further consultation with another of our medical specialist team might be suggested. 

Eating Disorders FAQs

Different people are affected in different ways, so there is no exhaustive checklist that can be consulted. However, some of the common signs of drug or alcohol addiction include:

* Unpredictable behaviour
* Anxiety
* Insomnia or oversleeping
* Pupils that are either very large or very small
* Slurred speech
* Lack of motivation

You may also find physical signs such as empty bottles, small plastic bags, scraps of cling film, and drug paraphernalia including bent spoons or syringes.

Please keep in mind that there are many other things which can cause changes in behaviour. Keep a close eye on your loved one if you suspect something is wrong.

When a family member or close friend is abusing drugs or alcohol, it can be extremely difficult to cope. You may feel guilty, as though you are in some way responsible for their problem. Remind yourself that you are not, even if your loved one lashes out and blames you.

You may also feel angry, frustrated or helpless. Your attempts to help your loved one may seem doomed to failure. If the problem is severely affecting your mood, you may want to talk to a doctor or a counsellor, or join a support group. Family and friends of addicts often suffer deeply, and it can be reassuring to realise that you are not alone.

Be very careful about this. If your loved one feels that you are nagging them, they may retreat further from you. It is important to be supportive of them. Be realistic: if they have a problem, they will not recover immediately. Talk to professionals or a support group for guidance about the best way to raise your concerns.

Even if they seem to be rejecting you, your loved one probably appreciates your support and care. Help them according to their needs: give them their space if necessary, let them talk if they want to, and don’t pressure them into moving too quickly. If they are actively working on the problem, it may not be helpful to continually bring up issues from the past. They are trying to move forward, and you should respect that.

During the aftercare phase, you should be supportive of your loved one without overwhelming them. If they feel that they are under surveillance, they may respond badly and become more secretive. Perhaps help them find ways of dealing with triggers and temptation – take up a sport together, encourage them to write a journal, or help them create a new routine in which drugs and alcohol don’t play a part.

Yes. It is important that a patient does not feel cut off from their existing support network while undergoing treatment, so Serenity Health organises visit times during which family and friends can come to see patients.

All treatment centres will have key workers assigned to each patient, they will be there to take calls and answer any questions around a family members treatment as best they can while not breaching patient confidentiality.  There are also mutual aid groups for family members such as Al-Anon, this is a group of family members you can talk to and attended meetings for support around your family member. There are also help line lines you call Like Frank or Adfam.

Guard Against Relapse FAQs

Relapse is when individuals start using drugs once again, following on from a period of being clean. Relapse rates for former addict’s range between 40% and 60%, so it could be said that about half the people who experience drug detox and maintain a clean lifestyle for a while will go through a period of relapse at some point. There are a variety of factors which can trigger relapse, including:
• Increased availability of substance
• Isolation
• Losing your job or unemployment
• Extreme levels of stress
• Reduced or lack of support from family and friends
There are proven techniques to assist recovering drug abusers with remaining clean and avoiding any relapse. It’s important for former drug abusers and family members to take full advantage of any aftercare services which are provided by treatment centres. Many rehab centres offer targeted relapse prevention sessions that will teach techniques for handling some of the most common relapse triggers.

Alongside taking full advantage of the professional methods offered for relapse prevention, individuals in the drug addiction recovery cycle often find it’s helpful to get involved in activities that promote a substance-free lifestyle. These could include things like sporting activities or athletics, taking up art or artistic pursuits, or offering time to volunteering causes and charities. These activities will be fulfilling and help create a successful lifestyle, but they will also occupy time and prevent you getting into the type of situations that could trigger a relapse.

Unfortunately, relapse is a reality for many rehab patients because recovery from addiction is a lifelong process. Relapse is not failure; it is a simply an obstacle in the path to sobriety. Individuals who relapse often return to a rehab programme to reassess their motivations for getting sober and reaffirm the skills learned during their first rehab programme.

These are two words that you will often hear in the context of recovery. Put simply, a slip is considered to be less serious than a relapse. A slip might be a single use of alcohol or drugs (for example, you may have an unplanned drink at a party). A relapse, on the other hand, is when you stop following your recovery plan or abandon it completely.

Yes – this is a danger that you must be aware of. One drink at a party is a slip, but if you consciously decide to continue drinking over the next several days, you are relapsing. Look out for patterns of behaviour: you might decide that you are “ready” to have a drink every Friday night, for example, but this return to old habits can be the start of a relapse.

After a relapse, many people feel extremely disappointed in themselves and believe that all their progress so far has been for nothing. But a relapse doesn’t mean that you have failed in your attempt at recovery. Relapses are a common reality for most people in recovery – what’s important is that now you’re better prepared to deal with it, and you’ve been working to create a roadmap to follow on your journey to sobriety.

Relapse is not inevitable, but it is common in many recovering addicts. It is not a sign of failure or a reason to give up on your journey. Some people never relapse, others relapse many times, but everybody can find their own path to sobriety in the end.

After a relapse, many people feel extremely disappointed in themselves and believe that all their progress so far has been for nothing. But a relapse doesn’t mean that you have failed in your attempt at recovery. Relapses are a common reality for most people in recovery – what’s important is that now you’re better prepared to deal with it, and you’ve been working to create a road-map to follow on your journey to sobriety.

Every week a community group is held at the clinic, enabling clients to discuss the week’s activities as well as any issues that they might have. The Counselling Team will be present at these meetings and will pass on any clients’ concerns to the rest of staff at the next staff meeting.

If you would rather not raise an issue in a group environment, you can always ask to speak privately to your allocated counsellor or support worker, or to a member of the management team. Again, any issues raised in private will be discussed at the next staff meeting or in an appropriate forum.

Either way, the outcome of your issue will be reported directly to you when it has been resolved.

A trigger is something that gives you a strong desire to use drugs or alcohol. It might be a place, emotion, situation, thought, person or object. Everyone’s triggers are different, and identifying them is an important tool in preventing relapse.

A trigger might be emotional – when you are feeling bored, stressed or overwhelmed, you might have the urge to use, for example. In this case, it’s a good idea to look for alternative methods of coping with these emotions, such as writing in a journal, going for a walk, or getting some exercise. It could also be something that brings back memories of your time using. If, for example, you pass a pub where you used to drink every day on the way home, you might want to start taking a different route. Talk with your therapist, counsellor or support group about your personal triggers. Making a list in a notebook can help, too.

Home Drug and Alcohol Detox and Therapeutic Services

Addiction of alcohol or dependence of alcohol is a disease. Human body have a natural system that helps in situation of stress to calm it down, by consuming large amount of alcohol disturbs this system. When a person consumes alcohol on regular basis, his body’s natural system cannot help body itself. So the person needs to drink alcohol to remain “normal”. They face many symptoms when they don’t drink alcohol, because of the reason that their body is unable to calm down itself. For keeping their bodies normal and feeling better they need to drink more alcohol.

There are very dangerous and dreadful symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. These symptoms may include the following reactions.
• tremors
• agitation
• excessive sweating
• nervousness
• Lack of sleep
• elevated beat
• elevated circulatory strain
Likewise, the sensory system turns out to be agitated to the point that occasionally it short circuits and triggers a seizure. In the most noticeably bad phases of alcohol withdrawal, the mind can turn out to be extremely befuddled or incoherent. At the point when this perplexity happens alongside unsettling or tremors, individuals create Delirium Tremens (DTs) — which can be dangerous.

We have a outpatient program that is very safe and effective, this is the alternative of inpatient detox and self detox. First the patient is evaluated based on his condition, and then we apply the most suitable approach. We start with replenishing all the minerals and vitamins in the patient’s body that are wasted due to the alcohol consumption. We provide the medication that is necessary for calming the patient’s body and to overcome the withdrawal symptoms. We take a proper check on the patient so that we can have an accurate idea about the impact of medication.

After all the treatment we discharge the patient with any friend or family member. The patient comes again for monitoring for the next two days, so that he can have thorough checking, and successful recovery from alcohol addiction.

We have a complete procedure that provides close monitoring to the patient so that he can overcome the withdrawal symptoms. With complete monitoring we also provide medication necessary for the patient. Our outpatient Alcohol detox is very successful and free from any danger but still there are few risks that are present. These risks are as follows.
• Discomfort: it is very common for the patient to feel discomfort due to detoxification. We provide additional medication to the patient facing this issue.
• Seizures: it is rare that few patient face seizures during detox.
• Implant Reaction: there is chance that few patients may feel bruising or inflammation due to Naltrexone implant. There may be a chance of infection that can easily be cured through antibiotics.

Other Co-Occurring Disorders FAQs

When a mental health disorder occurs at the same time as a substance use disorder, it is referred to as a co-occurring disorder. Individuals with co-occurring disorders have one or more mental health disorders and one or more substance use disorders at the same time, which can have a significant impact on their lives.

Mental health disorders may vary in severity and might include:

– Anxiety
– Depression
– Bipolar disorder
– Schizophrenia
– Borderline personality disorder

Substance use disorders may include:

– Alcohol abuse
– Use of illegal drugs such as marijuana, methamphetamine, or heroin
– Abuse of prescription medicines

Only qualified professionals can determine whether someone is suffering from co-occurring disorders. Such professionals might include:

– Psychologists
– Psychiatrists
– Mental health counsellors
– Social workers
– Substance use counsellors

Before a diagnosis is made, one or more of these professionals may want to talk to you about your history of mental health and substance use. They may monitor you for a period of time to assess your health and make an accurate dual diagnosis.

If you think you could have co-occurring disorders, you could look for online resources to learn about symptoms of mental health problems or substance use disorders. However, you should then take your concerns to a qualified professional for a proper diagnosis.

Sometimes mental health disorders and substance use disorders simply occur independently of one another, and they happen to occur at the same time. However, in many instances, the disorders are tied together and one disorder may lead to another, or be exacerbated by another.

For example, an individual who suffers from depression may turn to alcohol to alleviate the symptoms. However, once the alcohol leaves the body, depression symptoms will return and they may be worsened. The individual may therefore find themselves drinking alcohol more and more regularly in an attempt to manage the symptoms of depression, which could result in alcohol addiction or abuse.

Similarly, substance abuse might cause mental health problems. This might be because drugs or alcohol can generate anxiety or depression, or it may be because some drugs can trigger mental illness in those who are already genetically predisposed to it.

Often, both mental illness and substance abuse can be worsened by circumstances influenced by the mental disorder or substance use. For example, drug abuse could cause loss of employment, financial difficulties, and problems with family and relationships, and these difficulties can all contribute to mental health problems, particularly depression or anxiety. Co-occurring disorders are therefore often cyclical and influenced by a range of factors.

It is possible for any mental health disorder to occur at the same time as substance use disorders. However, there is evidence of substance use problems being more common with certain mental health conditions. 

Below is the percentage of people with certain mental health disorders who also have a substance abuse problem:

– PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder): 85 – 90%
– Antisocial behaviour disorder: 82%
– Bipolar disorder: 71%
– Schizophrenia: 50%

Adolescents with certain mental health disorders are also more likely to have problems with substance use than those without the disorders. Those with attention deficit disorder, conduct disorder, or oppositional defiant disorder are seven times more likely to use substances. Those with depression are four times more likely to use substances, and those with anxiety are twice as likely to have problems with substance abuse.

Usually, patients will be treated for all co-occurring disorders at the same time. This is known as integrated treatment.

Essentially, integrated treatment works to treat all disorders as though they are simply different aspects of a single disorder. It assesses the interaction between all the disorders which are present in order to find the most appropriate treatment methods. This works to break the cycle which is common with co-occurring disorders, in which one disorder contributes or exacerbates others.

Sometimes, co-occurring disorders are treated individually, either parallel or sequentially. Parallel treatments mean that an individual has each disorder treated at the same time, but with different treatment methods and sometimes by different treatment providers. Sequential treatment is similar, but it focuses on treating one disorder at a time.

The problem with both parallel and sequential treatments for co-occurring disorders is that it can result in conflicting treatment methods or messages from treatment providers. This can make it less effective than the integrated treatment method, which is favoured here at Serenity.

Prescription Drugs FAQs

Stimulants, opioids and depressants of the central nervous system are among the most common drugs which are abused. Included in the list of stimulants which are seen to be abused commonly are methylphenidate and amphetamines, as well as some drugs which are used for the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Opiods on the list of prescription drugs which commonly see misuse are morphine, oxycodone and hydrocodone. Abused central nervous system depressants which are prescribed to reduce anxiety and encourage sleep include diazepam and mephobarbital. Then there are cough medications such as codeine and dextromethorphan which have been seen to be abused by some prescription drugs misusers.

Common ways of changing the form of a prescription drug in order to produce a more intense effect include dissolving the drug so it can be injected, or alternatively crushing it. This can speed up the time it takes the drug to enter the system because it enters the blood stream faster; producing a sedated feeling or in some cases, a heightened euphoria.

Prescription drug abuse refers to the problem of individuals using medical drugs which have not been specifically prescribed for them, or taking the drug in a way other than the means which are recommended. Typically, a person who misuses prescription drugs will take more than the dose which is normally recommended for medical purposes. In this way, prescription drug abusers are able to build up a tolerance to the drug which means that they require larger quantities in order to achieve the same ‘high’.

In the prescription drugs abuse hotbed of the United States, the issue is especially harmful within groups of young people, with around 2,000 days misusing a prescription drug for the first time. Around the world, as many as 20 million 12 to 17-year-olds per year are believed to abuse prescription drugs. Only alcohol and marijuana are recognised as substances which are more commonly abused than prescription drugs.

Prescription drug abuse is a problem which is rife all over the world. The growth of the problem is said to have mirrored the decrease of heroin abuse, with prescription opiates becoming more of an issue than illegal narcotics – possibly due in part to availability – in many parts of North America. Australia is a country which has faced its own issues where prescription opioids such as oxycodone, buprenorphine and morphine are concerned, with its population of prescription opioid abusers far outnumbering the amount of heroin abusers. In South America, too, prescription opioid abuse is more common than heroin abuse.

Reports from the United Nations show that Germany is home to as many as 1.9 million abusers of prescription drugs, while prescription drug use problems of some form have been witnessed in African countries such as Madagascar and Namibia. In short – this is a global problem which does not show any signs of going away soon.

Prescription drug abuse can develop from permitted use that began to treat a condition which needed medication. Once the mind and body develops a tolerance, more of the drugs can be needed in order to prevent pain from returning. Doctors are trained to detect the emergence of this kind of problem, usually when a patient has been requesting higher doses, and can then exercise their authority to take a prescription away, or alternatively limit the doses. In order to find the drugs which they need, users have then been seen to go from doctor to doctor in order to acquire the drugs which they need. Prescription forgery is another problem which is recognised as being a consequent problem of prescription drugs abuse.

Young people who become caught up in the issue of prescription drug abuse often acquire the drugs through friends who have access to pills, or from the medicine chests of friends and family members. There is also a black market for prescription drugs which involves ‘dealers’ acquiring large amounts of the drugs from doctors who are operating outside of the law.

Rehab Programmes and Treatment FAQs

Rehab is simply a structured treatment programme which helps people to overcome addiction and move towards a sober, healthier, and happier lifestyle. The nature of a rehab programme tends to vary depending on the type of addiction it is designed to treat, and the individual needs of each patient.

While the exact nature of a rehab programme will vary from individual to individual, most are made up of a combination of three key elements: detoxification, substance abuse therapy, and aftercare planning. Let’s take a look at each element in more detail.


Detox tends to be the initial step of any rehab programme, with the aim being to remove all toxic substances (i.e. drugs or alcohol) from the body. Detox should be medically supervised in order that participants can be made to feel as comfortable as possible throughout the process, and to manage risks associated with withdrawing from substances.

Sometimes withdrawal symptoms can be severe and even dangerous, but the level of discomfort each individual experiences depends on the type of substances they take, the frequency of use, and the doses usually taken. Each individual’s detox process is different.

Substance abuse therapy

After detoxing from a substance, participants can then focus on the behaviours and emotions surrounding their addiction in order to learn how to prevent future relapse. Therapy tends to occur in both group and individual sessions, and focuses on helping individuals to identify the cause of their addiction and address it.

In time, therapy will then turn towards education in relapse prevention. At this stage, participants will learn how to identify their triggers and the situations in which they would be at a high risk of relapse. Then, they will develop skills to prevent relapse and remain sober, in spite of risky situations or triggers.


Once the addiction rehab programme reaches its close, participants will work to develop an aftercare plan. This will be a strategy that is very personal to them to help them remain sober long after leaving the rehabilitation centre. Ongoing therapy and support groups commonly feature in aftercare plans, and in some instances individuals may be provided with sober living arrangements if it is deemed appropriate.

The length of a rehabilitation varies from patient to patient, depending on the nature of their addiction and other circumstances affecting them, such as co-occurring conditions.

Most facilities offer 30-day rehab programmes, but many patients benefit from 60 or 90-day programmes. Sometimes long-term residential rehabilitation is necessary to provide patients with a steady path to recovery.

Research has found that rehab programmes that last three months or longer offer better rates of sobriety in the long term. This is because they tend to allow more time for patients to work on the root cause of the addiction, and to practice sober living in a low-risk environment.

Professionals in the rehab facility will determine an appropriate treatment length based on a range of factors, such as:

– Addiction history
– Severity of addiction
– Substances used
– Co-occurring mental health problems
– Co-occurring physical health problems
– Co-occurring behavioural health problems
– Social, cultural, and spiritual needs of the participant

Rehab focuses on the earliest stages of recovery from addiction, in which people tend to have the strongest substance cravings and the temptation to relapse is particularly strong. It can allow patients to detox and withdraw from a substance safely and with minimal distractions or triggers, and then provides them with the skills they will need to recover from addiction in the long term.

Drug recovery is a far longer process, and it continues long after a patient leaves a rehab centre. It may involve ongoing individual or group therapies and support meetings. Some may also take part in additional hobbies or activities to support recovery, such as exercise, meditation, or art or other creative pursuits.

This long term recovery process is usually started within the rehab process, when patients establish an aftercare programme ready for when they leave the treatment facility. Research has found that these types of aftercare programmes make relapse less likely.

Yes. At Serenity Health Treatment Centre, anyone undergoing the treatment will receive full support. From the early stages such as intervention and detox, right through to relapse prevention as well as aftercare support. At Serenity, we pride ourselves on not just helping you through your addiction, but also addressing the emotional and psychological impact addiction can have.

Yes, at Serenity we are a fully accredited and licensed treatment facility with board-certified nurses, doctors, psychiatrists and doctors at your disposal – all of which are on hand to oversee the detox process and provide you with the support you need to tackle your addiction.

The detox and inpatient treatment programmes have been designed with any individual who is suffering from a dependency on alcohol or chemical in mind. The programme starts by ensuring patients go through a thoroughly safe medical detoxification by monitoring and stabilising any risks that may come about as a result of withdrawal. We also take any bio-medical conditions and complications into consideration before moving forward with the programme. Our detox programme focuses on ensuring a healthy recovery from any dependencies the patients may have, providing them with therapeutic interventions to give everyone the best possible chance of a successful outcome.

We tailor our treatments to best match the needs of the individual. That means no-matter if you have a dependency on alcohol, prescription medication or an illegal drug, the team at Serenity Health Treatment will get to work on providing you with a carefully designed programme. By designing our programmes around the individual, we are best placed to successfully facilitate your recovery. There’s no blanket treatments, instead each patient receives a treatment programme that takes all their individual considerations into account. 

A lot of our patients undergo a detoxification period when they first arrive. This involves gradually reducing the dosage of the drug over time. A common misconception is that patients are best placed to recover from their addiction if they go ‘cold turkey’. Whilst going cold turkey may have an immediate impact, it often leads to a relapse, which could potentially be life threatening. By undergoing a detoxification period, patients see their dosage decrease gradually, helping to increase the chances of a life free of drugs or alcohol once their time at the treatment centre comes to an end.

A medical detox is often suitable for common addictions including alcohol and cocaine. Addictions to drugs such as opiate, MDMA and crystal meth can also be combated by starting with a medical detox. Throughout our experience, we’ve seen patients with a reliance on everything from painkillers to barbiturates have their chances of recovery dramatically increased thanks to their choice to consent to an inpatient detox. Every detox undertaken at Serenity is done under the close supervision of medical experts.

The detox process is overseen by experienced and fully certified medical professionals. At Serenity Health, patients have access to doctors and nurses as well as psychiatrists and counsellors for the duration of their stay. All of the patient treatment programmes are designed by medical professionals who are also on hand to offer constant support throughout the treatment.

Your detox treatment will begin with a thorough and careful assessment of your dependence. On top of that patients will undergo a physical examination so that we can accurately assess the extent of your addiction. Once the assessment and examination has been completed, you’ll sit down with a medical professional who will discuss their findings with you. Based on those findings, you will receive a recommendation on the best treatment plan for your individual needs. Your comfort and dignity are highly valued, and that’s why you can be sure that you will know exactly what to expect from your treatment. All of the team are extremely experienced when it comes to dealing with a dependence on drugs and alcohol and know exactly how to guide you through your treatment in a gentle and compassionate way.

Those who undergo an inpatient medical detox have a far higher chance of overcoming their dependency on drugs and alcohol. With help from experienced medical professionals, you’ll have access to a fully safe medical detoxification programme that both monitors and stabilises your withdrawal risks. Ideally suited to those suffering from a dependency on chemicals and/or alcohol, the inpatient medical detox will take your own unique needs into consideration and design a programme around them, giving you the best possible chance of achieving a successful outcome.

Every person will be different in the time they stay in our rehabs. Some people may only need 2 weeks while others need a little more time and can be with us between 28 days to 3 months. You may only start by booking at a 2 week programme then as you go further on in the treatment process you and your counsellor may decide you may need longer.

You do not have to work with anybody you don’t wish to. You can ask to change your key worker at anytime, most treatment centres will allocate same sex key workers for all their clients.

When you go along for your initial assessment, you will be asked some questions around your drug or alcohol intake, criminal history and family background.

Once you and the admin team have worked out how much treatment you will need, they will hand your notes over to a councillor and drug support worker, who will make a treatment plan to fit your needs.

You will be given a room and helped to be made as comfortable as possible. Any money you have will be recorded, you will be given a receipt and your money will be put in to a safe. You can then access your money as you need. You will need to ask a key worker or counsellor to sign a request for funds form, this is just to safeguard you around money, as money can be a trigger for relapse. Some treatment centres will not allow the use of a mobile phone, if this is the case, you will have access to a landline for incoming calls, and you can use money from your weekly allowance to make calls. You can also write to loved ones, while you are in treatment.

Firstly, you will enter first stage treatment, in there you will detox from any substance you are on while attended key work sessions and group therapy and morning cheek in.

When you go on to second stage treatment, you will have your completed detox, after a round a week you will have a bit more freedom. You will carry on with keywork sessions, groups, and one to one counselling. It will be part of your care plan to attend 12 step meetings, normally up to 3 a week. You will be able to have town visits with family, and friends at this stage.

After you have graduated from stage 2, you will move on to stage 3. In most cases this is supported housing. This is known as dry house. You will return to the treatment centre to attend the after-care program and see your counsellor. You will be encouraged to enter in some voluntary work, or adult education. You will still need to attend regular 12 step meetings, to maintain your recovery.

If you need to return home, you will still need to attend an aftercare program. This can be arranged in your area, or you can come back to the treatment centre.

After stage 3, the after-care team will support you in moving on in to your own accommodation and finding work. This is when your recovery journey really takes shape. And no matter how long you are out of treatment, we will always be there to support you in any way we can.