One of the biggest obstacles facing those with addiction to alcohol is their reluctance to initially reach out for help. Many people who have crossed the line from social drinking to problem drinking are unable or unwilling to accept the seriousness of their situations. The idea that they may need addiction treatment is something they just cannot comprehend.
To them, alcohol is a part of everyday life, and it is something to be enjoyed either on their own or with friends and family members. However, while drinking in moderation is considered safe by many people, those who drink more than the Government’s recommended weekly amount of fourteen units could be putting their health and lives at risk. It is these individuals who are benefiting from an alcohol screening programme at Poole Hospital.
More than 20,000 people have been screened at Poole Hospital as part of the ‘stop and screen’ initiative there. Thousands of those who have been screened have been referred for support and advice, which has led to a dramatic reduction in the number of days that patients have spent in the hospital for alcohol-related injuries and illnesses.
The team receives up to twenty referrals per day from the screening initiative and can then provide bespoke treatment to those who would normally be reluctant to attend a traditional addiction service. They say that the initiative is leading to the improvement of the health and wellbeing of patients. It has also helped with the demands being placed on staff at the hospital.
Steve Carroll is one of those who have benefitted from the screening programme and who has accessed the alcohol care and treatment service to help him stop using alcohol. He said, “Other treatment services were available, but they just weren’t right for me. My treatment for a liver problem at Poole Hospital led to me to ask for their help to stop drinking, and that was my very first step. My addiction was very bad. It was a nightmare. I wasn’t a nice person. It was like living in a bubble and looking out. Life was happening around me, and I just didn’t want to waste my life anymore.”
He went on to say, “This led to being introduced to the alcohol treatment service over two years ago. Since then it hasn’t been easy. I never forget the first time I sat down here. I just broke down. A lot of it had to come from me and by golly did it come out screaming. With hard work and support from the treatment team and my friends, I have now turned my life around.”
Steve has managed to get his life back on track and is enjoying time with family and friends. He has even been on holiday, having paid for it with money he would have normally spent on alcohol. He added, “I’m still sober and want to say to anyone in a similar situation – just take that step and don’t be frightened to ask for help, that what it’s there for. The world is my oyster now. I’m so thankful the team is here.”
The screening programme at Poole Hospital has helped thousands of people get their lives back on track; many of whom would never have reached out for help through traditional channels. Head of addiction services at the hospital Graeme White said, “We are excited to have reached 20,000 screenings in such a short period of time, and it’s great to hear from patients such as Steve the difference our help is making to their lives. Hopefully, we’ve given patients like Steve the very best opportunity to lead a healthier and fulfilled life without alcohol.”
He added, “Overcoming an addiction to alcohol can be a long and difficult journey, and sometimes you may think it is impossible to recover. Our aim is to get patients to move as quickly and safely as possible through treatment to recovery by encouraging them to make long-term changes to their lifestyle. Our advice is, please don’t wait until you hit rock bottom before you make a change.”
Source: (The Bournemouth Echo) How Poole Hospital’s alcohol screening programme is helping people turn their lives around