An interview with a service user: Ann’s recovery story

Name:                         Ann Taylor

Age:                            47

Marital Status:           Separated

Children:                     Two grown up children; Sam is 20 and lives with his father, and Georgia is 25 and lives with her partner and child.

Housing Status:          Private tenant, lives alone

Occupation:                Unemployed, has previously worked as a hairdresser



I’d always been someone who enjoys a drink, and my husband and I met in the pub in our local area.  When my children were young I didn’t drink much at all because I had to be responsible for them.  Once they got a bit older (at secondary school), I started drinking more again.  It started out with just a glass of wine on an evening, but soon I was drinking one or two bottles of wine a night.  My husband and I were arguing a lot around this time, and the alcohol was a bit of an escape for me.  We ended up arguing lots about the alcohol too, as he hated me drinking and getting into a state.  It started to affect other things in my life and I ended up losing my job through alcohol because I kept phoning in sick, especially on weekends and on Mondays because I’d usually drink more on those days.  My husband and I eventually split up five years ago and I moved into a rented place by myself. My son was 15 at the time and he said he’d rather stay with his dad than come live with me.


Experience of alcohol treatment:

The main thing that made me get help for my alcohol was when my first grandchild was born last year.  My daughter said I wouldn’t be allowed to look after Ruby by myself unless I stopped drinking and proved that it was for good this time.  I’d tried by myself before but I knew this time I needed help.  I went to my GP, who referred me to the alcohol team.  I went for my detox in an inpatient unit earlier this year, it was really hard and I was in there for two weeks.  They started me on Campral while I was there and I’ve been taking it ever since.  I’m not sure if it helps, I haven’t really had any cravings so I think it must be making a difference.  I sometimes struggle to take all six tablets every day, and sometimes I miss the lunchtime tablets because I forget to take them out with me.


Plans for the future:

I’m going to SMART Recovery groups and AA meetings to help me keep on track.  My relationship with my kids is already better than it was, they say they prefer me like this.  For the future I want to stay abstinent and be able to be around my granddaughter to help my daughter out.




Details is this article have been based on a fictional service user to keep the identity of individuals confidential  



ADAM Newsletter-September 2016

Autumn Newsletter  

ADAM Trial Pilot

With the change in season marks the beginning of the end of the pilot phase of the ADAM trial. Recruitment has offcially begun across the five study sites, with all sites successfully recruiting their first participant. Thank you to all the clinical teams for their referrals and ongoing support.

Recruitment update

We are pleased to report we currently have thirty-one participants recruited across all five sites and have begun to complete the first two-month follow-ups.

Our Birmingham site is steaming ahead with eleven participants successfully recruited. Researchers from all sites have been working hard with clinical teams to identify suitable participants. We will continue to work to reach our target of eleven participants per site per month.

The recruitment push will continue as we look to complete the pilot phase this autumn. Thank you for all the referrals so far and to all participants who have signed up!

A warm welcome to Maria-Leoni Koutsou!

She is the new research assistant based in Birmingham.


Delivering relapse prevention medication training to primary care

Following the identification of training needs in primary care services by Central North West London (CNWL) alcohol services, the research team  organised a training session, ‘Alcohol Dependence and Relapse Prevention Medication in Primary Care’ to provide an opportunity to build links between primary and secondary care services.

This training and networking event had over thirty GPs, practice nurses, pharmacists, consultant psychiatrists and recovery workers from across the eight boroughs in CNWL come together. The training session was delivered by Professor Anne Lingford-Hughes from Imperial College London. She shared her breadth of clinical experience and academic knowledge with the room. The session raised awareness of alcohol related harm and developed skills and knowledge to manage alcohol related problems in primary care.

The ADAM team are committed to building links between primary and secondary care to improve patient care and treatment pathways. The feedback from the event has been overwhelming positive. Special thanks to Ealing CCG and Alcohol Research UK for their support in organizing this event.



Who is your local research assistant?

Maria-Leoni Koutsou, Birmingham Research Assistant,

Kate Shirvell, Southampton Research Assistant,

Rachel Simpson, Yorkshire and Humber Research Assistant,

Kideshini Widyaratna, South London and Maudsley and Central North West London Researcher,

Understanding Alcohol Dependence

For many people in the UK drinking alcohol has become socially acceptable. However, it’s important to be aware of the harm alcohol can cause both physically and psychologically.





Alcohol misuse is a global problem and is the third leading cause of disability in Europe.

The NHS estimates that in the UK around 9% of men and 4% of women show signs of alcohol dependence.

Each year alcohol related problems cost the UK economy around £21 billion.

  • £3.5 billion of this is estimated to be NHS costs.

Regularly drinking alcohol over the recommended limit increases the risk of sixty diseases.

  • These include cancers of the breast, stomach, liver, mouth and throat, as well as heart disease, high blood pressure, liver disease and mental health problems.

What is Alcohol Dependence?

A pattern of routinely drinking excessive amounts of alcohol over a long period of time, and giving priority to drinking over other activities.

You may relate to the following examples:

  • Getting into a pattern of having a few pints after work to relax during the week.
  • Couples may feel the need to share a bottle of wine with dinner more often than not.
  • Feeling the need to be drunk at party before socialising to reduce feelings of anxiety.

 Familiar faces who have struggled with alcohol:


Warning signs of alcohol dependence include:

  1. Preoccupation with where the next drink is coming from: planning social, family and work events around alcohol.
  2. Having a need to drink and finding it hard to stop.
  3. Suffering from withdrawal symptoms which stop after drinking alcohol: sweating, shaking and nausea.


What are the causes of alcohol dependence?

There are usually several different factors.

These may include stressful life events such a losing a job or a bereavement. A family’s attitudes to alcohol and social environment can also play a part, as can as genes.


How to get help:

A good place to start is visiting a GP. Doctors can make referrals to a local community alcohol service or discuss the use of medication.

It is important to remember that if a person is alcohol dependent it is dangerous to stop drinking immediately, it is vital to seek support and gradually stop drinking.


Sources of support:

There are national/ local support groups and counselling options for those wishing to reduce their alcohol intake as well as online recourses.

Alcohol Research UK

Alcohol Concern     

NHS website            


There is also a range of apps and online calculators which can help people monitor the number units they consume.

For example:           


Read about the ADAM trial here