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Gillingham is a town based in the county of Kent, in southern England.
Despite its small size, like most towns in the UK there is a growing drug and alcohol problem.
According to the latest data, in Kent 39% of children (7 to 11) reported drinking alcohol, with one in four deaths amongst 16- to 24-year-olds being related to alcohol consumption.
With regards to adults, there are estimated to be 68,000 people with some form of alcohol dependency.
In addition, cannabis, cocaine, heroin, and synthetic drugs remain popular.
Despite this, self-referral to services is higher than in much of the UK (54%).
Kent is, fortunately, home to many great, free drug and alcohol services.
For those based in Gillingham or Kent, this article will highlight such services, discuss rehab options, how to access them, and precisely what treatment involves.
The nature of alcohol addiction – or Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) – can be complicated.
This is because AUD covers a wide spectrum, from binge drinking to people that need alcohol to function.
In general, however, AUD is defined with regards to someone that cannot control or stop their drinking, and drinks regardless of the cost to their health.
Some signs of AUD include:
Withdrawal is probably one of the most evident signs, as it suggests the person’s mind and body have become dependent upon alcohol.
Therefore, when the person stops drinking, the mind and body will crave it.
If the person continues to stop drinking, they will begin to detox – that is, expel the substance.
Common withdrawal symptoms related to alcohol include flu-like symptoms, shakes, headaches and sweats, and will be covered in more detail later.
Rehab, or rehabilitation, is a broad term that refers to recovery.
With regards to addiction, this means overcoming substance dependency through a series of stages.
There are usually four stages of addiction rehab:
Detox and withdrawal, as mentioned, is the process of the mind and body getting rid of the substance.
In some cases this will need medical assistance – this is where rehab is particularly useful.
Many rehabs will offer medical and emotional support during the detox process.
For many people, it is not enough to simply detox.
There are often deep, underlying reasons for why they use a substance.
Rehab aims to address this by providing therapy.
During rehab, people will undergo a range of therapies, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) or Group Therapy.
Relapse prevention, as the name suggests, helps people prepare for a life of sobriety.
People will develop a plan that will help them deal with potential triggers.
Finally, rehabs will offer aftercare – the provision of continued support upon finishing treatment.
This is general, and each of these stages will be altered to fit to the person’s individual needs, as will the overall duration of treatment.
Commonly, treatment and aftercare lasts between 3 to 6 months.
However, this could be longer or shorter depending on the person.
Age, gender, the substance being treated and how long the person has been using will all be taken into consideration.
Most rehabs offer 7-day, 14-day, 28-day and 90-day treatment programs.
Addiction intervention is an event, often organised by family and friends, to convince a loved one that they need help for their substance use.
Commonly, interventions are only held when the loved one does not want to receive help.
Although the main aim is to get the loved one to receive help, it is also an opportunity for family and friends to express their concerns and communicate how the loved one’s behaviour has impacted them.
However, the goal is not to berate, confront, or shame – it is a process of support and encouragement.
To achieve this, and because interventions can be emotionally difficult, they should never be spontaneous.
Instead, family and friends thinking of holding an intervention should spend time carefully planning.
This might involve deciding when and where the intervention will be held, and figuring out precisely who will be involved.
With regards to the former, it is important to choose a place where the loved one feels safe.
This also applies to who will be involved – make sure that it is only people that the loved one feels comfortable with.
It is also important to know what will be said beforehand.
Experts recommend writing it down and conducting a mock intervention.
If this seems overwhelming and complicated, people should consider employing the help of a key worker – a psychologist or intervention specialist, for example.
They will be able to plan and lead the intervention, and may be able to intervene should the conversation become heated.
There are also professionally developed methods that can help with interventions.
An example of this is Community Reinforcement And Family Training (CRAFT).
CRAFT focuses on communication and how to interact with a loved one to increase the chances of them seeking help, such as through positive behaviour reinforcement.
CRAFT teaches families three main strategies:
However, although these are the main strategies, CRAFT developed around the families’ specific needs.
This might involve:
Kent has placed a focus on developing free local drug and alcohol services, often exceeding national performances.
Free, local services in Gillingham and the wider Kent area include:
Each of these organisations and their services is available via self-referral or referral through a key worker.
Services that they provide, include:
Kent is also home to private facilities.
The average cost of private treatment is £300 to £500 per day.
This is expensive and might be out of financial reach for most substance-dependent people.
Therefore, it might be worth exploring funding from the NHS.
Through a GP referral, people can apply for funding via addiction experts that work for the local council.
In Gillingham, this would be Medway Council.
These experts will carry out an assessment and review the application.
However, residential treatment is often considered a last resort and is reserved for the most severe case.
People will be recommended, therefore, to try local and free services first.
There is also a long waiting list, and people can expect to wait 6 months to a year before funding will be available.
There are several types of rehab treatment.
The two most common, however, are inpatient and outpatient treatment.
However, they vary in significant ways.
These variables are worth consideration, as one might be more appropriate for a person’s need than the other.
Whilst undergoing an outpatient program, people will continue to live at home but will have to attend weekly appointments – this might be at a local facility or doctor’s surgery.
Outpatient treatment tends to be better suited to people that have less severe addictions.
This is because people might be surrounded by potential triggers.
Inpatient treatment also provides 24/7 medical assistance, which might not be necessary for some people.
Another consideration is that outpatient treatment usually takes longer to complete than inpatient treatment.
The former averages at 28-days and the latter 6 months to a year.
The main benefit of outpatient treatment is that it can often be accessed for free through public services.
As previously mentioned, the first stage of rehab is detoxification and withdrawal.
For those that have been alcohol dependent for a long time, it is recommended that they access a residential program.
This way, they can receive medical support and have easy access to medication, such as Librium – a sedative that reduces AWS symptoms.
Common symptoms of AWS include:
AWS can lead to some life-threatening symptoms, such as:
Mild symptoms usually occur several hours after a person stops drinking, with more severe symptoms emerging between 1 to 3 days after.
Most symptoms should only last between 7 to 10 days.
Cannabis withdrawal symptoms include:
Such symptoms can occur between 1 to 3 days after the person stops using and can last for up to 10 days
Cocaine withdrawal symptoms include:
Symptoms can occur within 30 minutes to an hour after the person stops using and can last for up to two weeks.
Heroin withdrawal ranges from mild to severe.
Mild to moderate symptoms include:
Severe symptoms include:
Symptoms usually occur between 6 to 12 hours after the person stops using and can last for up to ten days.
Common medications used to reduce heroin withdrawal symptoms include Methadone, Suboxone, and Buprenorphine.
Approximately 1 out of 4 adults in treatment for substance dependency also suffer mental health issues.
This is known as dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorder.
There is a clear relationship between substance dependency and mental health issues, with one often leading the other.
The reason for this is that substances damage a person’s brain.
If there are underlying mental health issues, substances can often bring them to the fore.
However, it is not just those with underlying issues.
Prolonged substance use can lead to mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and personality disorder.
Studies have also found that people with mental health are at higher risk of developing a dependency.
This is due to 1) the use of substances as a form of self-medication and 2) the propensity to use substances for a prolonged period as a coping mechanism.
Uncovering dual diagnosis is an important part of treatment, as it will influence medication and therapy type.
Different rehabs utilise different types of therapy and will usually offer therapy based on a person’s needs.
However, some types of therapy are more common than others, such as:
CBT is one of the most researched types of therapies and is often used when treating someone with substance dependency.
This is because CBT deals with negative thought processes – something that has been linked to addiction.
CBT has some main benefits, including:
DBT is based on CBT, but instead of focusing on thoughts, it focuses on emotions and feelings.
However, the same theory applies – that is that negative emotions lead to negative behaviours.
MI fundamentally explores motivations.
Concerning addiction, this might involve understanding the motivation to use a substance.
People seek to evaluate and change their motivations into new, healthy ones.
Most rehabs employ several forms of group therapy.
Group therapy involves peers meeting to discuss their experiences with detox, withdrawal, and addiction, for example.
The idea behind group therapy is to create a support network that also encourages accountability.
It also provides people with the opportunity to share their feelings and thoughts with people that have first-hand experience with addiction.
Relapse refers to someone that starts to use a substance again after achieving sobriety.
Relapse usually occurs in three stages: emotional, mental, and physical.
The emotional stage is when someone begins to feel negative emotions, such as frustration, anger, or fear.
Instead of dealing with these emotions, often people will bottle them up.
These emotions can occur dues to difficulties coping with triggers, environments or relationships.
The mental stage is when thoughts begin to focus on substance use.
This might be reminiscing about the fun they had when using or how much they enjoyed the feeling of using a substance.
This stage might lead to people thinking about using again.
The final stage, physical, is when the person starts using the substance again.
Rehabs will help people develop a plan to prevent these stages from occurring.
This might involve exploring triggers, developing emotional management tools, or focusing on how to seek help.
As part of this, rehabs will offer aftercare.
This includes continued support from the rehab, such as therapy and guidance with accessing support through local services, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA) or SMART Recovery.
To learn more about anything read on this page today or to begin your rehabilitation journey through Rehab 4 Alcoholism, please do not hesitate to get in touch using our addiction support line on 0800 111 4108 today.
There are various types of rehab centres available in Drug & Alcohol Rehab in Gillingham, including inpatient alcohol rehab, luxury alcohol rehab, and private drug rehabs.