Visiting your Doctor

These vital tips will help you reach out to your GP and get the help you need to start your addiction recovery in a safe and secure way.

Booking, and preparing for, your Doctor appointment

  • Take someone you trust with you if you feel it will make things easier for you like a family member or friend.
  • Don’t feel rushed this is an important topic, you can request a longer appointment if you need one.
  • Write down any questions you might want to ask your GP about your drinking or treatment.

What will happen during your visit?

  •  Your doctor will ask you some questions about your drinking. Be honest, and try to give as much information as possible about your recent and historical drinking habits. This will help your doctor to recommend the right treatment for you.
  • Keeping a retrospective drinking diary may help with the step above. Your doctor may also ask your trusted person for some input during this stage.
  • Your doctor may ask you to complete The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT). A questionnaire comprising of 10 questions, scored out 40, to assess your drinking behaviour. A score of 20 or more may indicate alcohol dependence.  In this case, your doctor may ask you to complete the Severity of Alcohol Dependence Questionnaire (SADQ) to determine the level of your dependence.
  • Your doctor may also take some test samples to help identify any potential complications that may have occurred because of your drinking. These samples will be tested in a lab.
  • Depending on the results of the lab tests and the score on the questionnaires, it is likely that you will need to enter assisted withdrawal, to prevent complications like seizures when you stop drinking. Your doctor may prescribe medication to help these issues. Do not stop drinking by yourself.
  • Depending on the level of your dependence this can be done at home, in a community setting, hospital, or residential detox facility.
  • Medical treatment is only part of the recovery process and there may be a wait for these services, so your doctor will suggest some community-based support in your local area, such as fellowships like AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) while you wait.