At my wit's end

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Hi all,

Looking for some help regarding my situation. I've drank between one to two bottles of wine for 3 years now and decided it was time to get help.

Went to my GP who referred me to an alcohol service. Went through the questions they asked and was basically told because I don't drink of a morning me hold down a job I'm not eligible for Librium. (I start drinking at 6 after work). Which I can deal with but I told the clinic I will not be able to cut down from this limit without help.

The alcohol team told me they would be in touch with an appointment for me... I am still waiting a month on. Rang last night and I was told to ring back again on Friday if I haven't heard anything.

Went to the GP today who, again, told me I couldn't be prescribed anything it was only the alcohol clinic who can do this.

I have consequently read up on Nalmefene (Selincro) and am convinced this is the medicine for me but for the life of me am unable to get a prescription.

I'm now in the position of being in limbo waiting for a lackadaisical alcohol centre to get in touch with me and not knowing where to turn?

It's as if I'm not priority because I'm not opening a bottle of a morning, but in all serious I can say my drinking is sabotaging my every day life.

Has anyone else experienced this? Has anyone combatted this?

Help would be appreciated.

Many thanks for your time.

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  • Posted

    "Has anyone else experienced this? Has anyone combatted this?"

    Yes and yes, with the aid of a sledgehammer.

    Often your GP will not want to get involved and will push you towards the alcohol recovery centre who have a one size fits all policy.

    I'll be back later to give a more definitive answer.

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  • Posted

    Hi,

    I had exactly that experience with my local alcohol service. They really weren't used to someone sober and in full time work, sitting there and coherently asking for help. They said I could have free ear acupuncture in a local clinic!

    Luckily I went armed with printed info from NICE when I went back to my doctor and he was willing to look into it and prescribed Nalmefene for me.

    I think there is now an official section on here on The Sinclair Method and Nalmefene so I would recommend printing that and the NICE guidelines and either returning to your GP or ask to see another one.

    Both Joanna and Paul on here may be able to add to that advice.

    Good luck and don't give up, you meet the guidelines specifications!

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    • Posted

      unfortunately when I went in to my GP today armed with literature regarding nalmephene I was turned away saying that the alcohol service is the only place that can prescribe any medication and I feel I'm being ignored by them and put on the back burner because, like you say, I'm there and coherent asking for help. Feeling totally disheartened with everything, you reach out for help but get ignored or turned away... Baffles me.
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    • Posted

      It's infuriating as your GP is completely incorrect.

      Can you switch GP within the practice?

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    • Posted

      No, I think it's the general consensus within my practice that you are referred to the alcohol service. I'm sure the service works for some, but for me, no. I don't know where else to turn. i even said to my GP today, is that the alternative I have to start drinking of a morning to get noticed?
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    • Posted

      I was in exactly the same situation. I couldn't get naltrexone or nalfemene from eith my GP or the alcohol advisory service I was referred to. I didn't drink enough to warrant it!! Complete joke. I had to fill in a drink diary for a month, although I did have acupuncture, which is very good.

      I even changed my doctors, but got the same result. I did manage diazapam, after a long struggle.

      I do feel for you as, not wanting to dishearten you too much, you face a hard struggle. RHGB will tell you his saga I'm sure.

      Stay strong. You will get more correct advise and support on this forum, than elsewhere. At least that's my experience.

      Good luck and be proud of yourself for wanting and asking for help with your drinking. Many don't.

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  • Posted

    Hi BK522

    i know how you are feeling. get to an AA Meeting asap there are plenty around here.

    if you let me help I can show you the ropes you have nothing to lose, costs no money, and everything (like your life back) to gain. get in touck. Rob2741

     

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  • Posted

    "I don't drink of a morning me hold down a job I'm not eligible for Librium. (I start drinking at 6 after work). Which I can deal with but I told the clinic I will not be able to cut down from this limit without help."

    "Went to the GP today who, again, told me I couldn't be prescribed anything it was only the alcohol clinic who can do this."

    "I have consequently read up on Nalmefene (Selincro) and am convinced this is the medicine for me but for the life of me am unable to get a prescription."

    Well, first off, as you can see, you are not the only person to be caught in this trap, trap of lunacy, where common sense seems to have left town.

    And yes, if you don't appear to be going down the offie first thing, you haven't got a problem, but woe betide anyone who dares to turn up drunk, they get short shrift, and they do breathalyse people, as I found out last week.

    The best thing to do, is listen to the advice that everyone gives, and take the bits that you find most suitable to your circumstances. First off, whatever Joanna PM'd you will be worth reading, she is knowledgeable on the subject. Nicole may give you some tips for going private if you do really hit a brickwall. Just for the record, nalfemene/naltrexone are very similar and for the purpose of your question, either would do you, unless there are certain circumstances, like liver damage.

    First don't be surprised about the alcohol recovery centre, nearly all are like that.

    Your doctor is lying when he says he can't prescribe anything, what he meant to say is he won't prescribe anything. if you seem him again, you can tell him that you know that the area prescribing committee recommendations on drugs, are guidelines, the GP can prescribe them IF he wants.

    I have a long winded story that I won't bore you with all of it, but I went to see one of these ARC, and they wanted me to wait 2 -3 months before offering me a detox - I'm on 9 prescription meds per day, I don't need to be waiting that long for a detox - my case is slightly different in that I shouldn't be drinking at all.

    So I went to see my GP and told him, he gave me some diazepam, which does pretty much the same as the librium that you weren't offered. It is a benzo and it gets you off the alcohol if you have a big problem, without bad reactions.

    At the same time I complained to the head office of the ARC (they have branches all over the UK). A director gave me a call back and emailed, Seemed quite genuine and didn't give me the usual corporate BS.

    A couple of months later, I was off the wagon again and went to see my GP, I was again given diazepam, a little more reluctantly this time and shoved in the direction of the ARC. It was during the inbetween periods of taking the diazepam, that I realised diazepam would help me short term, but I also needed medication to keep me off the alcohol.

    So I emailed the ARC director and said I wanted to try again, but at a different branch. It was like chalk and cheese. Told them what I wanted and why I wanted it, meeting with my case worker, health check with the nurse and an LFT. Then a meeting with the prescribing doctor. I don't know if it was down to what the director told them or they just have a different outlook. But I got the medication.

    The moral is, don't give up and don't accept no for an answer. I was one step away from issuing a formal complaint to the local health authority and the Chief Executive of the NHS of my county and I would have told the people concerned, that they had been warned that they were failing me and passing the buck - to see if any of them changed their minds.

    If you're not the type to challenge people and we are all different, it makes some people uncomfortable, then the private prescription is probably going to be the path of least resistance. Tapering may get suggested, but that is incredibly hard, because once you have had a couple of pints of glasses of wine, all determination goes out the window, and I think you have recognised that.

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  • Posted

    And they are supposed to be alcohol treatment specialists. I really do despair at how appalling the level of knowledge is even among the specialists. I have rarely heard anything so ridiculous as the statements I often hear that are made by people like this. No wonder people die with those as 'experts.' Alcohol Withdrawal symptoms can start any time up to 72 hours after the last drink (although it is normally sooner than that).
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    • Posted

      It must be so frustrating for professionals like yourself. You know the treatment which works the best, yet you constantly see here that we can't get it. It's a postcode lottery in my experience, and if you can afford to pay, you get the best treatment.

      I would love to know how keeping a drink diary for a month, is worth the time, expense and hassle  (travel expense), it took me to do, can work better than a prescription. I actually lied and said I drank more than I had, in the hope of getting a prescription. I'd previously been told I wasn't alcohol dependant so naltrexone was unsuitable for me.

      I don't see herion users being denied methodone for months, or being asked to keep diaries!,

      Sorry, rant over but certainly not at you. At the system.

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    • Posted

      Well, as you probably know, VickyLou. I work privately and I do benefit from the NHS and others not providing treatments that actually work. However, it is not all about money for me.

      1. I couldn't get a job in the NHS doing what I do because it doesn't exist.

      2. If I was working in the NHS (and this is the reason I walked out), I would be dictated to, regarding how I did my job by people who are not clinically qualified and have no insight into the responsibilities you have as a registered nurse. By obeying management, you put your registration at risk almost daily. So I did things my own way, upset management many times and eventually walked out.

      3. Modern, proven treatment methods do not fit with the idea of the NHS being able to palm patients off onto charity counselling services and AA which don't cost them a penny but which don't have qualified clinicians.

      4. There are so many restrictions on prescribing practice which are often determined by budgetary issues. For example, Nalmefene costs over £100 for 28 pills. Therefore, local policies dictate that GPs cannot prescribe these and they must be prescribed by a specialist, so the patient is sent off to the local alcohol service which often has nobody qualified to prescribe.

      I could go on forever but the main point is that it is great being my own boss and doing things that I know are clinically proven to work with nobody breathing down my neck.

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    • Posted

      Item 4.

      So, if Lundbeck could be persuaded to drop their price below a certain point, the GPs could then prescribe?

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    • Posted

      Or the patent runs out and you can buy a generic form. Much like Nurofen are still charfing £2 a box and more and you can buy unbranded ibuprofen for 32p for the same quantity.
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    • Posted

      Paul

      i wasn't for a second criticising you for working in the private sector, or anyone using private treatment. I've considered it myself, and am lucky to be in a position to go that route if necessary.

      Your advice and help on here is invaluable and much appreciated.

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    • Posted

      But it isn't really charity counselling. I mean, who donates money to Addaction and the like? And I could say the same about most of them, They are all government & EU funded anyway.

      You don't find yourself confronted by a little old lady rattling a charity box outside the supremarket, or accosted by chuggers in the high st. or requests in the paper to leave something to them in your will.

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    • Posted

      I don't think they would anyway as the vast majority don't understand how it works. There is a lot of work to do to get doctors to understand that Alcohol Use Disorder is a physiological disorder and not a lifestyle choice. The attitude towards sufferers is generally awful.
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    • Posted

      I agree, RHGB. Addaction IS classed as a charity but there will be contributions made by government, EU etc.
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    • Posted

      When I read up on the minutes of lots of local area meetings of the NHS about how they were going to fund the prescribing of this medication, the price of the medication was secondary to the price of the 'must have' additional support that has to be provided according to NICE guidance.

      GP's succesfully argued that not only were they not experienced in matter of addiction counselling plus didn't have the time or resources to provide it, but FAR more importantly, the counselling element funding comes from the Mental Health pot of money.  Since the GP's budgets were not being increased proportionately to include counselling (ie money was not being taken from the Mental Health budget and given to GP's to help them fund the counseling in their surgeries), then the GPs argued that they should not be expected to provide it!

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    • Posted

      Addaction is connected or part funded by social services where as alcohol Advisery is a charity. The reason I know this is a few years ago when I was still living in the family home with my now ex husband, I had a drunken crisis and through 2 glasses on the wall with anger. Smashed everywhere. My husband phoned alcohol Advisery askin what he should do(stupid of him and he regretted it. They informed social services as I had 3 children who were 12, 16 and 19. Myself, and my 2 youngest children had to be interviewed,in case they were at risk, by a social worker to check it was safe for them. Which they concluded it was. I've never smacked or physically abused my children in any way, ever. This was several years ago so it might have changed since then..
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    • Posted

      So it would take a less expensive medication (prescibed by the GP) and readily available counseling services to ease the situation. And then RAG complicates it further? 
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    • Posted

      Yes, I think it varies in different parts of the country but everything is disjointed in most areas. That is a poor advisory service that simply grasses you up rather than assessing the situation fully to see what help they can offer!
      Report

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