01:21AM, Monday 27 May 2013
A drugs and alcohol misuse treatment service has celebrated its first anniversary.
Alcohol detox nurse Jen Opara sees people referred by their GP before carrying out various assessments including a dependency questionnaire and medical checks.
The 34-year-old said many abusers are unaware that drinking five pints, or 10 units, a day is a problem.
"I have people in for an assessment and they say they are agitated, have anxiety, are shaking, and sweating.
"I then tell them they are withdrawals.
"People do not realise they have a dependency. I have had people that don't realise why they are feeling like they are."
Jen said alcohol misusers are given either a six to nine day community detox and severe cases are sent for a two-week detox programme at a clinic rehabilitation unit that involves 24-hour monitoring.
The Scottish-born nurse said alcohol addiction does not spare anybody and she assesses people from all sections of society.
"We have people who are isolated, unemployed or professionals working in IT and other good jobs.
"I have noticed there have been people who have lost their job or retired and drink more as they have no role to fill.
"They fill their time with a little bit of drink in the afternoon and then it spirals out of control.
"Generally most people are between the age of 40-50 but I do see younger people and individuals in their 60s."
Jen advised people to step back and look at how much they drink day-to-day - and the knock-on impact.
"It is about how it affects your life, relationships, job and other aspects," she stressed.
"When you have more loss than benefits from drinking and it gets to the stage where it impacts everything - then there is a problem."
A recovering heroin addict says the service 'saved his life' after his mis-use spiralled out of control in December.
The 28-year-old from Bray used the drug for six months before 'admitting to himself' he needed help after realising he was physically dependent as needed it everyday to function.
He said he started using it after someone introduced him to it and he was getting wraps for £20 once or twice a week, before needing it first thing in the day.
The father-of-one said: "I was living two lives and even my friends did not know I was doing it. I was living a lie to myself.
"This service has saved my life as it (heroin) will kill you eventually.
"You have to be honest with yourself and the best thing was admitting I had a problem and coming here."
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