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hidden drinking secret alcoholism

Secret Drinking – How to spot the Signs Of Hidden Alcoholism

How can you see the signs of secret drinking when people with an alcohol problem become so good at hiding it from those they spend time with? Many people enjoy a nice glass of wine occasionally, or a pint in a pub. But how can you tell when things get out of hand and alcohol consumption becomes an addictive habit? Alcohol addiction isn’t always easy to spot, and this can trick people into believing they don’t need help. This means it’s often left to those around them to notice the signs. You may be left wondering how you can see…

Smarmore Castle Performance

How are we performing? Recent Patient Satisfaction Levels

At Smarmore Castle, we regularly survey patient satisfaction to make sure we listen and respond to what our patients are saying. Recent surveys from the first nine months of 2020 – including the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic – showed some very positive results: Even with the inevitable disruption of the pandemic, we maintained a rating of 100% overall satisfaction – with 62% rating our overall treatment as “Excellent”, 34% “Very Good” and just 4% rating us as “Good”. The strong quality of care provided by our team came through very clearly, with “Excellent” ratings being given to our therapists…

Alcohol and Chest Pain

Causes, Symptoms and How to Help Picture the scene: it’s the morning after a particularly heavy night before in Dublin’s pubs and clubs. You wake up, and alongside the murky memories and bloodshot eyes, you also feel an ache in your chest. Does this sound familiar? Perhaps you’ve experienced chest pain after a binge-drinking session with your friends, or during the festive season when drinking is aplenty. If so, this may be part of a wider problem worth looking at.  Described above is what some medical professionals have called ‘holiday heart syndrome’– when you experience an erratic heartbeat, feelings of…

HOOKED  – An Exhibition on Addiction at the Science Gallery, London

HOOKED – An Exhibition on Addiction at the Science Gallery, London

I watch a rather world-weary woman reading aloud – a ‘goodbye letter to alcohol’. It is an exercise that I often use when working with patients at Castle Craig Hospital and will be familiar to anyone with experience of addiction therapy.  It is an effective recovery technique. Nothing new there. But this is an artwork, a video installation and what makes it different is that there is another presence in the video – a rather malign looking lady representing the drug alcohol, who gives a threatening yet poetic response to the goodbye letter. It adds something extra and gets me…

Feed Me - Sugar, Greed & Addiction. (A film displayed at the HOOKED Exhibition)

Feed Me – Sugar, Greed & Addiction. (A film displayed at the HOOKED Exhibition)

Feed Me by Rachel Maclean plunges you into a sickly sweet dystopian journey in a world of hardcore contrasts. Walking into the showing you are greeted by soft yellow bean bags, candyfloss pink shag carpeting and baby blue walls. At first, I admire how from the very moment you enter the room you are plunged into an atmosphere designed seemingly by a living angel cake; yet the sweet reception, much like the film, isn’t as it cute as it seems.   The character designs are unnervingly uncanny, dressed in infantile colours – from chick yellow, barbie pink, to baby blue…

Can Ireland Learn from Britain’s Drinks Lobby?

Can Ireland Learn from Britain’s Drinks Lobby?

There’s a useful lesson that Irish politicians can learn from Public Health England, the policy-making body of the NHS: watch out for the drinks industry lobby. In the British media there is a furore over the drinks industry’s influence over Public Health England’s policy on alcohol.   Professor Ian Gilmore, Public Health England’s adviser on alcohol, resigned because the agency refused to end its cooperation with Drinkaware — an NGO that is part-funded by the drinks industry.   In addition, 46 health experts sent an open letter to Public Health England saying “industry-funded messages and social marketing campaigns should not…

Hip-hop Teaches Millions About Recovery From Addiction

Hip-hop Teaches Millions About Recovery From Addiction

According to Phil Grant, an addiction therapist at Smarmore Castle, an Irish rehab clinic, “music is universal, whether it’s hip-hop, blues, rock, traditional Irish or ancient. Music is a way of communicating that doesn’t need words.” And writing about music is a good way to celebrate Recovery Month.   Phil facilitates a drum circle at Smarmore rehab clinic in County Louth (the clinic I’m working for). “We build community through rhythm,” he says.   At Smarmore, participants in the drum circle get hands-on experience of community building by learning: Respect for others in the group To listen and not talk…

In Recovery, Focus on Essentials

In Recovery, Focus on Essentials

You’ll have no shortage of advice about what to do in recovery. People will tell you to eat right, exercise, go to meetings, work the steps, make new friends, get plenty of sleep, and the list goes on. Most of this is no doubt good advice, especially if it comes from someone you trust, like a doctor, therapist, sponsor, or just someone who is strong in recovery. The problem is that you can’t do everything at once. If you try, you might just get overwhelmed and make no meaningful changes at all. The important thing is to figure out what…

How to Deal With an Alcoholic Parent

How to Deal With an Alcoholic Parent

Dealing with an alcoholic family member is always a challenge, but it is even more so when that person is a parent. The issues of having a mother or father with alcoholism are way more far-reaching than one would think. If you’re still underage and living with your parents, you could perhaps ignore the problem or you might try to take responsibility. After all, family is family, right? You should take care of the people that take care of you. Once you turn 18, you’re free to live your own life anyway. However, not everybody thinks several steps ahead. There…

Is Alcohol Addiction an Allergy?

Is Alcohol Addiction an Allergy?

There is a belief in AA that alcohol addiction is an allergy. This stems from an explanation in the Big Book about why some people are incapable of drinking alcohol in moderation. Dr. William Silkworth describes alcoholism as an allergy in ‘The Doctor’s Opinion’. He writes, ‘We believe […] that the action of alcohol on these chronic alcoholics is a manifestation of an allergy; that the phenomenon of craving is limited to this class and never occurs in the average temperate drinker’. The characterization of alcohol addiction as an allergy is somewhat confusing because there is such a thing as…