Are you seeking treatment for alcohol but wondering what the next steps are? Thinking about speaking to your GP or attending an alcohol service? This page outlines the pathway into alcohol treatment.

Speaking to a professional

Your GP or alcohol specialist worker will ask questions about your current drinking habits and general lifestyle. This ensures that you’ll get support that’s right for you, whilst allowing you to give your opinions on what you feel will help you the most.

Making a plan

An alcohol specialist worker will meet with you for a further assessment. They’ll take a closer look at your drinking and ask what changes you’d like to make before creating a plan that will best support you.

Once you have a plan in action, you’ll meet regularly with your specialist alcohol worker to review how the plan is working for you.

A range of options

Your plan will be specific to you but your support options will depend on whether you are physically dependent on alcohol or not.

  • Non alcohol dependent plans

If you’re assessed as not being alcohol dependent you’ll still be provided with a worker and have access to a range of therapies. These would include one-to-one therapies such as counselling and group support such as ‘relapse prevention’.

  • Alcohol dependent plans

If you experience physical ‘withdrawal’ symptoms you will probably need a detoxification.


Detoxification helps your body to stop being dependent on alcohol. A detox involves taking medicine prescribed by (and with the support of) a professional and requires planning and preparation.

If required, your worker would explain the detox process to you and significant others in full. A detox can take place at your home or in a clinic where you would stay during the process. 

A detox alone is not usually enough to break free from alcohol dependence. Before and after a detox, you will typically have some one-to-one counselling. You would also attend groups with others who may find themselves in a similar situation. These ‘talking therapies’ help break the psychological aspects of dependence.