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Rehab treatment – don’t make this mistake

Alcohol has got you in its grip. You’ve tried everything: reducing your drinking, avoiding socialising with people who drink heavily, but none of it has worked. You see your only remaining option as going to your GP and asking them to refer you to a rehab treatment clinic. But you’ve heard that some doctors refuse to do that. So that’s the end of the road, right? Wrong.

You don’t need a GP to refer you to a rehab clinic for alcohol addiction, unless a private medical insurance (MPI) claim is being considered.

“I had no idea that I could be directly admitted into rehab without first acquiring a referral letter from my GP,” explains Carmen*. “If I’d have known that, I could have sought treatment much sooner than I eventually did. I wrongly assumed that, as it was technically a medical matter, my addiction to alcohol would have to be assessed and then addressed through my local medical practice.”

“There should definitely be more awareness of the fact that if you misuse alcohol you can be admitted into a private rehab clinic simply by contacting them directly yourself,” says Oliver*. “My long-suffering girlfriend, Chloe*, had always maintained that I didn’t need a GP’s referral. But did I listen? Like a fool, I didn’t.

“When Chloe researched the whole thing online and then made a couple of phone calls, I hit the roof. I was furious that she had looked into me being admitted into a private rehab clinic by calling them directly herself without consulting me first. Now I’m so glad she did. Since leaving rehab, I haven’t touched alcohol. I feel so much better for it.”

Benjamin* says: “A major problem so many private rehab treatment clinics have is removing the myths, and perhaps a certain element of mystery, about what they do: how it all works, who can have treatment, the admission procedure etc.

“You only tend to hear about rehab if someone famous goes into treatment. If rehab works for them, that’s brilliant. But it can create the wrong impression: that only the rich and famous can go into rehab off their own bat, while the rest of us have to hope our GP will refer us, which many simply refuse to do, for whatever reason.”

Is this you?

Have you been putting off taking that all-important step towards finally tackling alcohol abuse because you simply didn’t realise that you could do so independently of your GP? Don’t beat yourself up: you’re not alone. There is help to stop drinking out there from a variety of resources including in and outpatient treatment programmes provided by private rehabilitation clinics.

The good news is that admission into rehab can be quick. Clinic staff also realise that, for many people, finally acknowledging the need for professional intervention usually only occurs when they have hit rock bottom. You may have lost your job, be struggling with a number of alcohol-related health issues, feel that your family is on the cusp of breaking up, or that your relationship has broken down to the point where – unless you confront your addiction to alcohol – you will lose everything. That is exactly how Corinne* felt prior to picking up the phone and asking to be admitted into private rehab straightaway. It was a phone call that saved her life:

“It’s true. I was suicidal. I don’t know where I found the mental strength to make that desperate phone call. Because of my drinking, my career was in meltdown. My boyfriend had broken up with me, and my family and friends just didn’t want to know me anymore.

“Assuming you can only be referred to a private rehab clinic through a letter from your GP is one of the prime reasons why so many people put off seeking help for their addiction. I was lucky; my GP explained to me that I could seek medical and emotional help for alcoholism independently of her or indeed the NHS. There should be much more awareness of this.”

*All names have been changed.

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