Alcohol Dependence

alcohol dependence

quick facts

One in five (20.6%) of Australians drink at levels that are harmful to their well being. The prevalence of regular drug taking is lower, with marijuana use remaining the most widely used illicit drug in Australia.

Alcohol use is also a major cause of drug or alcohol-related deaths. It has been estimated that approximately 5% of the total burden of disease in Australia is attributable to drug and alcohol misuse. Estimated cost annually 15 billion dollars.

dependency symptoms

am i dependent on alcohol or drugs?

Dependence means that alcohol or drugs are central to your life. It is very difficult to cut down or stop using.

Frequently this leads to isolation from family and community activities or life begins to revolve around drinking activities. There may be an increase in accidents, violence or crime and subsequent legal problems. The consequence of dependence may include frequent absence from work or school, poor job performance, loss of friends, withdrawal from normal activities and even loss of jobs.

Typically, a person with an alcohol or drug problem denies their dependency and can be quite defensive about their alcohol or drug use. Behaviour may become unpredictable and impulsive, losing the trust of those around them. Over time depression may develop along with guilt or shame about the problem.

Family and friends may be affected. A partner may try to hide the problem or even ignore it. They may find themselves taking on extra responsibilities, but be resentful and angry. They may withdraw socially and may become depressed themselves. Often partners and friends will also require help to cope with their loved ones.

Research by the National Drug Strategy shows that there is increasing acknowledgment that many people with substance problems are also experiencing various other psychiatric and psychological problems. These are often undetected, but can impact on the success of treatment services.

further reading

options for treatment

am i ready for treatment?

The road into dependency and addiction is often a long and slow one. Recovery therefore involves transitioning back through a number of stages of readiness for change. Because each person is different, the rate at which each person proceeds through the stages away from substance use will differ. Some will take weeks to proceed through a stage while others may take months to travel through the same stage.

Treatment assists the person to identify their readiness and motivation for change, whilst introducing the techniques necessary for behaviour change. Treatment also assists the person in moving through these stages. Preparatory work usually occurs at each stage and the person moves forward as they are ready.

Sometimes it will be necessary for the person to go through an initial ‘detoxification’ phase which may best occur during a brief hospital admission to deal with withdrawal symptoms.

drug and alcohol programs

The Alcohol & Drug Treatment Program of Perth Clinic is an innovative therapy program that offers a supportive and educational structure in which clients can assess their alcohol / drug intake, increase their understanding of it and develop strategies to deal with it.

The aim of the therapy is to assess and provide understanding of the individual’s problems, identify triggers and provide more effective coping skills in a respectful and caring environment.

If necessary an initial ‘detoxification’ phase may be included with a brief in-patient admission to the Perth Clinic to deal with withdrawal symptoms.

A wide range of material is covered in the program…

  • Defining a drug / alcohol problem
  • Dependency process
  • Effects of drugs / alcohol on the body
  • Depression management
  • Anxiety management
  • Anger management
  • Communication Skills
  • Increasing motivation
  • Enhancing self esteem
  • Relapse prevention
the alcohol & drug acute therapy program

The therapy program is run Monday to Friday starting at 9:00am to 3:00pm each day, including stress management. During the ‘therapeutic day’ there are 3 sessions of 1.5 hours each, a total of 22.5 hours minimum weekly contact therapy time.

follow-up support

The Relapse Management and Prevention Program (REMAP) is available to all patients who have previously participated in drug and alcohol treatment at Perth Clinic. It supports patients after initial treatment and provides group sessions in the following areas:

  • Relapse prevention / management
  • Stress management / coping skills
  • Continuing education

REMAP is held weekly at 5:00pm for 1.5 hours. Individual and family sessions can also be arranged.


For further information go to Referral Process