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Aluston Health in the News - The Daily Mail


Career women battling with alcoholism turn to Eastern Europe for secret cure.

By Kate Loveys
Last updated at 1:11 AM on 31st May 2010

Professional women secretly battling with alcoholism are heading to Eastern Europe for treatment.

They are among growing numbers of women in their 30s and 40s who develop drink problems because of the pressures of motherhood and careers.

Rather than face counselling, or the stigma of treatment in their community, many are seeking a quick and confidential alternative.

Clinics in countries such as Latvia, Poland and Ukraine offer treatment, travel and hotel packages costing up to £3,000.

They specialise in disulfiram - a drug once used by the footballer George Best - which causes violent illness to patients who carry on drinking.

An implant administering the drug lasts for 12 months, giving addicts plenty of time to get their life back on track without the influence of alcohol. Experts fear however that women are unaware of the risks associated with disulfiram implants, which were designed for extreme alcoholics. In the UK, the drug is prescribed in tablet form only.

But a clinic in Riga, Latvia, called Aluston Health, offers an implant treatment known as 'The Code' to UK residents.

It has found that 80 per cent of its clients are women in their late 30s and 40s. Russell Hughes, the owner, said: 'Since launching we've been inundated with inquiries - the majority of which are from women in their 40s secretly drinking at home.

'We were prepared for a great deal of interest but what we were not prepared for was who it would be from.

'I would say 95 per cent of the inquiries we've had are from these women who tell us they are at home drinking sometimes as many as three bottles of wine a night. Many of them have been telling us that nobody knows about the level of their drinking and they are desperate as they know they are destroying their lives and the lives of those they love.

'They've either unsuccessfully tried NHS treatment or are too embarrassed to admit their problem.'

Studies have shown that women from managerial or professional backgrounds are 19 per cent more likely to drink heavily at home, compared with women from manual households.

Don Shenker, of the charity Alcohol Concern, said: 'Many women now have the drinking habits of men. Wine consumption has risen the highest with chains such as All Bar One designed for women.'

He said there was too little counselling to help tackle the problem, leaving women nowhere to turn.

Disulfiram, also known as Antabuse, blocks the normal breakdown of alcohol in the body, making the patient violently ill within ten minutes. It causes the symptoms of a hangover - but about eight times more severe.

Implants are fitted under the skin above the stomach and release a constant amount of the drug.

Nearly 50,000 women sought NHS treatment for alcohol problems in the financial year 2008 to 2009.

The number of alcohol-related deaths among women aged 30 to 50 has almost doubled since 1991 to more than 3,000 a year.

I saved my life from ruin

Two years ago, Amanda Wilde's life was crumbling around her. The mother-of-two, left, had gone from being a casual tippler to drinking three bottles of wine a day.

She had lost two jobs, her marriage was on the rocks, her children were refusing to speak to her and her weight was plummeting.

Last September she hit rock bottom and finally accepted the advice of husband Howard, a 43-year-old farmer, to seek help. When counselling failed, she travelled to Latvia for treatment with disulfiram implants to stop her drinking. The intervention in February worked and she has not had a drink since.

'The kids are so much happier now there are no arguments and I have a lot more get-up-and-go,' she said.

Mrs Wilde, 39, from County Durham, said she was back in work and trying to rebuild her marriage


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