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Question:
I have an English-speaking friend and as far as I can see he shows definite signs and symptoms of alcoholism. Every time I try to discuss his problem with alcohol, he gets angry and resentful and starts using his dedence mechanisms. He tells me that I am not a professional doctor and he does not trust my judgement. Is there an English-speaking professional on substance abuse here in Moscow I can refer my friend to? I do have concern for my friend. Looking forward to hearing a reply to my question. Thanks you.
Alexey Ivlev
Answer:
Dear Alexey,
Alcoholism is common (maybe 12-16 % of adults in America) and often undiagnosed, because of patient denial and because clues are missed.
A useful screening device for alcohol abuse is the CAGE test:
- do you feel you should Cut down on drinking?
- do you get Annoyed if someone criticises your drinking?
- have you felt Guilty about drinking?
- have you ever taken a morning Eye opener?
Two positive responses probably indicates chronic alcoholism, and one is suspicious of alcohol abuse.
Early suspicion and discussion of the problem often allows the person to adjust his own drinking pattern and thus avoid long-term ill-effects. There are various medical complications of alcoholism, so a clinical examination and appropriate laboratory tests should be done. For continuing support, Alcoholics Anonymous is useful, and other counsellors or religious advisors may help. A general practitioner at our SOS Clinic or elsewhere, would help to make an assessment of the medical needs of your friend. We can also recommend an American counsellor, Danny Saint Louis, mobile 8910 402 5462. He has had many years of experience in dealing with addictions. An English-speaking group of Alcoholics Anonymous meets in the main building at St. Andrew's Anglican Church, Vozneshensky Pereulok 8. You can come without pre-arranging, at 7.30pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays and 5pm on Saturdays. With very best wishes,
Brigid Lomax
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