Navigating the Alcohol Treatment Pathway: A Qualitative Study from the Service Users' Perspective

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Aims: Provision of effective treatment for dependent drinkers has been identified as a priority in England yet evidence suggests that access is problematic and there are low levels of retention. This qualitative study explores how the alcohol treatment system is experienced by service users, identifying barriers and facilitators that influence treatment outcomes.
Methods: A total of 20 semi-structured face-to-face interviews were conducted with patients from community alcohol treatment services in three London boroughs in 2012. Interviews were undertaken one year after initially entering treatment. A thematic analysis was conducted, with the results further abstracted to relate them to specific aspects of the treatment journey.
Results: Patients journeys were characterized by a perceived lack of control leading to help-seeking, with treatment outcomes influenced by an individuals' self-efficacy and the capabilities and skills of staff in actively engaging and supporting patients on the journey. A focus of services on the detoxification process and fragmented care pathways impacted negatively on engagement.
Conclusions: Current alcohol care pathways require significant levels of motivation and self-efficacy to navigate that few patients possess. Pathways need to better reflect the capacity and capabilities of patients to be successful in supporting recovery.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
JournalAlcohol and alcoholism (Oxford, Oxfordshire)
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2015


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