Alcoholism Left Me Severely Malnourished

CASE STUDY: Dahlia in Bristol
“When you regularly binge drink, it isn’t solely the alcohol that gradually destroys your looks and your internal organs; it is what you are not putting into your body that does an equal amount of damage to your overall health,” explains Dahlia – a 36-year-old mature student who lives only a stone’s throw from the beautiful Avon Gorge. “By the time I finally made it to Rehab in 2009, I was severely malnourished. And, I can tell you, I was not a pretty sight!”

Dahlia undertook a 9-week alcoholism rehabilitation treatment programme at a private clinic in Dorset, where medication and nutritional support were two of the key modules integrated into her recovery schedule (which was formulated specifically for her).

Other modules that can be built in to a treatment programme include:


  • 12-Steps Abstinence-Based Therapy
  • Psychotherapy (both group and individual)
  • CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy)


  • Relapse Prevention
  • Alcoholics Anonymous
  • Aftercare, and
  • Family Support

Malnutrition defined
When the body fails to receive enough nutrients, proper function can become impaired. This impairment can range from mild to severe. Malnutrition – caused by alcohol replacing food on a daily basis – can even be life-threatening.

“The clinicians in Dorset said that if I had continued drinking at the rate I was (prior to finally seeking help), I would have certainly been at risk of blackouts, simply because my body lacked even the most basic of required nutrients,” Dahlia explains. “I was growing increasingly weak. I was also at risk of sustaining serious injuries due to falling at home, in the street, down the pub… But I simply could not stop drinking.”

Most of us associate malnutrition with starvation / famines that typically occur in countries in the developing world. This preconception often hinders the work of clinicians, counsellors and other professionals in the alcoholism and drug addiction rehabilitation field, as Dahlia explains:

“My nutritionist at the private clinic explained that, because I always (naively) thought of malnutrition as being something only people in countries like Africa and India suffer, I had not recognised my own malnutrition – the role my appalling diet was playing in my own demise.”

“I mean, I had no idea that vitamin C deficiency can be potentially fatal. I’d always assumed that severe malnutrition symptoms only occur where there has been a hugely inadequate intake of calories.”

If you are at risk, SEEK HELP NOW
If you are struggling with alcohol abuse, (offering free and confidential help) Rehab Treatment UK will advise you of all the treatment options available and assist with admission to the best alcoholism recovery programme for you.


I could not stop drinking, having tried various methods. After making contact with Rehab Treatment UK I was put at ease immediately. All my options were carefully explained and 2 days later admitted to Rehab. Without the speedy response I would probably still be drinking today, Already, the home is a happier place. Thank you Jane for starting the process for a life of sobriety.
B. Middlesex

Thank you to Rehab Treatment UK and everyone at the Clinic that was involved in my Detox. It has been hard, but the fun everyone has made it, helped to make it easier.
S. Hull