Advent Reveal – Ask the Doctor

Today is the day of our second Soberistas advent reveal in the run-up to our re-launch on January 2nd 2014. We are introducing a new page on called Ask the Doctor, and this will enable our members to send in any medical queries, specifically related to alcohol, to Dr. Julia Sinclair who has very kindly offered her expert services for this purpose.

Ask the Doctor works in a really simple way – you send your questions to and Julia will answer as many of your queries as possible. The Q’s and A’s will then be published the following month on Julia’s page of If you wish to remain anonymous then please state this when you send in your question via email. You can read more about Dr. Julia in the following introductory article, and feel free to send in your questions from today (the cut off for this month is December 24th, so if you would like to see your questions answered in the January page of Ask the Doctor, make sure you send them in before Christmas Eve!).

Finally, I would like to say a huge thank you to Dr. Julia for giving up her time, for free, for this purpose – we are thrilled to have you on board!

Lucy x

Dr. Sinclair


Dr Julia Sinclair

I am delighted to be starting the ‘Ask the Doctor’ page for Soberistas as part of the new website; to try and give some unbiased ‘evidence based’ advice about aspects of alcohol use, effects and treatments that Soberistas members  may want clarifying.

There is a lot of misinformation out there, and sadly many GPs and other doctors have had only minimal training about how to deal helpfully with alcohol problems. So they often miss it when patients come with related concerns (depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, heartburn and the rest). This means they may give treatments for these symptoms (often for years) without ever addressing the underlying problem.

So who am I? I am a qualified doctor who specialised in psychiatry and then addiction. My main area of expertise is in alcohol problems particularly those complicated by anxiety and depression. I am based at the University of Southampton where I have a clinical and academic role involved in trying to ensure that we get adequate teaching and training on this subject for all doctors, as well as research into alcohol problems.

I run an NHS clinic at the General Hospital in Southampton (with my colleague Jules) which sees people with a full range of physical and mental health problems related to alcohol. We encourage people to feel that they can take control over their drinking and are often able to show them how quickly their health and wellbeing starts to improve when they have taken that first step. Sadly it is just one clinic and the estimates are that there will be about 4000 people dependent on alcohol in Southampton alone! We try to link people in with services locally, but these are under resourced, often not accessible to working people, and, as many on Soberistas have commented,  give people an identity as ‘alcoholics’ rather than ‘Soberistas’ and so they may not be keen to go.

I recommend to all my patients that they check out Soberistas, as a great place for support, encouragement and good practical advice. I have a huge respect for Lucy and all she is achieving and I am looking forward to contributing a small part to the sober revolution!

We look forward to hearing from you.



5 thoughts on “ Advent Reveal – Ask the Doctor

  1. What a great addition! I agree that too often doctors treat symptoms without really getting to the root of the problem – but perhaps that also has to do with the fact that we don’t always tell the truth about our consumption (I know I never said how much I drank as I know it would have been looked upon as more than the ‘norm’ of social drinking or occasional).

  2. Fabulous idea! As a surgical specialist in the US, I’ve been combing through the literature looking for medical tidbits to help with my recovery- your viewpoint will be much more experienced and focused than mine! Thanks for doing this!- I look forward to reading your posts!!

  3. This will be a great addition. GPs are so rushed that I feel that it is wrong to bother them with lots of questions but there are things I really want to know and other people in the same situation may also have very similar worries or concerns. Mine revolve around memory, shaking hands, disrupted sleep & mood! I look forward to finding some insight on here!

  4. Sue says:

    I am forwarding this to son no 1 who has just qualified and is now a junior doctor in Glasgow – now that is a challenge…he knows I have a problem. Lucy deserves a knighthood or at least an M.B.E.!

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