Getting support with addictions – Alcohol
£36 billion is spent by the nation every year on treating alcohol and drug abuse.
Although many people may think that drug and alcohol abuse affects the user themselves, it actually can affect the entire community and society as a whole. Addiction affects everyone, loved ones, families to even hospital workers.
Hundreds of thousands of people suffer from alcoholism in the UK so it isn’t an insignificant issue. Many people may feel that they will never get addicted to alcohol however, in reality, alcohol is highly addictive and a mind-impairing substance.
To keep health risks from alcohol to a low level, both men and women are advised not to regularly drink more than 14 units a week.
A unit of alcohol is 8g or 10ml of pure alcohol, which is about:
- Half a pint of lower to normal-strength lager/beer/cider (ABV 3.6%)
- A single small shot measure (25ml) of spirits (25ml, ABV 40%)
A small glass (125ml, ABV 12%) of wine contains about 1.5 units of alcohol.
There are short term risks of alcohol misuse that you should be aware of:
- Accidents and injuries requiring hospital treatment, such as a head injury
- Violent behaviour and being a victim of violence
- Unprotected sex that could potentially lead to unplanned pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- Loss of personal possessions, such as wallets, keys or mobile phones
- Alcohol poisoning – this may lead to vomiting, fits (seizures) and falling unconscious
There are also long-term risks of alcohol misuse:
- Heart disease
- Liver disease
- Liver cancer
- Bowel cancer
- Mouth cancer
- Breast cancer
- Sexual problems
As well as health problems, alcohol misuse can lead to social problems for some people, such as unemployment, divorce, domestic abuse, and homelessness.
If someone loses control over their drinking and has an excessive desire to drink, it is called dependent drinking. Some, but not all dependent drinkers are often able to drink excessive amounts of alcohol that would dangerously affect or even kill some people.
A dependent drinker can experience withdrawal symptoms if they suddenly cut down or stop drinking, including:
- Hand tremors
How to know if you are drinking too much alcohol
If you feel that:
- You should cut down on your drinking
- Other people have been criticising your drinking
- You feel guilty or bad about your drinking
- You need a drink first thing in the morning to get rid of your hangover or to steady your nerves
If you feel any of the above, this may be a sign that you are drinking too much.
If you are concerned about your drinking or someone else’s, please contact our safeguarding officer, David – firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07593 067883.
Another option is to contact a GP or contact any of these helplines:
- Drinkline national alcohol helpline on 0300 123 1110
- Alcohol Change UK
- Alcoholics Anonymous helpline on 0800 9177 650
- Al-Anon Family Groups helpline on 0800 0086 811