Alcoholism in the UK
Alcohol is the most widely abused drug in the world. Here in the UK, the Alcohol Concern charity says that 10.8 million adults drink enough alcohol to pose a danger to their health. Among them, nearly 7.5 million are unaware of the damage their drinking habits could be doing. What most people don’t know is that alcohol is responsible for 10% of the total burden of disease and death in the UK, making excessive drinking among the top three lifestyle risk factors behind only smoking and obesity.
It should be apparent that alcohol is a dangerous drug capable of causing significant problems for both users and family members. If you are not convinced, here are just a few more numbers that tell the story:
- 6,490 people in England died alcohol-related deaths in 2012, an increase of 19% in just a decade
- 8,367 people in the UK died alcohol-related deaths in 2012
- more than 1 million people were admitted to hospitals in 2012/13 for alcohol-related problems
- the NHS now spends roughly £3.5 billion annually to treat alcohol-related problems.
Some estimates suggest that as many as 38% of men and 29% of women routinely exceed generally accepted levels of safe drinking. As much as 6% to 7% of the adult population in the UK exhibits signs of alcoholism while 20% would be considered binge drinkers under a strict definition of the term.
Getting a Handle on the Problem
The numbers clearly indicate we have a national problem with alcohol. Therefore, the next logical step is to start looking at ways we can get a handle on the problem instead of just talking about it. Doing so requires participation not only from the government and those within the alcohol treatment community but also individuals at the local level. Every person in the UK has to take responsibility for alcohol consumption if we are ever to bring an end to the scourge of excessive drinking.
We assume that your visit to our website has been prompted by an alcohol problem of some sort. Perhaps you are concerned that your binge drinking will eventually lead to alcoholism. Or maybe you are already an alcoholic. Perhaps you are concerned about a friend or loved one who seems to be drinking too much. Regardless, visiting our website is the first step in getting a handle on your problem. Now you need to take the next step.
Once alcoholism or alcohol misuse has been identified, strategies can be developed to overcome it. Those strategies can include everything from prescription medications to counselling to full-scale rehab with medicated detox. The key is to develop strategies that are unique to individual situations rather than trying to apply a blanket approach.
Individual Help for Alcoholism
As bad as the alcoholism problem is in the UK, we are fortunate in the sense that there is no shortage of treatment providers and counsellors capable of coming alongside to help. Individual help for the alcoholic can be found via GPs, hospitals, private counsellors, alcohol charities, and private rehab clinics.
Connecting our clients with the right treatment provider is our focus. We offer individual help for alcoholism by identifying possible treatments based on each client’s unique needs and circumstances. We may recommend residential rehab for one and private counselling for another. We make our recommendations based on in-depth evaluations conducted using standards developed by the medical community.
We cannot stress enough how much the alcoholic needs individualised support and treatment. The medical community used to think that there was a single approach to successfully treat every alcoholic. That is no longer the case. If you have an alcohol problem, you don’t need a one-for-all treatment; you need a bespoke treatment plan designed for you.
If You Fail to Get Help
Your choice to visit our website is a good first step in overcoming the alcohol problem you are dealing with. But what happens if you fail to take the next step? What if you don’t get the help you need?
The majority of the long-term problems created by alcohol addiction and misuse could be avoided if drinkers got the help they needed in the early stages of abuse. Because so many don’t, alcohol is allowed to continue running its course, causing destruction as it goes. If you have an alcohol problem and fail to get professional treatment, you can expect the following:
Disease – Excessive alcohol abuse over the long term is very likely to cause irreparable liver disease. Should you develop cirrhosis, there is no cure or treatment. You will die unless a donor liver can be found. Continued drinking will also increase your risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and other diseases.
Injury – Even when disease does not take hold, alcoholics are more likely to engage in risky behaviours that result in serious injuries. If you continue to drink, you may hurt yourself or someone else as a result.
Broken Relationships – Continuing to abuse alcohol will ultimately lead to broken relationships. Your spouse or partner may very well leave you, and take the kids if you have any. Friends will abandon you too. Eventually, you will be left in isolation.
Financial Ruin – Unabated alcohol abuse could very well lead you to financial ruin. While there are some functional alcoholics capable of maintaining employment, they are an exception to the rule. You should plan on eventually losing your job, which could lead to losing your home, your car, and other possessions as well.
Criminal Record – Alcoholism could one day lead you to a life of crime fuelled by the need to continue drinking without a steady stream of income. The number of people now in jail as a result of alcohol- or drug-related crimes is staggering.
Alcoholism is a serious problem in the UK and around the world. Don’t ignore it. If you or a loved one has a drinking problem, deal with it before it is too late.
Sources: Alcohol Concern