The more alcohol a person consumes, the higher his or her chances of becoming addicted and needing alcohol withdrawal treatment in the future. Most people forget that alcohol is an addictive substance because of how readily available it is and the fact that it is a legal substance.
The drinking habits of individuals here in the UK has become a worrying issue in recent times, so much so that the Government ordered a review of the existing guidelines that had been in place since 1995. Health officials were worried that the current guidelines were far too ‘generous’ and that they needed to be lowered in order to protect the public against various alcohol-related health problems.
The recommended guidelines put in place in 1995 advised that men should drink no more than twenty-one units of alcohol per week and women no more than fourteen. However, after a review by Public Health England, a report was published in January 2016 bringing the recommended weekly limit for men in line with that for women at fourteen units. It was also recommended that there be a number of alcohol-free days per week and that pregnant women should not consume any alcohol at all during their pregnancy.
Will the Public Listen?
A 2015 study of drinking habits found that many men were regularly drinking more than the then limit of twenty-one units per week. Many Cumbrian landlords and pub owners are now of the opinion that drinking habits are unlikely to change, despite the guidelines changing.
The new guideline amount of fourteen units equates to around six pints of average strength lager or four large glasses of wine, and evidence so far suggests that many people are likely to ignore this advice, particularly if they have regularly been drinking more than this amount.
Heavy alcohol consumption has been linked to a host of illnesses, and even those who drink moderately are at risk of developing certain cancers.
No Safe Level
Even though moderate drinkers have a lower risk when it comes to developing certain health conditions, experts have said there is no safe level of alcohol consumption when it comes to completely eradicating the risk. The only way to avoid alcohol-related illnesses is to abstain from drinking altogether.
A recent report by the Committee of Carcinogenicity stated that “drinking alcohol increased the risk of getting cancers of the mouth and throat, voice box, gullet, large bowel, liver, of breast cancer in women and probably also cancer of the pancreas.”
Alcohol charities such as Alcohol Concern welcomed the new guidelines, and chief executive Joanna Simons said, “These evidence-based guidelines were put together based on recommendations from a group of independent doctors, after looking at 20 years’ worth of evidence. They represent the maximum amount we can drink each week with little risk to our health.”
She pointed out that alcohol consumption was directly linked to a host of illnesses and that those who regularly drink more than the recommended amount are significantly increasing their risk of developing a number of health problems.
Educating the Public
Simons also pointed out that ninety per cent of the public cannot comprehend the link between alcohol consumption and serious illnesses such as cancer. As such, many health experts are calling for warning labels to be placed on alcohol products in a bid to educate the public about the dangers of alcohol.
Nevertheless, even though more is being done to warn people about the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption, pub landlords across the country, and in particular in Cumbria, believe that the new guidelines will have little effect in changing the frequency or amount that people drink.
According to the co-owner of Longtown’s Graham Arms, Paul Brown, “In my experience people take no consideration of guidelines whatsoever. I think a lot of it’s got to do with the successive governments going back quite a few years now – it’s the nanny state telling people what to do and when to do it.”
Although Brown did not say that alcohol has any health benefits, he was keen to point out that it did provide a number of social benefits to people. He stated that village pubs are often integral in holding communities together and helping to reduce isolation in some people. Nonetheless, he went on to say that outlets selling cheap alcohol are the biggest problem as these encourage drinking at home, often alone.
Danger of Excessive Alcohol Consumption
Heavy drinking often leads individuals to become tolerant to the effects. This means that in order to achieve the desired effect, people need to drink more alcohol every time, which ultimately causes problems. Those who regularly drink heavily are risking becoming dependent on alcohol and subsequently developing an addiction.
Alcoholism is a progressive illness that will steadily get worse unless it is treated. In terms of alcohol withdrawal, it is usually necessary for a programme of detox to be completed before rehabilitation can begin.
Sadly, many drinkers just do not realise when they have crossed the line from habitual drinking to something a bit more serious. If they are regular drinkers, these individuals may not notice that their drinking habits are getting worse until they are already affected by addiction and have started to notice alcohol withdrawal symptoms when not drinking. At this stage, the affected person cannot quit even if he or she wanted to.
If you are affected by alcohol addiction, call us here at Addiction Helper. We can provide you with much-needed information on the treatments available and how you can access them.
Source: New alcohol guidelines likely to be ignored, say Cumbrian landlords