As alcohol is one of the most commonly abused substances here in the UK, it is not too difficult to see why so many individuals are struggling under the weight of alcohol addiction and all its negative consequences. The truth is that most people can drink alcohol in moderation, but there are still around nine million who regularly abuse it. What’s more, the majority of these individuals have no idea that their consumption could be causing damage to their health. With so many people affected by alcohol abuse and addiction, the question of who treats alcohol addiction is one that is often asked. However, before discussing the many options for treatment, it is important to first think about alcohol addiction – what it is and how does it develop?
What Is Alcohol Addiction?
Most are under the impression that alcohol is relatively safe because it is a legal substance and widely available here in the United Kingdom. However, it remains a chemical substance, and one that can cause great harm if abused. The reality is that alcohol abuse is a leading contributor to poor health, and it is actually one of the top three causes of premature death in Britain.
The recommended weekly alcohol limits for safe consumption are currently set at fourteen units for men and women here in Great Britain. However, more than nine million people are regularly drinking more than this amount with most being ignorant to the damage this can cause. With alcohol abuse linked to many illnesses, including obesity, heart disease, liver damage and cancer as well as addiction, the need for addiction services is vital.
One thing that is important to remember is that nobody chooses to become an alcoholic, and it is not something that people suddenly wake up with one morning. Alcohol addiction tends to occur gradually as the individual builds up a tolerance to the effects of alcohol. As this tolerance increases, the person will notice that he or she is not getting the same effect that they once did from alcohol. In order to achieve the desired ‘buzz’, it is common for the person to increase his or her intake.
Nevertheless, the more alcohol a person consumes, the more likely that he or she is to go on to develop a physical dependence on it, to the point where the body will crave it and withdrawal symptoms will occur whenever the person is in need of alcohol.
Who Is Affected by Alcohol Addiction?
Not everyone who drinks alcohol will go on to develop an addiction; nor will everyone who abuses it. Drinking more than the recommended alcohol allowance of fourteen units per week is classed as alcohol abuse. Nonetheless, not everyone who does this will become alcoholics.
There are those who drink more than their recommended weekly allowance in one drinking session. They will get intoxicated every now and then and are guilty of alcohol abuse, but they will still have control over their alcohol consumption and will not crave it.
However, there are some individuals who will become so dependent on alcohol that it can destroy their life. But why do some people develop alcohol addiction and others do not? This is a question for which there is no single answer. The truth is that no one really knows for sure why some individuals become alcoholics, but what we do know is that there are certain factors that make it more likely for the problem to occur in some but not in others. These include:
- Family History of Addiction – Genes and family history of addiction can influence an individual’s likelihood of developing alcohol addiction. Studies have shown that those with an alcoholic parent are more likely to become alcoholics themselves than someone with non-alcoholic parents.
- Trauma – Traumatic events and experiences often lead people to seek comfort in substances such as alcohol or drugs. Traumatic experiences include the loss of a loved one, living with a mentally ill parent, being bullied, or being abused. The more trauma a person experiences, the higher the chance that he or she will develop an addiction.
- Environment – The area or situation in which a person grows up can play a role in their chances of developing an addiction. Those who live in an environment where everyone drinks alcohol will be much more likely to go on and drink themselves than someone whose environment did not include alcohol. Parents’ attitudes to underage drinking can also be a factor, as the earlier an individual has been exposed to alcohol, the higher their chance of going on to develop a problem in later life.
What Are the Consequences of Alcohol Addiction?
Alcohol addiction has many negative consequences, not only for the individual but also for those around them. It also has a massive negative impact on the economy and society as a whole. According to Alcohol Concern, over a million people were admitted to hospital in the UK in 2012/2013 with alcohol-related conditions. This is placing a huge burden on the National Health Service, which is already under pressure from an aging population. In fact, the annual cost to the NHS for alcohol-related treatments has reached a staggering £3.5 billion. This is shocking when you consider that this could all be avoided.
It is not just the cost to the NHS that affects the economy where alcohol is concerned; alcohol-related crime also plays a role. The estimated cost of alcohol-related crime in the United Kingdom is between £8 and £13 billion every year. This includes the cost of policing and prosecuting crimes caused by those under the influence of alcohol.
Quite apart from the effect on the economy and society, alcohol abuse and addiction has negative consequences for the individual and their families. With alcohol addiction responsible for poor health, alcoholics often suffer with various physical and mental health conditions.
They may also find it difficult to hold down a job if they are constantly under the influence of alcohol or are recovering from drinking. This can have a massive impact on their finances, which can in turn take a toll on relationships with loved ones.
The behaviour of alcoholics is another strain on relationships. Those affected by alcohol addiction often find it difficult to make sound judgements and they may become quite selfish in their bid to get their hands on the substance they crave. If the person perceives anyone trying to get in the way of them feeding their habit, he or she may become verbally aggressive or physically violent. Alcohol addiction often leads to the complete breakdown of relationships.
Where to Go for Alcohol Help?
If you are struggling because of an alcohol addiction, the good news is that there is plenty of help available. Various organisations offer fantastic treatment programmes for those affected by all types of addiction. If you have been thinking about who treats alcohol addiction, then you may already be aware that the NHS offers programmes. However, there are a number of charities and local support groups operating all over the country, as well as private clinics. Here at Addiction Helper, we can help you to find the one that is right for you.
By calling us today, we can put you on the right track. We will assess your situation to determine what your treatment needs are and from there, we can recommend a suitable inpatient or outpatient treatment programme. We will take a range of factors into consideration, such as how severe your illness is, what your overall health is like, and your budget.
For the most part, we will look to refer you to a residential clinic if this is appropriate. Nevertheless, this may not be possible for a variety of reasons, such as family and work commitments that would prevent you from being away from home for any length of time. In this scenario, we will find a suitable outpatient programme near to where you live as an alternative. We want you to know that we will always find the programme that is most suitable to your requirements and circumstances.
For more information on who treats alcohol addiction or for a free referral, please do not hesitate to contact us here at Addiction Helper today.
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