News Flash

It is one of the nightmares of modern parenthood: is my child at risk of developing a drinking problem?

They could be. UK government statistics show that, in 2006, almost one in four (21 per cent) of pupils in England aged 11 to 15 reported drinking alcohol in the week prior to interview. Among those that had, weekly consumption was estimated 11.4 units. And among children aged 11 to 13, it had risen from 5.6 units in 2001 to 10.1 units in 2006.

Parents need to move quickly to put a stop to alcohol abuse among their offspring. "Even if their 'children' are now young adults, it is still challenging for parents to confront the issue, but they need to realise that confrontation and treatment may well be necessary in order to save that son or daughter's life," says Jill Antley, manager of Linwood Park in South Yorkshire.

If you suspect that your child may be at risk of alcohol dependence, here are some suggestions that may help.

  • Recognise that younger people will often react differently to alcohol than mature adults. While most adults can have a drink or two without losing the ability to think rationally or having mood swings, children may not be able to handle alcohol so well. If a typically mild-mannered and reserved child suddenly starts to display erratic, aggressive or otherwise uncharacteristic behaviour, it may be time to start asking questions.
  • Find out who your child is mixing with socially. By the time children are in secondary school, they are becoming more independent and spending more time away from the family home. That could expose them to influences that may well not be positive, including alcohol. Try to meet your child's friends and their parents, to get an idea of the kind of impression they may be leaving on your child.
  • Maintain a relationship with your child that is built on open, honest conversation. If your child suddenly doesn't want to talk about school or friends anymore, they may have something to hide. And if your son or daughter starts to tell you about a friend who is experimenting with alcohol, it's time for you to step in and provide sound advice.
  • Be aware of the example you set your child. If alcohol is in the house on a regular basis and your children see you drinking often with friends or family members, they will not see the dangers in drinking regularly or at an early age.

Call free on 0800 915 1560 (or if you are calling from a mobile phone or from overseas, call 01226 298910) for professional, confidential advice on those vital first steps on the road to recovery. Alternatively you can complete the form here on the web site, to be found at the foot of each page.

Drink Poll
Drink Poll

Drinking too much - safer drinking tips for party goers.

As Don Shenker, the chief executive of Alcohol Concern was recently quoted in the national media*: "We'll all enjoy a festive drink over the coming weeks, but there is no longer any doubt that far too many people are drinking at dangerous levels."  Although the festive season is meant to be about celebration and enjoying time together, there are many that are drinking too much over the holiday period.  In fact the Department of Health is so concerned about this trend, that they have announced a mobile phone application that can be downloaded that acts as an alcohol tracker.  (see iTunes or visit NHS for more information).

Although this innovative new tool allows drinkers to input how much they are consuming and view graphs of whether they are sticking to recommended units, there is still an element of discipline and pre-planning required to do this.  So, how can you enjoy the festive season, but not put yourself at risk?  A spokesperson from  Linwood Park gives you some hints:

Know your limit - First of all, it is important to know ‘how much is too much'.  Government guidelines for safe drinking suggest that 21 units for a man and 14 units per week for a woman are safe.  This works out at 2-3 units of alcohol per day for a woman and 3-4 units for a man.

Size matters! - Remember that the measurement of a unit of drink is suggested as being half a pint of beer, a glass of wine or a pub measure of spirits.  If you are celebrating at home it is worth keeping in mind that measures will be vastly different to those in a pub and watch out for those specialty beers and spirits that will be more units per glass.

Advanced planning - Before you go out for a celebration, think how much you plan to drink and stick to it.  Also, if you think that no food is going to be served there, eat first.  Drinking on an empty stomach is a recipe for disaster.  Finally, think about how you will be getting home and don't leave it to chance, have taxi numbers in your phone or pocket to ensure the night doesn't end badly.

Social drinking - Round-buying is the ticket to disaster.  Either choose to skip rounds or buy your own, so you don't ‘drink to keep-up'.  Also keep an eye on the number of times a drink is topped-up.  Just because you haven't had to go to the bar for a refill, doesn't mean you aren't consuming way over the legal limit.

Pace yourself - Pace is key to a night you will want to remember, not forget!  Alternate alcohol and soft drinks, or dilute alcoholic drinks to ensure you don't overdo it.  Remember the darker the drink the worse the hangover, so go for spritzers or shandy rather than red wine or whisky.

Dance the night away - Rather than placing all of the focus on drinking, why not make sure that there is something else planned for the evening of festivities, such as dancing, bowling, a pub quiz/games Etc.  This will help take the focus off of the alcohol and ensure that the night's fun revolves around more than just getting drunk.

Whether you are planning to party out and about, or at home this festive season, remember that you can be in control of your drinking.  By thinking ahead and planning your evening you can ensure that not only will you have a night that you remember, but one that your body doesn't regret for days afterwards.

If the thought of regulating your drinking seems unthinkable, or you are finding that the need to celebrate the festive season doesn't end on January 1st and you think that you are drinking too much, why not check out Linwood Park's Traffic Light Drinking system to see if you need to get some professional advice on taking control of the drink, before it takes control of you?

If you would like to find out more about drinking too much or need help with yours or a loved one's drinking, then why not call Linwood Park's confidential helpline on: Freephone 0800 066 4173 (or if you are calling from a mobile phone or from overseas, call +44 1226 698 054) to find out how to get help sooner rather than later? Alternatively you can complete the form here on the web site, to be found at the foot of each page.

*The Guardian, Saturday 12 Dec 2009 ‘MP's back alcohol price control to curb drinking'.

Last Updated (Tuesday, 19 April 2011 09:13)