News Flash

Children and alcoholic parents are a disastrous combination - and the problem is more widespread than you might think. According to the National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACOA), there are almost one million children living with an alcohol-dependent parent in the UK today, many of them hiding their problems, living in fear and facing an overwhelming lack of support.

Research shows that familial alcoholism can affect all areas of a child's life, hampering their educational process and often leading to behavioural problems and compulsive disorders. There is much evidence to suggest that the impact of life with an alcoholic parent continues well into adult life, with NACOA estimating that some 3.7 million people in the UK are affected by parental alcoholism in some way. Research shows that the adult children of alcoholic parents are far more likely to experience drinking problems themselves.

The day-to-day problems faced by children with alcoholic parents are frightening. Some children may not experience obvious forms of abuse, but suffer from neglect: missed meals, inadequate clothing, poor school attendance, and a lack of access to medical attention.

Others are regularly exposed to rage, violence and abuse on a daily basis, which become part of the unpredictable and inconsistent environment in which they live. NACOA's research shows that aggression within the family environment is six times more common where one or both parents suffer from alcohol dependency syndrome.

So what can be done to help such children? Intervention is essential, says Jill Antley, Manager at Linwood Park. "Having one caring adult in a child's life can help reduce these problems. Children with alcoholic parents need to understand their parent's addiction is not their fault and that they can choose other options and change their lives," she says.

Where possible, the alcoholic parent should be urged to seek help with their drinking problem. This can be difficult for their families, says Allchurch, but they need to set clear guidelines. "Non-alcoholic family members must be clear about what they are prepared to accept from the person who's drinking, and the consequences for them if they overstep these boundaries, so that they know how you are going to react. No-one should ever accept the blame for a family member's drinking," she says.

"But they should be ready to assist if the problem drinker is prepared to acknowledge their addiction, by putting them in touch with qualified alcohol dependency experts. A good treatment centre will not only help the alcoholic parent beat their addiction, but also provide family counselling, so that the whole family can begin its recovery."

Call free on 0800 066 4173 (or if you are calling from a mobile phone or from overseas, call 01226 698 054) 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)