News Flash

With supermarkets selling booze at rock-bottom prices, alcohol has never been more affordable. But can the same be said for the costs of residential rehab to help problem drinkers?

Many problem drinkers continue to believe that this kind of treatment is a luxury that only mega-rich celebrities can afford.

And those that turn instead to the public sector for help are in for a long wait. According to figures from charity Alcohol Concern, dependent drinkers in some parts of England face delays of a year or more to access any form of structured treatment. As a result, as few as 2 per cent of drinkers in some areas are getting any sort of help to address their alcohol problems.

That means that many problem drinkers are deterred from seeking the professional help they need to get their lives back on track.

But one Clinic that is seeking to challenge the myth that residential rehab is only for the wealthy is Linwood Park in South Yorkshire. The organisation was founded on the principle that affordable alcohol help needn't involve any compromise in quality. Accordingly, it prices its services at a level that cannot find for less on a like-for-like basis anywhere in England.

"We pride ourselves in offering an excellent treatment service and it makes sense to us to increase the availability of that service to as many people as possible," explains Linwood Park's manager, Jill Antley.

It is a reflection of Linwood's confidence in the effectiveness of its services that it is prepared to refund any difference in costs if someone that comes to it is able to demonstrate that they could have received the same treatment in facilities of the same quality elsewhere in the UK.

In recent months, treatment at Linwood Park has become even more affordable, she says, as the company has cut its development budget in order to fund treatment cost reductions in response to the recession. "The deteriorating economic climate is putting pressure on everyone. For someone struggling with alcohol, that can mean a sharp escalation in their problem," she says.

In addition, Linwood Park has identified a financial services provider, Soberloans, that assists people with getting the financing they need to access appropriate services. According to individual circumstances, Soberloans can provide funding for up to 100 per cent of treatment costs.

Remember: there are options out there. Don't be one of the 33,000 people in the UK who die from alcohol-related incidents or illness each year. An investment in affordable alcohol help may be a small price to pay to get your life back on track.

For help and advice, contact Linwood Park on 0800 066 4173. Alternatively you can complete the form here on the web site, to be found at the foot of each page.

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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)

 

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