News Flash

The UK is a nation in denial about the effects of alcohol problems on our overall health and well-being. In a late 2006 survey of 4,640 Britons about their health and welfare concerns, only 12 per cent of adults questioned worried about the effect of drinking too much alcohol on their health. Respondents, it seems, were more worried about stress and a lack of sleep and exercise.

That stands in stark contrast to government figures that show that, in 2005, 34 per cent of men and 20 per cent of women had drunk more than the recommended number of units on at least one day in the week prior to interview. Eighteen per cent of men and 8 per cent of women had drunk more than twice the recommended daily intake.

It's worth remembering that denial is not a river in Egypt - overcoming a drinker's denial that they have a problem with alcohol is often the most difficult hurdle on the road to a successful outcome.

"If a problem drinker can admit their problem, they can be helped and supported by professionals. If they can't, there is very little anyone can do for them and the outcome is bleak," says a spokesperson from The Linwood Group.

Understanding denial is difficult for the person who does not have a problem: problem drinkers usually feel guilty about their drinking and quite often try to hide the evidence. If they can maintain the illusion that they don't have a problem, they don't need to feel the fear caused by their lack of control over alcohol -- or change their behaviour.

So what are the telltale signs of denial?

In the early stages of alcoholism, denial has an outward appearance of seemingly logical rationalisations.

  • "I'm not an alcoholic. I haven't missed a day's work in five years."
  • "Real alcoholics lose their jobs, houses and families. That hasn't happened to me."
  • "Drinking is part of the culture where I work."

As the disease progresses, alcoholics are very talented at blaming other people or events for the problem.

  • "I only drink because I'm under pressure at work."
  • "I have a drink to escape from my partner's nagging."
  • "It's not my fault I got into an accident. The other driver was going too fast."

As the problems and crises accumulate, alcoholic denial takes the form of withdrawal and/or escape. At the very least, alcoholics are quite insistent that they do not require any type of outside help.

  • "I'll stop drinking as soon as I get out of this relationship."
  • "I'll be fine as soon as I move away from this dreadful town."
  • "I'm not hurting anybody else, leave me alone."
  • "I don't need help to stop drinking; I can do it by myself."

If any of these statements sound familiar to you, it may be that you are in denial, if you can start be honest with yourself about the problems that alcohol is creating in your life, then an alcohol rehabilitation programme will assist you in working towards a positive lifestyle change.

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.

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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)