News Flash

According to The Alcohol Needs Assessment Research Project for England 26% of adults (aged 16-64) have an alcohol use disorder.  This is equivalent to approximately 8.2 million people in England.  Twenty one percent of men and nine percent of women are binge drinkers and 3.6% of adults in England are alcohol dependent; which equates to 1.1 million people.

With so many people in England misusing alcohol, how can you tell if you are drinking too much, or if it is becoming a major issue in your life?  Government guidelines for safe drinking suggest that 21 units for a man and 14 units per week for a woman are safe and these should be spaced over a week and not consumed in one or two sessions.  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 (however, be aware that a half pint of beer can contain 3.5 units of alcohol in special beers).

For those concerned that they, or a loved one, are frequently overstepping the recommended guidelines for safe drinking, then here are the symptoms of alcoholism to look out for.  Alcoholism, or alcohol dependence, will begin with early signs of a problem, such as frequent intoxication, or a pattern of heavy drinking.  Other early signs can include black-out drinking or a dramatic change in a person's behaviour when they drink.

Jill Antley, Manager of Linwood Park, a leading provider of alcohol treatment facilities, comments: "As alcoholism is a progressive disease, those prone to frequent bouts of heavy drinking are likely to move to the next stage in the illness and begin to show signs of alcohol abuse.  When a person's drinking reaches this stage, they will continue drinking even if it causes them recurring problems.  These will range from not being able to do their job or necessary responsibilities to getting in trouble with the Law, due to their alcohol fuelled behaviour.  The next stage on from this is full blown alcoholism, or alcohol dependence."

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, when a person reaches the alcohol dependence stage, they can expect to experience at least three of the following seven alcoholism symptoms:

  • Neglect of other Activities: Important social, occupational, or recreational activities are given up or reduced because of alcohol use;
  • Excessive Use: Alcohol is consumed in larger amounts over a longer period than intended;
  • Impaired control: Ongoing, unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control alcohol consumption;
  • Persistence of Use: Alcohol consumption is continued despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely caused or exacerbated by alcohol;
  • Large Amounts of Time Spent in Alcohol Related Activities: A great deal of time is spent in activities necessary to obtain, use or recover from the effects of alcohol;
  • Withdrawal: Withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, sweating, shakiness, and anxiety when alcohol use is stopped after a period of heavy drinking;
  • Tolerance: The need for increasing amounts of alcohol in order to feel its effects.

So, if you recognise yourself, or a loved one in the alcohol abuse or dependence stages of the disease and want to know what to do to change this destructive pattern, why not call Linwood Park to talk through alcoholism symptoms?  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 ro ad 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)

 

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