News Flash

When in doubt about the state of their own health, most people turn to the experts for help. A person suffering from cancer, for example, knows that their best chance of beating the disease is through access to specialist doctors who can help them decide on the most effective course of treatment. People with diabetes, meanwhile, rely on the medical community to provide the drugs and dietary guidelines that can help them manage their condition and lead full and productive lives.

Sadly, the same isn't true for those suffering from alcohol dependence, which is just as much an illness as cancer or diabetes, says a spokesperson at Linwood Park.

For a start, many will be reluctant to admit that there's a problem at all -- even to themselves. "The denial typically associated with the effects of alcohol abuse on the brain may lead them to believe that they could stop drinking if they wanted to, or that it's a problem they can "fix" themselves," she says.

Even those who DO recognise that they need help may be deterred from seeking it by the social stigma attached to addiction. That stigma can lead them to feel that their problems with alcohol are down to personal failings: a lack of self-control or self-confidence, for example. "In order to avoid being judged, they attempt to hide the problem as much as possible," she says..

But enduring the pain of alcohol abuse alone makes no more sense than trying to beat cancer without the help of experts. As a disease, alcoholism shares many of the characteristics we associate with other illnesses: it creates noticeable biological changes in sufferers, has clearly defined symptoms, but can be tackled effectively using established methods of treatment. Like diabetes, it's a chronic disease that can never be entirely cured, but its effects can be minimized if carefully managed.

Research shows that alcohol treatment programmes work. Experts in the field of alcohol addiction treatment spend many years training in order to provide the services and help that problem drinkers need to beat their illness, including:

  • a period (typically 2 weeks) of medically supervised detoxification to clear all alcohol from the system;
  • medication to alleviate the symptoms of withdrawal from alcohol and to start repairing the damage that drinking has done;
  • counselling and therapy to help sufferers to confront their illness and learn to successfully cope with it in future.

Like all illnesses, alcohol dependency causes great discomfort and unhappiness in those that suffer from it as well as those close to them. But through a specialist alcohol treatment programme, further suffering can be avoidable. Don't suffer in silence anymore - get expert help.

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)