Alcoholism Treatment 

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Alcohol: our favourite drug

  • Alcohol is the UK’s favourite drug. Most of us use it for enjoyment and relaxation, and it is legal and culturally acceptable. However, for some of us, drinking alcohol can become a serious problem.

  • Alcohol causes much more harm than illegal drugs like heroin and cannabis.

  • It's a tranquilliser, and it's highly addictive.

  • It's the cause of many preventable hospital attendances and admissions, especially at the weekend.

Alcohol statistics (Alcohol Concern)

  • 7% of adults in England regularly drink over the Chief Medical Officer’s low-risk guidelines: less than 14 units per week for men and women

  • However, in 2016, 21% of the population reported being abstinent and overall consumption had fallen by around 18% since 2004.

  • In the UK, in 2015 there were 8,758 alcohol-related deaths (around 14 per 100,000 people). The mortality rates were highest among people aged 55-64.

  • In England, there are an estimated 595,131 dependent drinkers, of whom only 108,696 are currently accessing treatment (<20%).

  • Alcohol misuse is the biggest risk factor for death, ill-health, and disability among 15-49 year-olds in the UK.

  • Alcohol harms are estimated to cost the NHS around £3.5 billion annually.

  • While the price of alcohol has increased by 36% since 2005, it remains 60% more affordable than it was in 1980.

 

Problems with Alcohol

  • Many of these problems are caused by having too much to drink at the wrong time or place.

  • Alcohol affects your judgment, so you do things you wouldn't normally think of. It takes away your inhibitions.

  • It makes you less aware of risks and so more vulnerable.

  • You are more likely to have fights, arguments, money troubles, family upsets, or impulsive casual sex. 

  • Alcohol leads to accidents at home, on the roads, in the water, and on playing fields.

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Physical health problems with Alcohol

  • Being very drunk (acute intoxication) can lead to:

    • severe hangovers

    • stomach pains (gastritis)

    • vomiting blood (haematemesis)

    • unconsciousness

    • death!

  • Chronic drinking can cause:

    • hypertension (high BP)

    • heart disease

    • stroke 

    • liver disease (cirrhosis)

    • pancreatitis and

    • increased risk of some kinds of cancer such as mouth, laryngeal, oesophageal, breast, and bowel cancers.

  • Even just 3 units of alcohol daily can increase the risk!

  • However, it can reduce the risk of heart disease for men over 40 and women of menopausal age - but only if their drinking is very moderate: less than 2 units daily.

 

Mental health problems with Alcohol

  • Heavy drinking (more than 8 drinks per week) can cause and worsen depression and anxiety.

  • Alcohol makes people lose their inhibitions and behave more impulsively increasing the risk of deliberate self-harm and suicide.

  • Alcohol can cause memory problems and brain damage, e.g. Wernicke’s encephalopathy.

  • Heavy drinking can cause paranoia, morbid jealousy, and hallucinations, and delusions (psychosis).

  • Heavy drinkers stopping alcohol suddenly can develop the medical emergency of Delirium Tremens (DTs) – psychosis, body tremors, and confusion. Urgent medical treatment is needed.

  • Heavy drinking can adversely affect relationships with a partner, family, friends, and at work.

 

Warning signs of Alcohol addiction (physical and psychological dependence)

  • You don't feel right without a drink or need a drink to start the day (“eye-opener”)

  • Get very shaky, sweaty, and anxious or tense a few hours after your last drink (physical withdrawal)

  • Can drink a lot without becoming drunk (tolerance)

  • Need to drink more and more to get the same effect (tolerance)

  • Try to stop, but can't (due to withdrawal symptoms)

  • Carry on drinking even though you can see it's interfering with your work, family, and relationships

  • You get "memory blanks" where you can't remember what happened for a period of hours or days.

If you are concerned about your drinking or need some professional advice, treatment, or a Home Alcohol Detox (medically-assisted withdrawal), contact us for help today. Home alcohol detox under daily consultant supervision may be a suitable option if you are drinking up to 30 units daily. Otherwise, residential detox and rehabilitation would be recommended, and suitable inpatient admission could be arranged.  

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