Drinking alcohol is considered by many to be an important part of Scottish culture. Most people in this part of the world consume alcohol at least now and again. There is also an acceptance of occasional inebriation. The Scots tend to drink more heavily than people living in other parts of the UK. Celebratory occasions such as Hogmanay can be a time when public inebriation is considered normal, although there have been measures taken to decrease the availability of alcohol at these events in recent years.
These are some of the most common explanations for why such a strong drinking culture persists in Scotland:
* During the industrialization of the 19th Century, a great deal of poverty struck Scotland’s urban areas, particularly Glasgow. Housing conditions for the poor were sometimes brutal. Many people turned to alcohol as a means of dealing with their situation.
* It is suggested that during the long cold winter nights there was not much to do in the past. Going to a bar provided an opportunity to socialize and ignore the bad weather. This could be a time of year when a great many people became depressed, so going to the pub might be a way to alleviate this.
* Alcohol in Scotland is relatively cheap, so most people can afford to drink. Some have described the situation as selling alcohol at pocket money prices. A recent ban on multi-buy deals is aimed at stopping sellers in Scotland from using price reductions to encourage people to buy more alcohol.
* In centuries past, it was sometimes safer to drink alcohol than water. This was because the fermenting process involved boiling, which killed bacteria. Much of the water then would have been polluted, and people took more of a risk by drinking it.
The majority of people living in Scotland over the age of 16 drink alcohol, 93 percent of men and 87 percent of women. They drink nearly 25 percent more than the English and Welsh. A strong link between alcohol abuse and poverty persists in Scotland. Men who lived in deprived areas are seven times more likely to die of alcohol-related causes.
Binge drinking is a significant problem in Scotland. This occurs when people drink an excessive amount of alcohol in a short period of time. There are many dangers associated with this type of alcohol abuse:
* It can easily lead to alcohol poisoning. When people drink too much in a short period of time, their blood alcohol concentration can reach dangerous levels.
* This is the pattern of usage that is most likely to lead to alcoholism. Once the individual becomes physically and psychologically dependent on alcohol, it can completely destroy their life. It can also cause a great deal of suffering for friends and family members.
* People who binge drink are more likely to suffer from symptoms of depression. This can also mean that they will be more at risk of committing suicide.
* Binge drinking leads to hangovers. This means that the individual is not able to perform well at work the next day. Some people will be unable to make it into their job at all. Hangovers cost businesses heavily through lost productivity and sick days.
* This pattern of drinking can lead to serious health consequences. It damages almost every organ in the body. It is not necessary for the individual to be a full-blown alcoholic in order to develop serious problems. For example, one episode of binge drinking could be enough for someone to develop the first stage of alcoholic liver disease.
* When people drink a large amount in a short period of time, it means they become more prone to accidents. It also can put them more at risk of being a victim of crime.
Underage drinking is a serious problem in Scotland. Not only are more young people than ever drinking alcohol, but they are also drinking larger quantities than in the past. This is worrying news because the younger people are when they begin drinking the more likely they are to become alcoholics later on. Underage drinking also interferes with normal adolescent development, and it prevents young people from performing well at school. It is also believed that those who drink alcohol at an early age are more likely to become involved in illegal drug use.
These are some of the treatment options available for people looking to escape alcohol abuse in Scotland:
* Alcohol Focus Scotland is a charity that promotes lower alcohol consumption. It also offers advice to people who are trying to cut down or quit altogether.
* Drinkline is a UK wide advisory service that is provided by the NHS. They can offer advice to people who are worried about their own drinking or concerned about somebody else’s drinking. This helpline can be contacted on 0800 917 8282.
* Alcoholics Anonymous has meetings all over Scotland as well as the rest of the UK. They can be contacted on 0845 769 7555.
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