Alcoholism is a serious problem in the UK. It results in thousands of unnecessary deaths each year and untold misery for alcoholics and their families. On average, it is estimated that the lives of five other people will be harmed when one individual becomes addicted to alcohol. This would indicate that most people living in the UK will be affected in some way by alcohol abuse. People are now consuming more alcohol than they ever did in past. This suggests that alcohol problems will affect even more people in the future.
Alcohol abuse is a significant problem in the UK. Around 38 percent of men and 29 percent of women in England regularly drink above the recommended safe limits of consumption. In 2008 alone, there were 6,769 deaths in England as a result of alcohol abuse. The consumption of alcohol in the UK has more than doubled since the 1950s. A higher proportion of people now drink at home than ever before. According to an article in the USA Today, the UK National Health Service (NHS) is currently spending 2.7 billion pounds (US$4.4 billion) on treating alcohol-related problems. This puts a strain on the health service, because it uses up so much of the available resources.
Drinking has been always been a popular pastime in the UK. For centuries, pubs have been a place where communities gather together to share stories and to unwind after work. Session drinking is quite popular. This is where pub goers spend many hours in a bar. They may drink many units, but it is spread out over a long period of time so they do not become too intoxicated. This type of alcohol consumption can still be dangerous, because of the number of units that people are ingesting. In recent years there has been a worrying increase in the amount of binge drinking in the UK.
The Daily Mail estimates that one out of every four people in the UK fall under the term binge drinker. These are people of all ages who consume a large amount of alcohol within a short period of time. The usual motive for engaging in this type of high-risk behavior is that people want to enjoy the effects of inebriation. Binge drinking is considered the most dangerous form of alcohol consumption because:
* There is higher risk that people who binge drink will develop alcoholism. This is because such individuals are not drinking to be sociable. They just like the way that alcohol makes them feel. This can lead to the faulty thinking of, if this much makes me feel good, then drinking more will make me feel even better.
* This style of drinking causes a great deal of damage to organs of the body. People do not have to drink heavily for long before they develop alcoholic liver disease and other problems.
* Binge drinking can easily lead to alcohol poisoning. This is because drinking too much in a short period of time raises blood alcohol concentration to dangerous levels. Many people have died as a result of consuming too much alcohol in a short period of time.
* This type of drinking can lead to blackouts. This means that the person will have no memory of things that happened the night before. People who experience blackouts suffer a great deal of stress, because they are unable to remember their actions. There are many instances of people who committed crimes but were unable to remember doing so the next day.
* There is a high incidence of people committing suicide while intoxicated. This is because they are more likely to do things on the spur of the moment, and their ability to reason is compromised.
* Those people who drink in this way are more likely to become a victim of crime. They are also more likely to commit crimes.
* When people are inebriated, they are more likely to have accidents.
In 2008 the British Medical Association reached the worrying conclusion that not only was the number of underage drinkers increasing, but that they were also drinking more. Part of the blame for this was attributed to the popularity of alcopops, alcoholic beverages that taste more like soft drinks. It is believed that as much as one-third of children aged between 11 and 15 years old regularly consume alcohol. It is obvious that not enough is being done to tackle this problem. It is well known that those who use alcohol at an early age are far more likely to develop alcohol problems in the future.
These are some of the treatment options available for people dealing with alcohol problems in the UK:
* Drinkline is a service that offers advice for anyone with a drinking problem. It is also available for those who are worried about somebody else’s alcohol consumption. The operators can offer practical advice for how to deal with this type of problem. They can be contacted on 0800 917 8282. This is a free phone number, and the service operates from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Monday to Friday.
* Alcoholics Anonymous is a popular choice for people seeking help with escaping their drinking problems. Most towns will have a selection of meetings available each day. The UK phone number for this group is 0845 7697 555.
* Alcohol Focus Scotland provides help and advice for people living in this part of the UK.
* Groups such as the Foundation 66 (formerly known as Alcohol Recovery Project) and Turning Point provide different programs that can help people escape their addiction and build a great life in recovery.