In the UK, alcohol is a legal and widely available drug. Varying in strength, it is legal to drink from the age of 18.
In spite of this, alcohol can have serious consequences when abused and can also be highly addictive.
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Recognising Alcohol Abuse
According to the NHS, roughly 9% of men and 3% of women in the UK suffer from some degree of alcohol dependency.
This means that they consider it to be the most important factor in their life and something that they could not live without.
Alcohol Dependence: What is it?
Alcohol dependence, sometimes known simply as ‘alcoholism’, is the most serious type of drinking problem.
It brings on a strong, often uncontrollable desire to drink.
However, not all alcohol dependence presents a high risk. For example, one form of alcohol dependence may simply be the inability to enjoy oneself without drinking.
This psychological dependency usually creeps in slowly as alcohol becomes part of one’s day-to-day.
For working professionals, it is not uncommon to end a workday with alcohol, either socially with colleagues or at home as a way to unwind, brokering the possibility of addiction later on.
If you are finding it difficult to relax without alcohol, then you may be suffering from dependency.
Psychological dependency can easily develop into physical dependency, later on, creating symptoms like sweating, shaking and nausea.
Costs Vs. Benefits of Drinking
Drinking can be a great way to unwind after a long day.
It can also be an effective social lubricant.
However, these positives are not without their drawbacks.
Just as with any other drug, addiction becomes an easy trap to fall into with frequent use.
Health Complications Associated with Alcoholism
Alcohol dependency can have detrimental effects on both the body and the mind.
A dependency on alcohol increases the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, coronary heart disease and liver disease.
As well as this, alcohol dependency can cause anxiety, depression and even suicidal thoughts.
Alcohol dependency often goes beyond the personal in terms of damaging effects.
Relationships with loved ones tend to suffer, sometimes leading to addicts becoming estranged or abandoned by those closest to them.
For professionals, alcohol dependency can cause a drop-off in productivity, damaging or even ending the sufferer’s career.
Reducing the Risk
When approaching alcohol dependency, taking breaks from alcohol can be hugely beneficial.
This reduces the body’s tolerance, as well as the brain’s.
Over time, the body will no longer require alcohol to feel normal, as it will no longer be accustomed to high alcohol intake.
Give alcohol-free days a go.
If you drink regularly, your body starts to build up a tolerance to alcohol.
This is one of the main reasons why many medical experts recommend taking days off from drinking to ensure you don’t become addicted to alcohol.
Test out having a break for yourself and see what positive results you notice.
The Next Step
They will help diagnose your drinking and offer practical advice.
From there, there are two popular routes to help tackle alcohol dependency.
The most popular is rehab. Castle Craig Hospital, the UK’s leading addiction clinic, offers state-of-the-art addiction care and recovery route for those considering inpatient treatment programmes.
For more information, visit Castle Craig’s website.
An alternative pathway is Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Specialising in alcohol dependency, and with a broad network in the UK, contact their helpline on 0800 9177650 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. View more resources here.
Alcohol Addiction Guide:
- 5 crucial things to stop if you live with an alcoholic
- How do I know when my alcohol/drug use is ‘bad enough’?
- How to find the best alcohol rehab or alcohol addiction treatments
- Signs of alcohol & drug problems at work
- Immediate Admission
- Helping an employee with alcohol or drug problems
- Employee rights
- One-to-One Counselling
- Family Support Programmes