homeless man holding his face in hiss hand, sitting on a street step

Alcoholism in the UK

If you feel you are in trouble with your drinking, or your consumption of alcohol has reached a point where it troubles you or your loved ones, you may be interested in knowing that Addictions UK is here to help you.

Addictions UK was founded in 2002 by a group of people in recovery whose primary aim is to help others find recovery and regain a hold on their lives, just we they did.

We have a team of specialist counsellors amongst other, addictions-specific healthcare practitioners available to you to guide you through this challenging period.

Our aim is to assist you in making sense of your drinking habits and to help you identify strategies to help you regain control of your life, away from the grip of alcohol.

What we have learned about alcoholism

The UK has long made noticeable headlines regarding alcohol consumption, with a reputation steeped in the culture of ‘binge drinking’. While this might not be a problem for the majority who adopt a ‘work hard’ ‘play hard’ attitude, there is a percentage who will drink out of compulsion and can be described as dependent on alcohol.

We like to refer to a quote from the mutual aid fellowship Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), when defining alcoholism. AA describes dependency on alcohol as a;

‘physical compulsion, coupled with a mental obsession’.

We feel that the desire to drink outweighs the consequences of doing so and to the Alcoholic, drinking takes priority regardless of personal circumstance. Alcoholism occurs in the employed or unemployed, rich or poor, males and females, young or old. It is a disease that genuinely holds no prejudice.

It might be that the alcohol dependent, at first feels they have control of their drinking habits. Maybe, able to hold down their job and complete most day to day tasks.

group of men drinking alcohol from plastic cupsHowever, from our experience, we understand ‘Alcoholism’ to be a progressive illness that in time will affect every aspect of life. We have come to realise that the time without alcohol is full of obsession and thought of when that next drink would come, and over time the gap between drinking and not will become shorter.

Despite attempts and desires to stop, we have seen that the person becomes powerless over the substance, often drinking against their own will. Many will switch beverages. Others might try to drink during certain hours, while almost all will make pledges or promises to stop.

All sadly to no avail, during these stages and on their own, their willpower won’t be enough. It is at this point that assistance is needed. To realise that alcoholism, what many choose to refer to as a ‘disease’, has gained control of the individual.

Despite what seems like a hopeless situation, there is hope, and a solution can be found. However, this solution can’t be maintained by any person alone. It takes much courage and dedication, not only from the person living with the alcohol dependence but also from those in their family and wider support network.

How does this affect the UK healthcare system?

As per a 2019 study examining the drinking habits of 36 countries, Britons got drunk more often than everyone else in the world. The report indicated that Britons were getting drunk on an average of 51.1 times per 12 months – that’s almost once weekly. This exceeds the NHS guidelines of 14 units of alcohol per week. It also imposes a high cost on our healthcare system.

ladies sitting with alcohol drinksIt is believed and reported by Gov.Uk, that one in five people admitted to a UK hospital drinks alcohol in a harmful way and that one in ten do so because they depend on it. These figures signify the stark reality that there are some 7.2 million alcohol-dependent individuals residing in the UK. Alcohol can cause many conditions, which costs the NHS around £3.5bn a year.

The NHS and the UK government is, therefore, asking for more help and support from specially trained organisations like ours, at Addictions UK. By accessing services aimed explicitly at alcohol dependence and other addictions, it allows the person to be seen and supported by a team, dedicated solely to the treatment of substance dependence.

In the case of Addictions UK, we have a diverse multidiscipline team of counsellors, psychiatrists and other highly trained addiction healthcare professionals. All treatment is individually tailored to the individual’s requirements, with the sole aim to empower them to be able to address their addictive behaviours, while developing the lifelong coping strategies needed for long-lasting recovery.

It used to be, that to get treatment for alcoholism, the individual would have to leave the family home. However, we understand that the impact of addiction goes beyond the individual and offer excellent family support throughout the process.

We work with a team of General Practitioners that will prescribe and guide the individual through their detox, from the comfort of their own home. To date, Addictions UK has been responsible for assisting hundreds of individuals through this process.

We have more information about our home detox programme.

If you feel like you would like to talk to one of Addiction UK’s specially trained professionals, please phone 0800 140 4044

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