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Drinking problems - I'm a Mum and I drink

Published 27/04/2008

Do British mums have a problem with alcohol addiction? Certainly, that would seem to be the case, with over half drinking alcohol at least three or four nights a week, according to a 2007 survey conducted by social networking site Netmums. One-quarter, meanwhile, admit to regularly exceeding the recommended limit of 14 units of alcohol a week.

Siobhan Freegard, the co-founder of, recently told The Observer newspaper that she was surprised at the levels of drinking she found among the 4,000 women polled.

"Quite a few mums have this concept of "wine time" -- that they're entitled to have a reward drink in the evening. To some, "wine time" is eight o'clock. But quite a lot of mums get their children to bed at seven and drink, and some even think, ‘school pick-up - only two hours to wine time'," she said.

Personal testimonies from the Netmums site illustrate how, for some, alcohol abuse is a cause for concern. "I do think I have a drinking problem. I can't seem to go a night without at least one glass of wine ? usually it ends up as a bottle," says one. Another comments: "I drink just about every night. The thing is, I don't just have a couple. I can drink eight cans in a night. Tonight I opened my first at 8pm and I'm now on my third and it's only been 45 minutes."

Sadly, such stories are all too familiar to Carole Tunelly, a therapist at alcohol rehabilitation group Linwood Manor. "It's frightening how quickly a drink to unwind after a stressful day with kids can spiral into alcohol dependency," she says. And as social trends mean that British mothers are increasingly called upon to juggle the demands of work and home, she is seeing a corresponding rise in the number who are seeking help with drink problems.

It's worth remembering, she says, that women are physically smaller than men, metabolise alcohol less well and are more susceptible to organ damage as a result of alcohol abuse. Plus, the children of parents with alcohol problems are statistically more likely to develop these problems themselves.

By regularly ‘rewarding' themselves with a drink, in fact, British mums could be falling into a trap that can cripple their ability to handle the pressures of work and home, causing long-term damage to their health, their careers and the well-being of their offspring.


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