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Ten tell-tale signs your drinking is becoming a problem

Published 03/02/2008

Levels of disposable income are at an all-time high. Alcohol prices have never been lower. Put the two together, and you've got a recipe for disaster. We are starting to drink at a younger age and we are drinking more. According to the Department of Health, more than one in four men and one in seven women drink more than is medically safe for them.

Sadly, many take alcohol abuse to its logical and tragic extreme - death. Figures released by the Office of National Statistics in January 2008 reveal that the alcohol-related death rate in the UK continued to increase in 2006, rising from 12.9 deaths per 100,000 population in 2005 to 13.4 in 2006.

And over the past 15 years, that figure has more than doubled, rising from 4,144 in 1991 to 8,578 in 2006. Worryingly, the steepest increases in alcohol-related deaths were in people aged 35 to 54.

"The link between alcohol misuse and ill-health is well established. However, these figures reveal some disturbing trends," said Frank Soodeen of the charity Alcohol Concern. "It appears that, for certain younger people who've been drinking heavily for most of their lives, the consequences are beginning to show themselves at ever earlier stages. It is vital that the government finally starts investing more in alcohol treatment to help problem drinkers address these issues before the situation becomes irretrievable."

With that in mind, how can drinkers tell if their drinking is becoming a problem? And who should they turn to for alcohol help if it is?

 Sue Allchurch, director of the Linwood Manor Group, suggests ten tell-tale signs that your drinking is becoming a problem. A ‘yes' answer to one or more of the following questions, she says, may indicate that it's time to get help through a reputable alcohol treatment programme: 

  1. You regularly use alcohol as a way of coping with feelings of anger, frustration, anxiety or depression.
  2. You regularly use alcohol to feel confident.
  3. You regularly suffer from hangovers.
  4. Your drinking affects your relationships with other people.
  5. Your drinking makes you feel guilty, disgusted, angry or suicidal.
  6. Other people tell you that when you drink you become gloomy, embittered or aggressive.
  7. You need to drink more and more to feel good.
  8. You stop doing other things to spend more time drinking.
  9. You start to feel shaky and anxious the morning after drinking the night before - and drink to stop these feelings
  10. You start drinking earlier in the day.

"Don't leave it too late or make excuses for your drinking - the earlier the problem is tackled, the more likely you are to make a full recovery," says Sue Allchurch.

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