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The ghosts of Christmas past

Published 07/01/2008

Did I really do that? Did he really say that? The festive season is well and truly over and well-meant resolutions may already be wearing thin. But for some people, unwelcome memories of the holiday period may keep popping up, causing them to wonder if they, or people they know, have a problem with alcohol abuse.

How was your office Christmas party, for example? Research by business and employment consultant Croner suggests that as many as half of office parties end up with colleagues fighting; one in three with incidents of sexual harassment; and one in five with accidents involving employees.

Stressful social situations, coupled with heavy drinking, provide the perfect environment for habitual problems with alcohol abuse to come to the fore, sometimes with disastrous consequences.

And what was the atmosphere like at home over Christmas? Did you, or a family member, spoil the holiday for others by drinking too much? Given that one in 13 people are alcoholic, many people will have been faced with dilemma of dealing with a drunk relative and may now be questioning whether they should advise that person to seek some kind of alcohol help.

It's no surprise, then, that January is a particularly busy time for alcohol clinics. "At this time of year, the celebrations of the festive season may have highlighted or even inflamed existing alcohol problems, but the New Year can offer a ‘fresh start' and the chance to escape from the misery of alcohol dependency," says Sue Allchurch, director of the Linwood Manor Group.

It's also worth remembering that the inability to control drinking is not a weakness, she adds: "It's a serious disease that can lead to death, but also one from which individuals regularly recover, if they are able to find an appropriate addiction treatment programme."


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