The premise of the week is to get people “thinking about their drinking.” To raise awareness of the dangers of alcohol and the disease of alcoholism; to campaign for change; and to facilitate better treatment, care, and support for those suffering from the illness.
Alcohol can damage relationships. Alcohol is often associated with social events; meeting friends at the pub, drinks after work with colleagues, celebrating at christenings, weddings, and holiday parties, it is hard to escape it. For a lot of people having a drink relaxes them, makes them feel good and adds to the occasion. However, drinking too much, or too often, can have a harmful effect on your life, and could destroy all the relationships you hold dear.
Those most significantly affected by problematic drinking are those in the close family unit, partners, wives, husbands, and children. Alcohol can be the death of intimacy, it tramples over trust, creates friction, and curtails any type of meaningful communication. The drinker can be aggressive when drunk, even physically or verbally violent. Withdrawn and uncommunicative when they are hungover, wanting to be left alone. When they try to control or stop the alcohol, they are irritable and discontent, eager to be back on the booze.
Family members become resentful of the drinker’s behaviour and lack of participation in household life. Some are terrified of the angry outbursts, or the vicious words. Alcoholism is a family disease and when one person has it, the whole family suffers.
It is fun to have a big night out with friends, and some may overindulge. However, if one person continually has too much to drink, becomes belligerent or embarrassing and ruins the evening for everyone else, eventually that person stops getting invited. Or when drinking alone becomes preferable, if going out becomes too much effort, invitations are turned down and phone calls are left unanswered. Friendships slip away and eventually, the drinker is left in isolation.
When one colleague isn’t pulling their weight because they are hungover, or they have slipped off for a couple of pints at lunchtime and are useless every afternoon, relationships with co-worker’s can become fractured if others are constantly having cover or gloss over mistakes. When important deadlines are missed, or worse when someone’s life could be endangered, this can end a career, as well as a relationship.
You may have heard several words and phrases used when talking about alcohol, drinking and abuse. What is the difference between misuse, alcoholism, and AUD?
Alcohol misuse is the term used when you drink in a way that is harmful to your health, finances, or relationships. It can also mean that you are dependent on alcohol, emotionally or physically. In 2016 the UKs Department of Health issued new safe drinking guidelines; these recommend no one should drink more than 14 units of alcohol per week (men and women), this is roughly six pints of beer or one and a half bottles of wine. It is also suggested that this should be over three days or more, so it is not advisable to save them all up to drink all at once, and it is also thought best to have at least a couple of completely alcohol-free days per week.
Alcohol use disorder is the medical terminology a doctor, therapist or clinician would use to describe someone presenting with signs of a problem with alcohol. It can refer to a diagnosis at varying stages – mild, moderate, or severe, and is usually characterised as having an impaired ability to stop or control one’s use of alcohol, despite repeated negative consequences. AUD is classed as a brain disorder.
Alcoholism, defined by the Oxford languages dictionary as, “addiction to the consumption of alcoholic drink; alcohol dependency,” is a word used in everyday language, it is not a clinical diagnosis but has become very popular amongst fellowship groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, and other recovery-based programs.
Everyone drinks differently, and what may be a problem for some, might be completely normal for others. Lockdown necessitated major changes very quickly, and this has meant that many altered their lifestyles; how we socialise, our habits, personal and familial schedules, and for some this has resulted in a change in drinking behaviours.
But when should we be worried that there could be a problem?
These are just some of the signs that there is an issue with the way you drink. If you find you are drinking when you don’t really want to, you feel guilty about how much or when you are drinking, or that you are drinking despite it causing you either physical or emotional problems then it is a good idea to speak to someone.
Why don’t you try our self-test here?
If you think that you might be misusing alcohol, then there is plenty of help available. In the first instance try speaking with your local GP or Doctor; or phoning a helpline to get some advice.
There are alcohol rehabilitation services available privately and through and community-based programs such as We Are With You (formerly Addaction), as well as many peer support organisations such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and SMART Recovery.
Many people find talking to a counsellor or therapist hugely beneficial. Being a problem drinker can be incredibly lonely, and very isolating, having someone to talk to about the underlying emotions and feelings that are associated with the alcohol abuse, can be a key step in taking action to resolve the issue.
Daycare courses, out-patient drop-in centres and fellowship meetings such as AA offer a protected and secure environment for many. Attendance at weekly or daily meetings provide much-needed support to someone trying to look at, or manage, their drinking.
For someone with a serious alcohol problem, residential rehab may prove to be the best option. It gives the individual a chance to get away from any day-to-day issues and enables them to fully focus on their recovery. A well-established private rehab centre or specialised addiction clinic will use a combination of therapy models to treat an individual’s primary and co-occurring conditions.
Here at our luxury residential rehab centre, set on the idyllic Balearic Island of Ibiza, we treat clients struggling with alcoholism, addiction, and substance abuse, as well as other underlying and co-occurring mental health conditions such as trauma, anxiety, and depression.
For information on all our rehab programs, and for admissions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org