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Alcohol Becoming Bigger Problem than Drug Abuse


One of Wales’ biggest charities has told of how there are more people now seeking help for problems related to alcohol than there are about drugs. Cais said that, five years ago, it was dealing with around half-and-half in terms of drugs and alcohol issues. However, now it appears as though eighty per cent of its cases are related to alcohol issues.

Clive Wolfendale, chief executive of Cais, has told of how alcohol problems will no doubt be more evident during the festive period. He said that one of the issues was that alcohol was promoted as being glamorous and that it was too cheap. He also told BBC Wales that half of all violence on the streets and in homes in Wales was fuelled by alcohol.

Why People Choose Alcohol over Drugs

Mr Wolfendale said the reason more people are choosing alcohol over drugs is that alcohol is more readily available and is cheaper to buy. He said, “Pricing is all over the place. It [alcohol] needs to be more expensive. It is not happening quickly enough. Sadly, no government seems to be able to get a grip on it. Use of opiates has decreased dramatically and is unappealing to many people, particularly young people, whereas drink has increased in popularity. It’s promoted as glamorous.”

Are You Drinking Too Much?

The problem for many people these days is that they just do not realise that alcohol has become a problem. Most alcoholics will not admit to having a problem until forced to do so by a friend or family member. Even if it is suspected that they are starting to rely on alcohol, they will usually be in denial for quite some time. Many so-called moderate drinkers actually have an addiction but do not even realise it. However, there are a number of signs to look out for that should give some indication alcohol is becoming an issue.

Waking up During the Night to Pee

If you are waking up during the night needing to use the toilet, it could be a sign that you are drinking too much alcohol. According to London Urology Associates consultant Rizwan Hamid, our bodies make a hormone that regulates the quantity of urine we produce. More of this anti-diuretic hormone is produced at night so that we do not need to use the toilet as much. However, once we drink alcohol, production of this hormone is affected which increases the amount of urine the body produces. Mr Hamid said that people under the age of 65 should not need to get up during the night to use the loo and those over the age of 65 should not need to get up more than once per night.

Stomach Problems

Diarrhoea can be a symptom of excess alcohol consumption as well, according to Royal Hallamshire Hospital’s professor of gastroenterology David Sanders. He said that watery stools might be because the body has not absorbed excess fluid. Moreover, according to the British Liver Trust charity’s chief executive Andrew Langford, if your stools do not flush away easily, it might be because the liver is finding it difficult to cope with the alcohol in your system.

Anticipating Your Next Alcoholic Drink

One of the first signs of an alcohol problem is the anticipation of a drink at the end of a long, tough day. Many people think that because they do not need a drink at a particular moment in time, they do not have a problem. However, if they are spending their time in work thinking about the glass of wine or beer that they are going to have when they get home, it could be a sign of an impending serious addiction. Many people use alcohol to make them feel better if they have had a hard day at the office or if they are feeling depressed; however, as alcohol is actually a depressant, it can make the depression worse.

Dry Eyes When You Wake

BMI Priory Hospital’s consultant ophthalmologist, Rob Scott says that our eyes can feel distinctly drier when we have been drinking. Professor Scott says, “Your eyes become stickier when you drink alcohol.” This is because alcohol can interfere with the lubrication in our tears. If you are constantly waking up with dry eyes then it could be that alcohol is the culprit.

Disrupted Sleeping Patterns

Those who drink ‘moderately’ may find that their sleeping patterns have changed and that even when they have not had a drink, they cannot sleep as they used to. This is because drink can affect the ability to get an efficient night’s sleep. The brain effectively ‘forgets’ how to do this. Sixty per cent of alcoholics will suffer with insomnia; this is because they do not get enough REM sleep, or ‘slow-wave’ sleep, which is the very deep part of sleep. What is more interesting is that even when in recovery, they will continue in this vain for many years. Therefore, when moderate drinkers do not drink for a few days, they often find that their sleep pattern does not change at all. Once the brain has forgotten how to sleep properly, it will need to learn how to do it again. Moderate drinkers need to give up alcohol for a few months rather than a few days to rectify this.

Becoming Forgetful and Moody

Some claim that a few drinks before they go to bed help them fall asleep, and this may be the case. However, what often happens is that sleep becomes fragmented and results in the person being tired when they wake, resulting in a feeling of irritability and moodiness. The reason for this fragmented sleep is that, while sleeping, the body is trying to break down the alcohol in the system and in so doing, substances such as sugar are released that make you wake up more during the night. Another problem is that alcohol in the system interrupts rapid eye movement, which is essential for allowing the brain to process memories. Without sufficient REM, people end up forgetful and bad-tempered.

Needing to See the Dentist More Often

Alcohol can affect teeth and may result in the need to see the dentist more often. Beer drinkers and those who go for white wine tend to suffer more erosion on tooth enamel. When teeth become more sensitive and look slightly yellower it is a sign of enamel loss, which could be from excess alcohol consumption.

Getting Help Early

If you think that maybe you are drinking too much, then getting help early can stop an addiction from taking hold. Speaking to our team of experts will help you to determine if drinking is becoming an issue for you.

Our trained experts can offer support and advice and will be able to recommend the most suitable method of treatment as well as a rehabilitation centre, if required. Addiction Helpline offers free, confidential advice to those who may be suffering with an addiction as well as to family members who need advice. Call us today.

Sources:

  1. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-30518021
  2. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2884202/Ten-signs-drinking-little-s-know-enjoying-odd-glass-wine-slips-harmful.html

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