Alcohol abuse is one of the most prevalent issues in modern society and it is a problem which is on the rise here in Ireland. As a nation of people, who are among the highest alcohol consumers in the world, it is no surprise that alcohol abuse is such a large problem.
According to figures published in 2011, the number of people treated for alcohol abuse has risen by 50% (The Irish Times). The national paper documented a report, Treated Problem Alcohol use in Ireland 2005 to 2010, which outlined how there were 42,333 cases of alcohol substance abuse in a five year period. In this same period, of all the substance abuse cases reported, alcohol accounted for over half of those cases (52.7%).
Half of the cases treated were 39 or younger and there was an increase of 145% in new cases under the age of 18. Half of the cases treated had started drinking by the age of 16 and 50% of new cases had sought treatment before they were 19 years.
Identifying the Problem
Traditionally, people use alcohol socially in moderation with few negative side-effects. However, many people are unaware of the subtle but gradual negative effects alcohol has on their lives. Heavy drinking leads to problems with work, health, and relationships. A person, who is abusing alcohol, may not need to abstain from use, but will need to recognise the impact of alcohol on their life and consider reducing their consumption. If any of the following points apply to you it would be wise to assess how drinking alcohol is affecting you and your family (from http://alcoholresponse.com/ )
-Family or social problems associated with drinking.
-Preoccupation with drinking.
-Marked changes in behaviour or personality when drinking.
-Lying about amounts of alcohol taken or hiding the fact at all.
-Making promises about drinking to oneself or others (“to cut down on drinking,” “to be more careful,” etc.), but failing to carry them through.
-Drinking to escape from pressure or to solve life’s problems and calm oneself.
-Feeling guilty after drinking or regret over what was done while drinking.
-Getting drunk even when intending to stay sober.
-Drinking capacity, once big, is now dropping (later indication of problem drinking). -Experiencing “Blackouts”—(not recalling the drinking episode or details of what happened.)
-Inability to keep commitments, and carry out duties.
-Financial problems as a result of drinking.
-Getting drunk frequently.
-Committing alcohol-related offences.
Once the problem has been identified, action may need to be taken. There are a number of online sources, which can help you to identify the extent and impact of drinking alcohol in your life. For example, you can calculate your alcohol unit intake from following this link which can help you assess if you are consuming too much each week.
Do you think you or someone close to you may be encountering problems with alcohol? If you do, action may need to be taken as soon as possible. Identifying and dealing with the problem early is very important. If you would like to see one of our Clinical Psychologists please make an appointment with us.