Alcohol Awareness Week 2024

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Health Assured team

16 June 2023

Alcohol Awareness Week begins next on 1st to 7th July 2024, Alcohol Change UK chooses a specific theme to help facilitate conversations, support systems, and most importantly of all – a positive change for anyone who may need it.

A recent government study noted that within the space of a year there were 342,795 hospital admissions solely for alcohol related issues. This year’s theme, Alcohol and Cost, aims to highlight the ramifications alcoholism can have on individuals, families, and finances.

Understanding Alcohol Dependency

Alcohol dependency, or alcoholism, refers to people with a powerful and uncontrollable urge to drink in excess. A dependency on alcohol can mean feeling unable to properly function without drinking.

Eventually, drinking alcohol can become the most important thing in a person’s life, drastically affecting their careers, relationships, and finances.

What are the Signs of Alcohol Dependency?

Whether you’re curious to know for yourself, a loved one, or a colleague at your organisation, it’s important to spot the signs of alcohol dependency. Some of the most common signs of an alcohol dependency are listed below:

  • Other people commenting on how much you/someone you know drinks
  • Constant cravings or a need to drink to deal with anxiety, stress, or other problems
  • Excessive drinking regularly causing problems at home/socially/at work/financially
  • Finding it very difficult to relax or wind down without consuming alcohol

What Causes Alcohol Dependency?

There’s no one universal cause for alcoholism/alcohol dependency. Reasons can range from societal pressure and hereditary genes in your family to the attitudes towards alcohol experienced during your formative years.

A stressful life, financial struggles, or an unexpected bereavement can also trigger a dependency on alcohol.

Mental Health and Alcohol Dependency

Excessive abuse of alcohol can also alter moods and cause some people to become aggressive and unreasonable. Someone with a strong dependency on alcohol may often experience mental health issues too. This can range from suicidal thoughts, depression and anxiety, or the mental strains of others having to live with someone who has an alcohol problem.

In addition to the damage drinking can do to your mental health and financial wellbeing, long-term alcohol abuse can also lead to liver damage, high blood pressure, and an increased risk of heart disease and strokes.

Supporting People with Alcohol Problems

If you’re concerned about someone’s drinking, or suspect that you may be dependent on alcohol, it’s important to approach this subject matter with sensitivity, compassion, and understanding.  

Someone who is alcohol dependent should never completely stop drinking without consulting a healthcare professional, as the withdrawal symptoms can be extremely difficult to manage without the correct support systems in place.

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Tremors (commonly known as the shakes)
  • Insomnia
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Headaches
  • An increased pulse rate

Reducing the Stigma and Raising Awareness

For Alcohol Awareness Week, having open and positive discussions with your friends, colleagues, and loved ones can help to reduce the silence surrounding alcoholism and empower people to feel confident in addressing their dependencies.

If you or someone you know needs support in overcoming alcohol addiction, there are addiction support services available that consider the location and specific needs of each situation. 

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