Dealing with an alcohol problem alone, whether it’s yourself or someone you know is a tough job. As someone with an alcohol addiction, it is often difficult to make that first step of acknowledging that you have a problem. For those who have a loved one or friend with a problem it is equally as difficult to admit that they need help.
Alcohol is an addictive substance, which can cause serious health issues. Even if you do not believe you or someone else has an addiction to alcohol, they could still be drinking too much. Seeking help regarding alcohol is not something that is limited to those who are already suffering from a serious alcohol addiction. If you feel that you or someone you know drinks beyond the recommended limit on a regular basis, help is available to prevent it going any further or to prevent it causing damage to your health.
Recognising an alcohol problem
You may have an alcohol problem if you regularly feel the need to have an alcoholic drink, or you often get into some sort of trouble because of your drinking. If you have a more serious problem, you may experience ‘blackouts’ or periods where you can’t remember what has happened.
Other signs could be neglect of other responsibilities in favour of drinking, or continually using alcohol as a way to relax or de-stress. You could experience increased levels of anxiety and depression, feel shaky and irritable, or suffer from nausea, vomiting, or insomnia.
Cutting down your alcohol intake
- Make a plan and set yourself limits, trying your best to stick to them.
- Set a budget and don’t overspend on alcohol.
- Talk to friends and family about your plans to cut down so that they can help and support you.
- Alternate alcoholic drinks with water or soft drinks, and have a drink of water before you start drinking alcohol.
- Set aside a certain number of days each week where you have no alcohol at all.Reducing your alcohol consumption may improve your mood, sleep patterns, stop you from gaining weight, and improve the appearance of your skin. Your overall health is also likely to improve, as there are links between heavy drinking and a reduced immune system.
If you are struggling with alcohol, you can make an appointment with your GP to discuss what steps you can take to improve your own health. Your GP could also do some tests to make sure you have not developed any alcohol-related health issues.
There are a number of other services available in East Berkshire which can help you come to terms with an alcohol problem or addiction:
- Cascade Counselling and Advisory Service – A counselling service for community alcohol and drug misuse in East Berkshire. Contact them on 01753 821789
- There are a number of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings which take place around East Berkshire. By visiting their website you can search for meetings near you. You can also call their national helpline on 0800 9177 650 or email them at [email protected]
- Addictionhelper.com is a great website providing advice and guidance to those suffering from an alcohol problem and their friends and family. They provide information on counselling and rehabilitation for all types of substance misuse and can direct you to services near you. They can be contacted on 0800 024 1478 / 0203 131 8342, or you can text “HELP” to 66777. There is also a call back service available by entering your phone number on their website.
- UK-rehab.com has a confidential advice helpline – 0800 044 8331 / 0203 733 0280 There is also an abundance of information on their website.
- The Samaritans are not a specialist group for addiction but they are a 24/7 service available to anyone who needs help. Contact them on 116 123 and they can listen, provide guidance and support, and point you in the direction of further help.
You can contact any of these services for initial advice on what to do next, or you can visit your GP. You can also visit the NHS Choices website for further information.