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Six Savvy Apps to Sobriety

Posted on May 26th, 2015

Drinking in moderation? It’s the advice we see everywhere these days, in books, magazines, as well as on your bottle of wine. But moderation is easier said than done – especially when in social environments with friends and family. Then there’s peer pressure and stressful lifestyles to compete with.

Luckily, the app world has answered our problems once again and come up with some great ways to help you control your drinking habits. (more…)


How will the reductions in frontline staff affect drug and alcohol addiction treatment?

Posted on May 20th, 2015

Healthcare services across the country are undergoing various measures to reduce expenses. One major concern is the decrease in frontline staff in drug and alcohol treatment services. In the DrugScope’s State of the sector survey 58% of respondents reported noticing a decrease in frontline staff. In light of this, the primary concern is, are there enough staff to provide clients with diverse and high quality services. In addition how are staff coping with any extra work and how do the looming reductions effect their motivation and commitment in their jobs? (more…)


Post-Rehab Interview with Walter W

Posted on May 18th, 2015

Anonymous

Anonymous

Q: Can you describe the two main reasons that caused you to go rehab?

A: I had been on drugs and alcohol since I was a teenager, dealing… everything that came with it really. In addiction I didn’t really care, you become more and more used to it, desensitised. Then I caught this flesh-eating bacteria, Necrotizing Fasciitis, and I was in hospital for 5 months.

I kept getting these secondary infections. Then my brother said to me “How do you feel about convalescing in South Africa?”. They had a private beach, a sauna… I was there a long time. It wasn’t a choice, it was a sequence of events really. (more…)


Do The High-Earners Drink More?

Posted on May 14th, 2015

Many factors have been suggested to be associated with the quantity people drink and their ability to moderate it, including genetics (Treutlein et al, 2006), brain differences (Elmasian et al, 1999) and personality (Kuntsche et al, 2006). A recent study by Hamdi et al. (2015), has found a link between income and the quantity an individual drinks. The longitudinal study involved interviewing MZ and DZ twins raised together (Two interviews; 10 years apart). (more…)


How PTSD affects Alcoholism in Armed Forces

Posted on May 12th, 2015

Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) leading to alcohol abuse is an emerging issue among the UK’s armed forces. Fear et al. (2007) found that out of 8686 full-time members of the armed forces: 67% of men and 49% of women engaged in hazardous dinking behaviour. The King’s centre for military health research have found increased alcoholism in members of the armed forces who have been deployed compared to those who have not been deployed. (more…)


Anaesthetist’s Nightmare – How to Deal with AWS

Posted on May 7th, 2015

Anaesthetist’s Nightmare – How to Deal with an Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome Patient

What is AWS, and what causes it?

Alcohol withdrawal syndrome refers to a set of symptoms exhibited by individuals who have completely ceased alcohol consumption, or have cut down dramatically on their alcohol intake.

AWS is caused by excessive alcohol consumption. Excessive alcohol consumption results in the alteration of GABA and glutamate receptors in the brain. GABA and glutamate activity is suppressed by the presence of large quantities of alcohol, this leads to tolerance. When alcohol consumption is suddenly stopped or heavily reduced, GABA and glutamate receptors are no longer suppressed, which cause hyper-excitability. Hyper-excitability then causes alcohol withdrawal symptoms. (more…)


Alcohol Death rate Remains Unchanged

Posted on May 5th, 2015

Men should not regularly drink more than 3-4 units of alcohol a day
Women should not regularly drink more than 2-3 units a day”

Are these guidelines being ignored?

More than 9 million people in England drink more than the recommended daily limits. This may not be any cause for concern if done very infrequently however regular heavy drinking increases crime, disorder and risks damaging health. Heavy drinking has been related to anaemia, some forms of cancer, cardiovascular disease, cirrhosis (severely damaged liver), depression and high blood pressure.

These are only just a few of the health risks directly associated with alcohol but there are number of consequences that could be the result of heavy drinking. For example consequences of heavy drinking can be incidents of; drink-driving, alcohol-related violence and domestic violence. Approximately 3.3 million (5.9 % of all deaths) deaths globally each year are related to alcohol (WHO, 2014). This is greater than the proportion of deaths from HIV/AIDS (2.8%), violence (0.9%) or tuberculosis (1.7%) (WHO, 2014). In the UK alone 8,1416 alcohol-related deaths were registered in 2013 (ONS). This is a rate of 14.0 deaths per 100,000 population.

Although, this figure has increased by 49 from the previous year this did not change the overall rate. Therefore death rates have remained unchanged for over a year, and there may or may not be any change over the last two years. Observing the longer-term trends the death rate from alcohol related causes was at its lowest at 2000 but this has been steadily increasing over the past 13 years. Furthermore, this statistic only includes causes regarded as being directly due to alcohol consumption.

It does not include other causes where alcohol has shown to have a casual relationship and therefore this statistic is very limited. If not all deaths that are related to alcohol are included, this does not allow the entire issue to be analysed and therefore the problem may not be fully tackled. This is a cause for concern as all deaths related to alcohol are avoidable, but why are these statistics not recognised as alarming?

Worryingly, male death rates were around twice the female rate at all ages and for those above the age of 90 this rate was three times higher for men compared to women. Those aged 55-74 consistently had the highest death rates over the period, for both sexes and it is perhaps those who are middle-aged and above are consuming large amounts of alcohol without worrying about the health risks.

The number of older people between the ages of 60 and 74 admitted to hospitals in England with mental and behavioural disorders associated with alcohol use has risen by over 150% in the past ten years, while the figure for 15-59 years old has increased by 94%. The government may not be recognising the target population of heavy drinkers and those who may be alcohol dependent. Caution is needed as alcohol related health risks are almost unnoticeable, until many years of damage will show signs of a disease.

It may be that campaigns are intervening too late and those who need access to alcohol services are being overlooked. For example, the impact assessment by the government was particularly interested in the age range of 16-24 which are known to be at particular risk of drinking excessive levels of alcohol. This statistic may be inflated by the age range being related to university students who are stereotype to over drink. This may only be the culture of university and may not be associated with alcohol dependency or any other reasons of excessive alcohol consumption.

14% of men and 9% of women have been reported to have drunk alcohol on five days or more in the last week. This statistic actually shows a decline in reported alcohol consumption since its peak in 2005. However, these figures began at very high levels that have been going up over many years. So this may show a positive effect, however there is still much more room for improvement.

There are many reasons why deaths rates related to alcohol have remained static and the government aims to tackle these reasons one by one. For instance, the Home Office’s Alcohol Strategy (2012) introduced a minimum unit price for alcohol as well as initiating a consultation on banning multi-buy alcohol discounting in order to reduce the number of people drinking to harmful levels. Increasing alcohol prices is one way of tackling heavy drinking as alcohol prices in the UK were 43% above the EU27 average, with Norway the most expensive (188% above the average).

Yet, alcohol is 61% more affordable than it was in 1980. It may not be enough to increase the price of alcohol, as it will be still be accessible to the majority of the population, as well still not discovering the roots as to why people to choose to drink excessively. If the roots of excessive drinking are not recognised, individuals will still find solutions in finding affordable alcohol in excess. Overall, this statistic is not being challenged by the government and perhaps they are only intervening when an individual recognises that they may have an alcohol problem. The government needs to look at this statistic from all perspectives and challenge each one in order to prevent this statistic from increasing and avoid numerous avoidable deaths.

Sources:

http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/subnational-health4/alcohol-related-deaths-in-the-united-kingdom/2013/sty-lives-lost-to-alcohol.html

http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/crime-stats/crime-statistics/focus-on-violent-crime-and-sexual-offences–2013-14/sty-facts-about-alcohol-related-violence.html

http://www.alcoholconcern.org.uk/help-and-advice/statistics-on-alcohol/

http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/features/12-health-risks-of-chronic-heavy-drinking?page=3

http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171778_394878.pdf

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/157769/ia-multi-buy-promotions.pdf

http://www.knowyourlimits.info/know%E2%80%A6-effects-alcohol

http://www.nhs.uk/LiveWell/over60s/Pages/The-top-five-causes-of-premature-death.aspx

http://archpedi.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=205204


Alcohol and Drug Related Ambulance Attendances trends

Posted on April 28th, 2015

In the UK we are known for our binge drinking habits and antics – sometimes, it is something that even seems to be celebrated. Even for those who are not accustomed to being part of drink and drug-fuelled nights out, you only have to switch on the television to catch a reality programme that shows nights out filled with paralytic youngsters. (more…)


Leaky Gut Syndrome and Dysbiosis

Posted on April 23rd, 2015

Leaky gut syndrome is already present in so many people and yet we are unaware that we have it.

The surface area of our intestines has a lining, and this barrier, which is our healthy intestinal lining, prevents substances from entering our blood stream. (more…)


How to Stop Binge Drinking?

Posted on April 20th, 2015

Binge drinking is widely recognised as a global habit that has serious repercussions on your health, wellbeing and lifestyle.

The acceptable social norms of the past have long been replaced by a new perception that dangerously underestimates the quantity and frequency of alcohol consumption, and the effect it has on the body and mind. (more…)


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