This week it is Alcohol Awareness Week, and this year the theme of Alcohol Awareness Week is "Change". That's because too often in British culture drinking is seen as an expectation, rather than a choice. There's pressure to drink when out with people. The pub is a convenient place to meet, and of course pubs serve alcohol.
But throughout Britain, people are suffering as a result of their own or other people's drinking. It causes arguments, let-downs, accidents – and when alcohol is drunk excessively it's terrible for your health.
Alcohol misuse is the highest risk factor for death, poor health and disability among 15-49 year-olds in the UK. Alcohol is a factor in more than 60 medical conditions, including mouth, throat, stomach, liver and breast cancers; high blood pressure; liver cirrhosis; and depression.
In the UK in 2014-5, there were an estimated 1.1 million hospital admissions related to alcohol consumption where an alcohol-related disease, injury or condition was the primary reason for hospital admission or a secondary diagnosis. In the same period there were 339,000 admissions for conditions directly caused by alcohol. It's thought to cost the NHS around £3.5 billion annually.
There are an estimated 600,000 dependent drinkers in England, but only one in six are currently accessing treatment. So this awareness week suggests that we ask: are you drinking too much? Is there someone else you know who could do with some help?
Millions of people choose to drink more healthily or stop drinking altogether each year, and their lives and those around them change for the better. If you decide you need to take this route, this is the week to start. You'll soon feel the benefits.
For more information: https://www.alcoholconcern.
For help to quit drinking: https://www.alcoholics-