Why not go dry this July? Giving up alcohol is a great opportunity to challenge yourself and reap the long-term benefits of an improved wellbeing and lifestyle. Poor mental health could manifest itself in many ways, from mild anxiety or depression to addictions such as alcoholism and can put significant pressure on an individual and their family. See the services we can provide.
If you find it difficult to enjoy yourself or relax without having a drink, it’s possible you’ve become dependent on alcohol. The NHS estimates that just under one in 10 (8.7%) men in the UK and one in 20 (3.3%) UK women show signs of alcohol dependence (sometimes known as ‘alcoholism’). Being dependent on alcohol means you feel you’re not able to function without it, that drinking becomes an important, or sometimes the most important, factor in your life.
Handling alcohol dependence.
Like many other drugs, alcohol can be both physically and psychologically addictive. These are some signs to look out for that may suggest you’re becoming dependent on alcohol:
The main issues of alcohol dependency can include the following:
Have you ever been told that you drink too much?
Alcohol is one of the most widely consumed addictive substances in the world. Some people can control how much they drink, but others find it very difficult to drink in moderation.
Alcohol addiction, also known as alcoholism, is a severe condition that affects people from all walks of life. Overcoming an addiction to alcohol can be a long and bumpy road. At times, it may even feel impossible. However, this is not the case if you are ready to stop drinking and willing to get the support you need, you can recover from alcoholism and alcohol abuse - no matter how heavy your drinking or how powerless you feel.
The NHS estimates that around 9% of men in the UK and 3% of UK women show signs of alcohol dependence. This means that drinking alcohol becomes an important, or sometimes the most important, factor in their life and they feel they are unable to function without it.
According to a recent report by Drinkaware in 2016/17, there were an estimated 589,101 dependent drinkers in England of which 81.7% were not in treatment. The same study showed that in 2017/18, there were an estimated 1,171,253 admissions related to alcohol consumption in England, where an alcohol-related disease, injury or condition was the primary reason for hospital admission or a secondary diagnosis - a figure that is 3% higher than 2016/17, and one that represents 7.2% of all hospital admissions.
Every year, through its Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), which is funded by powerLottery, the Electrical Industries Charity (EIC) assists hundreds of people within the electrical sector who are struggling to overcome their addictions and lead full and meaningful lives by giving them all the support they need to embark on their road to recovery.
One example of this is an electrician, Daniel, who, due to many traumatic life events turned to alcohol to cope with his emotions, and as a result, he almost lost his life.
Daniel was referred to EIC by his concerned employer after alcohol-related physical and mental health forced him to take time off from work. He was admitted to hospital having had an alcohol-induced fit and had been in a coma. Daniel was estranged from his family and had gone into a further spiral following the death of his mum about 18 months earlier.
Deep down, Daniel knew that his alcohol dependency was worsening and that he needed help as soon as possible. EIC supported him with a full alcohol detox and rehabilitation in order to help him turn his life around. Daniel’s alcohol dependency and history of fitting meant it could be too dangerous for him without 24-hour medical care. He therefore underwent a hospital detox before entering a full rehabilitation unit where, if successful, he could then move to supported housing and back to a full and productive life.
Daniel’s initial progress was good, and he was extremely grateful for all the support that EIC has given to him as without the intervention of detox he could have died because his liver was in such a poor state. However, he started to find it difficult to open up to the counsellors and support workers on site at the rehabilitation unit, and his old anger issues resurfaced. He was angry at himself that he hadn’t stopped and looked for help earlier, that he had let his family down and that he had not tackled his alcohol problem when his mother was alive. He was also unable to address the real reasons he had started drinking originally, his grief over his mum’s passing away, and he could not continue on the rehab programme. Since then Daniel has been able to maintain sobriety but is finding it very difficult alone.
Battling an addiction is a lifelong and difficult struggle, but with the right support, it is possible to overcome any addiction and lead a more fulfilling life. So, why not show your support for those who are trying to overcome their addictions in order to have a better quality of life by signing up to EIC powerLottery or by becoming a partner of EAP today?
John is Head of Sales for a large electrical wholesaler. His job in sales involved lots of travelling and this was impacting on his marriage, his home life and work. John loved his wife but the relationship had changed over the years and with the excessive travel, they no longer had anything in common or to talk about.
He had always been a regular drinker but now he was turning to alcohol more and more, becoming very depressed, not sleeping and not eating…the crunch came when he was found in a desperate state having taken an overdose with the alcohol.
This was when John’s employer got in touch with EIC for help.
After the Charity had spoken to John, they talked through the various options, and although he was happy to try local solutions such as AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) he had not been honest with them and had not admitted that he was still drinking. He was so depressed, anxious and suicidal, it was decided that the best option was a Residential Rehab unit. The reason for this was the many and complex issues that were surfacing and there was so much more to deal with that a full rehab with ongoing support was offered.
John initially struggled at the Rehab Unit but worked well with everything that was offered and left after 4 weeks with 2-weekly follow-ups and was monitored by the Unit and the Charity before being moved on to local support. We assisted with a back-to-work programme with his employers and there has been a very successful outcome.
With assistance from EIC, John was brave and took the assistance given to deal with his issues and the alcohol – 6 months on he is still sober and much happier and a hardworking employee once again.
It is important to remember that you can support someone experiencing many different addictions, alcohol being one of them. EIC is always on hand to help support people in the electrical industries, whatever they are feeling, and will help them progress in moments of turmoil. Ultimately, this often helps the people closest to them deal with the circumstances too.
You may understand what alcoholism is, but how does it start? What leads a person from having the occasional drink to a full-blown alcohol addiction? Unfortunately, the answer isn’t so simple.
Alcoholism is a result of a combination of genetic, psychological, environmental and social factors. The more risk factors a person exhibits, the more likely they are to become an alcoholic. And sometimes those risk factors are entirely out of the person’s control. Let’s cover some of them below:
While not every person turns to alcohol to relieve stress, some people do. When a person has a stressful job, for example, they may be more likely to drink heavily. This is often the case with certain occupations such as doctors and nurses – their day-to-day lives can be extremely stressful. To lower this risk factor, take the time to de-stress with healthy methods, like reading a good book, exercising or taking a nap.
According to the Mayo Clinic, those who begin drinking at an early age are more likely to have an alcohol problem or a physical dependence on alcohol as they get older. Not only is this because drinking may become a comfortable habit, but also because the body’s tolerance levels may increase.
Anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder or other mental health issues can increase risk of alcoholism. It’s easy to turn to alcohol when a person is feeling anxious or depressed – and the effects of alcohol may seem to temporarily ease those feelings. This can resort to drinking more and more, leading to alcohol addiction.
Some medicines can increase the toxic effects of alcohol on the body. When a person continually takes alcohol with their medications, they may become addicted to the effects that follow – some of which have the capability to be very dangerous and even life-threatening.
If you have a parent or other relative who is an alcoholic, your risk of alcoholism automatically increases. Part of this is due to genetics, but the other part has to do with your environment. Spending time around people who drink heavily, or abuse alcohol can influence you to do the same.
Multiple factors can play a role in a person’s risk of alcoholism. While the above may not directly be considered “causes” of alcoholism, they can play a role in its development. It’s important to understand your risk and do what you can to lower it as much as possible.
Alcohol abuse is any "harmful use" of alcohol but is that the same as alcohol dependence? These two terms are not the same. While an alcohol abuser is prone to binge drinking, someone who is dependent on alcohol exhibits a variety of other symptoms.
Who is an alcohol abuser?
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV describes alcohol abusers as those who continue to drink despite recurrent social, interpersonal, and legal problems as a result of their alcohol use. Harmful use implies their drinking causes either physical or mental damage.
Typically, you can help those drinkers diagnosed as alcohol abusers with a brief intervention, including education concerning the dangers of binge drinking and alcohol poisoning.
Who is an alcohol dependent?
If you are alcohol-dependent, you meet all of the criteria of alcohol abuse mentioned above, but you will also exhibit some or all of the following:
Those who are alcohol dependent generally require outside help to stop drinking, which could include detoxification, medical treatment, professional rehab or counselling and/or self-help group support.
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms and treatment?
If you are alcohol-dependent and decide to change your life and quit drinking, you can expect to experience withdrawal symptoms. These discomforts usually peak 24 to 72 hours after your last drink but may last for weeks, according to information from the National Institutes of Health.
Those with mild to moderate symptoms generally receive treatment in an outpatient setting. You should ask a loved one to stay with you during this process and you may need to visit a clinician for daily monitoring.
If you have moderate to severe symptoms, you may require inpatient treatment at a hospital or substance abuse facility. The treatment may involve intravenous fluids, sedation medication and monitoring of blood pressure, heart rate and other vital signs.
Symptoms of severe alcohol withdrawal include:
Are you ready to quit drinking or cut down to healthier levels? These tips can help you get started on the road to recovery.
How do I stop drinking?
Overcoming an addiction to alcohol can be a long and bumpy road. At times, it may even feel impossible. But it’s not. If you’re ready to stop drinking and willing to get the support you need, you can recover from alcoholism and alcohol abuse—no matter how heavy your drinking or how powerless you feel. And you don’t have to wait until you hit rock bottom; you can make a change at any time. Whether you want to quit drinking altogether or cut down to healthier levels, these guidelines can help you get started on the road to recovery today.
Most people with alcohol problems do not decide to make a big change out of the blue or transform their drinking habits overnight. Recovery is usually a more gradual process. In the early stages of change, denial is a huge obstacle. Even after admitting you have a drinking problem; you may make excuses and drag your feet. It’s important to acknowledge your ambivalence about stopping drinking. If you’re not sure if you’re ready to change or you’re struggling with the decision, it can help to think about the costs and benefits of each choice.
Evaluating the costs and benefits of drinking
Benefits of drinking
Costs of drinking
Benefits of NOT drinking
Costs of NOT drinking
Set goals and prepare for change
Once you’ve made the decision to change, the next step is establishing clear drinking goals. The more specific, realistic, and clear your goals, the better.
Example #1: My drinking goal: I will stop drinking alcohol. My quit date is __________.
Example #2: My drinking goal: I will stop drinking on weekdays, starting as of __________.
Example #3: My drinking goal: I will limit my Saturday and Sunday drinking to no more than three drinks per day or five drinks per weekend.
Example #4: My drinking goal: After three months, I will cut back my weekend drinking even more to a maximum of two drinks per day and three drinks per weekend.
Do you want to stop drinking altogether or just cut back?
If your goal is to reduce your drinking, decide which days you will drink alcohol and how many drinks you will allow yourself per day. Try to commit to at least two days each week when you won’t drink at all.
When do you want to stop drinking or start drinking less? Tomorrow? In a week? Next month? Within six months? If you’re trying to stop drinking, set a specific quit date.
How to acccomplish your goals
After you’ve set your goals to either stop or cut back your drinking, write down some ideas on how you can help yourself accomplish these goals. For example
Alcohol addiction treatment options
Some people are able to stop drinking on their own or with the help of a 12-step program or other support group, while others need medical supervision in order to withdraw from alcohol safely and comfortably. Which option is best for you depends on how much you’ve been drinking, how long you’ve had a problem, the stability of your living situation, and other health issues you may have?
Examples of alcohol treatment programs
Therefore, we are currently providing a wide variety of key services with focused support to meet every individual’s needs, such as:
The Sinclair Method (TSM) is a treatment for alcohol addiction that uses a technique called pharmacological extinction—the use of an opiate blocker to turn habit-forming behaviours into habit erasing behaviours. The effect returns a person’s craving for alcohol to its pre-addiction state.
In a few months, most people can cut down their alcohol consumption to safe levels and many stop drinking alcohol for good. It is important to comply with the instructions at all times.
How TSM works:
Just take a tablet one to two hours before drinking before your first drink of the day for the rest of your life as long as you continue to drink. The tablets chemically disrupt the body’s behaviour/reward cycle causing you to want to drink less instead of more.
If you stop taking the medication before drinking, you can undo the progress and go back to drinking how you did before the treatment.
The Sinclair Method has a 78% long-term success rate.
Studies have proven that TSM is equally effective with or without therapy, so patients can choose whether or not to combine TSM with therapy. The physical results will be the same. Extinction usually occurs within 3-4 months.
About one quarter of those on TSM become 100% abstinent. Those who continue to drink will have to take their medication prior to drinking for as long as they continue to drink.
Completing a rehabilitation programme and seeing it through until the end is a major achievement for anyone suffering from addiction, alcoholism or an activity-based addiction. The illness of addiction, by nature, makes it very difficult for sufferers to complete anything. Yet it is important to recognise that real recovery starts back in the community and in reintegrating your newfound sobriety/recovery into your everyday life, family, work and relationships. Staying clean and sober requires a lifetime of dedication and commitment by the individual, to put into practise what they have learned from the process of rehabilitation within the rehab environment.
When is it considered alcholism?
Watching a family member, friend, or co-worker with an alcohol use disorder can be difficult. You might wonder what you can do to change the situation, and whether or not the person even wants your help.
Alcoholism is a term used to describe someone with an alcohol use disorder. Someone with alcoholism has both a physical and psychological dependence on alcohol. They may have problems controlling their drinking habits or choose to keep drinking even though it causes problems. These problems may interfere with their professional and social relationships or even their own health.
An alcohol use disorder can range from mild to severe. Mild patterns may develop into more serious complications. Early treatment and intervention can help people with alcohol use disorder. While it’s up to the person to willingly start their sobriety journey, you can also help. Read on for some steps you can take to help your friend, family member, or loved one.
How to approach someone with alcohol use disorder
How to support your loved on through their journey
Treatment of alcohol use disorder is an ongoing process. Don’t consider your part done after your friend or family member is in therapy. If they are open to it, attend meetings with them. Offer to help out with work, childcare, and household tasks if they get in the way of treatment sessions.
Standing by your friend or family member’s progress during and after treatment is important, too. For example, alcohol is everywhere. Even after recovery, your person will be in situations they can’t predict. Ways you can help include avoiding alcohol when you’re together or opting out of drinking in social situations. Ask about new strategies that they learned in treatment or meetings. Stay invested in their long-term recovery.
What not to do
Treating alcoholism isn’t easy, and it doesn’t always work the first time around. Often a person has been contemplating abstinence for some time yet couldn’t get sober on their own. Patience is necessary. Don’t blame yourself if the first intervention isn’t successful. The most successful treatment happens when a person wants to change.
Get help for yourself
Remember to take care of yourself, too. The emotional impact of helping a loved one stay sober can take a toll. Seek help from a therapist or a counsellor if you feel stressed or depressed. You can also participate in a program that’s designed for the friends and family members of alcoholics, such as Al-Anon.
Don't become co-dependent
hen alcoholism affects a spouse or partner, it’s possible to become too wrapped up in their well-being. This is called co-dependency. You may get to the point where you feel compelled to help your person get well. However, family members and friends often have deep emotional ties that prevent them from having the objective viewpoint necessary for treatment.
If you don’t control co-dependency, it can lead into more serious complications such as obsessive behaviour, blame, and mental health issues.
Fortunately, you can still be supportive without becoming a counsellor or coach.
Finding the right way to approach someone you think may have an alcohol use disorder can be tough. Before you speak with them, try putting yourself in their shoes. The most important thing is to let them know that you care and that you’ll be there when they need your support.
How to stop the signs, know what to say and what you can do to help?
Signs that someone you care about is drinking too much can be hard to spot if you don't know what to look out for. It's obvious when your friend or family member appears visibly drunk or they drink large amounts of alcohol in short spells. As someone close to them, you may be better placed to recognise their change in behaviour.
Alcoholism is a ‘family disease’, it affects the whole family. It affects each member of the sufferer’s family differently – from the unborn child to their closest relatives: children of all ages, wives/husbands, brothers and sisters, parents and other close relatives are all negatively impacted by their drinking problem.
Negative effects of alcoholism upon the family include:
The impact on home life can be immense:
Effects upon spouses and partners
The alcoholic’s change in behaviour and drinking habits will affect the spouse or partner. They might experience psychological trauma and physical health problems. As family responsibilities shift from two parents to one, financial difficulties may arise. The spouse will start to feel hatred, self-pity and exhaustion as they have to cover for the alcoholic’s actions or passivity.
Divorce rates are much higher than average among couples with a partner suffering from alcoholism. This can be down to poor communication, stress, increased distress at seeing one’s partner decline, intimacy issues and marital abuse be it verbal abuse, emotional abuse, physical abuse or even sexual abuse.
Spouses often become co-dependent. They become compulsive caretakers, increasingly tolerant of their partner’s drinking. According to Melody Beattie, co-dependency is “a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual condition similar to alcoholism that appears in many non-alcoholic or non-chemically dependent people who are close to an alcoholic”.
Effects upon children
Parental alcoholism also seriously affects young children or teenagers. Many of these children develop psychological problems sych as low self-esteem, feelings of guilt and helplessness, loneliness and a fear of abandonment, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and chronic depression.
This can lead to:
Children of alcoholics (COAs) often feel responsible for their parent’s drinking and may think they caused the problem. As they grow, the stressful environment at home influences their emotional development: they may find it difficult to make friends, develop phobias, have problems in school.
Spouses and children of people suffering from alcoholism are trying to help, but what they are doing is enabling, a term that describes the family’s protective intentions: they are shielding the addicted person from the consequences of their behaviour by denying the drinking problem and helping cover the problems caused by his/her alcoholism. But this cannot stop the alcohol drinking patterns. By trying to keep the family together they are contributing to the cycle of addiction, instead of addressing it as a family problem and looking to break the cycle. Their efforts are well-intentioned but misguided.