Emma was a high flyer with a drinking problem

Emma Kinsella was a high flyer with a drinking problem. She  had graduated from college with a business degree and got a highly sought after job in one of the big four accounting firms.  On the surface everything was great.

She was passing her accountancy exams. She was getting good performance reviews. Life was busy and good. Inside though she was struggling.

 

A drinking culture

Emma started drinking in her 20’s. Fairly late by Irish standards. She had heavy drinking nights out in college, but always studied hard in between. In work, there were 12 hour working days with a post work drinking culture. Emma however preferred to go home to relax with a bottle of wine. She did not realise this was the start of a drinking problem.

 

She stopped drinking

Although sometimes she felt her drinking was a little high, she had no problem stopping when she got pregnant. She had a difficult labour and suffered from post-natal depression. But she could not put into words

“How I was feeling or how overwhelmed I was”

 

A major drinking problem

Drink helped Emma turn off her emotions. However it stopped working and she started to drink more and more. Her drinking problem became a major issue. She ended up in St Pat’s psychiatric hospital, Cluan Mhuire, then the Renewal addiction centre. Her partner left taking  their son with him.

 

She was a nightmare patient

Emma describes herself as a “nightmare patient” She just kept drinking again and again.  This makes me really angry because Emma had what is called a dual diagnosis. She had both a mental health and addiction issue. But health services see these as totally separate issues, so she kept being told they could not treat her mental health until her drinking problem was under control. As Inside Rehab says

“addiction is the only area of health care where we blame the patient when the treatment does not work”.

 

Emma was failed by the healthcare system

So I’m angry because Emma could have suffered a lot less. The healthcare treatments she received did not meet her needs. They also missed another major issue.

 

Emma‘s childhood experience

When Emma was just 3 years old, the sexual abuse started. It was a relative. Emma blamed herself and thought everybody knew.  She carried a lot of guilt. She blocked out these emotions and never disclosed what had happened to all the different health care professionals she met.

 

Difficult childhood experiences

Difficult childhood experiences ( the experts call these Adverse Childhood Experiences or ACE) are well known to be a cause of drinking problems. However  our treatment systems do not look at this. They ask

“What’s wrong with you?”

 Instead of

“What happened you”?

They don’t create a safe space for people to tell their stories and take the first step in healing.

Until our treatment systems change, people like Emma will continue to suffer more than they need to. Treatment systems need to become “trauma responsive”, as the experts say.

 

Emma made a great recovery

Eventually Emma  got the right type of help. Now she’s got her relationship with her son back. Her ex-partner  trusts her again. Emma shows even the most severe drinking problems can be fixed with the right help.

 

Is your drinking problem caused by childhood trauma?

So if you’re having difficulty getting your drinking under control, consider whether your childhood experiences might be an issue for you. It does not have to be as horrific as Emma’s story. It could be something like childhood emotional neglect. We’ve written about this here. It’s very common in Ireland.

So as brave Emma’s wonderful story shows never give up hope. Change is always possible.

 

Like this post?

You can read Emma’s full story, written by Sheila Wayman here.   

You can find out more about the role of childhood experiences in alcohol harm here.

You can find help on finding the right treatment here.

 

Photo Dara mac Dónaill

Is everything we know about treating drinking harm wrong?

The more I learn about treating drinking harm, the less I think I know. In health care, the debates about what is the best way to solve drinking harm rage on. Is not drinking at all better than moderation? Do people have to reach rock bottom before they get better? Does medication have a role in treatment?

 

Which treatment?

There’s a wide range of services for treating drinking harm most of which are underfunded and under pressure. There’s AA, private and public residential services, community services, psychotherapy, counselling, housing first, etc.

Each of these services for treating drinking harm have their own approach and can offer anything from 12 steps treatments, medications, cognitive behavioural therapy, motivational interviewing, peer support groups, psychotherapy, occupational therapies, exercise therapies, anger management to neurofeedback and EMDR.

We wrote about choosing a service here.

 

Which service for treating drinking harm work best?

So which treatment for drinking harm work best? The answer to this is we don’t know for sure. We know some treatments work for some people but not for others. I get really frustrated by the lack of regular up to date reporting on success rates. Services make claims about treatment success rates, but we don’t even have one standard definition of what success is. Is it about not drinking at all?  Is it about  drinking less? Is it someone being happy and fulfilled in their life?

 

There is no look back to see what works

At this stage, I’m sure everyone knows about the cervical cancer screening scandal. We wrote it about here. But if this type of scandal happened in alcohol treatments nobody would know. Because there is no routine clinical audit in alcohol treatments. Unlike mainstream medical treatments where there is a culture of looking back on what treatments worked and which did not , alcohol treatment services don’t do this. You see if the treatment does not work, the tendency is to blame the person with the problem- not the treatment. People who fail are told.

”You did not work the system hard enough”

 

Pat Bracken throws some light

So when I first came across the writing of Pat Bracken, some years ago, it was a light bulb moment for me. It was really helpful in making sense of why some treatments work for some people and not for others.

Pat writes that what is most important is looking at the values, meanings and relationships in our lives. We should prioritise

  1. Understanding the power and relationships in our lives
  2. Understanding what is the meaning and context of our lives
  3. Understanding what are our values and our priorities.

In these areas, we are the experts. We are the most knowledgeable and well informed in our own lives.

Pat argues that the role of therapy, treatment models, research are all secondary or subservient to these three issues.

 

You are the expert

In Pat’s approach, the role of the health care professional changes from being an expert “fixing” the person drinking too much. Instead the health care professional becomes a trusted ally helping the person drinking too much to make sense of their lives. The person drinking too much is the expert in fixing their own life.

 

Sounds crazy?

Maybe this sounds crazy. And, yes there are many crazy approaches to treating alcohol harm. (The scientologists are even setting up in Ireland, but sin scéal eile) But Pat is most definitely not crazy. He worked as a HSE consultant psychiatrist in West Cork for many years and introduced many new and novel approaches there which are gradually being adopted nationwide.

 

Try it out

So why not try it out?  Ask yourself these questions

  1. Do you understand who has power in your life? E.g. you, your partner, your boss, your parents, siblings, friends
  2. Do you understand the relationships in your life e.g. are they supportive, critical, nurturing, toxic etc.?
  3. What is the meaning and context of your life e.g. Do you know what your purpose in life is? If yes are you happy with that purpose
  4. What are your values and priorities e.g. Do you know what your values are. Are you living a life consistent with these? What are your priorities? Do you feel you are making progress on your priorities?

 

These questions can help

Asking yourself these questions could be the first step in getting your drinking under control. In a future post, I’ll talk about a real story, where someone I loved nearly died, as a direct result of the meaning they placed on something that happened in their life.

Note

If you found this post useful you might enjoy these as well

Can an alcohol counsellor help you?

Rehab when is it useful?

 

 

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Ask About Alcohol, will it help solve Ireland’s drink problem?

Ask About Alcohol the new alcohol awareness campaign from the HSE was launched earlier this month there’s a website, videos and radio ads.

Ask about alcohol aims to raise awareness that the majority of Irish people who drink are drinking in a way that harms them. Incredibly, it’s the very first time the HSE has produced an offical  website which is devoted to alcohol only. It’s incredible because alcohol kills far more people than  suicide or road accidents as you can see below.

(Note, We’re not an official government service, but our information is reliable and comes from reputable sources such as WHO, HSE and the NHS)

 

Ask About Alcohol has nice features

As a first step the ask about alcohol website is very welcome. It’s well designed and provides plenty of easy to read information for parents, women and men. There’s also information for health care professionals.

There’s an easy to use drinks calculator which allows you to quickly calculate whether your drinking is a problem.  The calculator results also show you how many calories you’re consuming and the number of burgers and teaspoons of sugar this represents.  It also shows what you could buy if you were not spending money on drink. E.g. a high definition TV. They’ve obviously done the research on what motivates people to reduce their drinking

There’s a search feature where you can find treatment services which have been screened by the HSE. (We’re included)

 

Ask About Alcohol videos represent real life

The videos supporting the ads are well designed, to the point and represent real life. I really like the one where the woman reducing her drinking to control her weight, gets  really negative vibes from her friend. We find this is a common reaction from friends. (You can see the video here) Already the video has  70,000 plus views.

The video about the young footballer being hung over on the football pitch and substituted is good too. But it’s only got 7,000 views. Perhaps confirming all the research that women are much more motivated to take action on their health. One of the reasons we decided to develop this website to help women first.

 

The negatives in Ask About Alcohol

There’s a few  misspellings in a couple of places and some graphics have the wrong title. In general they avoid shaming and blaming people for drinking too much. In some places though they refer to the “high functioning alcoholic” or “chronic alcoholic”

ask about alcohol

As regular readers know we hate this term, as most people see this as hitting rock bottom, being homeless and having a lifelong alcohol problem.  There’s so much stigma around it. Stigma that prevents people from seeking help. For a website that’s aims at raising awareness in the 1.34 million people who drink harmfully this may put people off.

 

The medications list misses a few key drugs

Although there’s a link to prescription medications that can cause problems with alcohol, the information provided is not complete. For example, getting drunk is very dangerous when taking warfarin, a common drug used to prevent heart attacks, strokes, and blood clots because it increases the risks of bleeding.  (See here ) The most complete list we’ve found is here, but it’s American so some of the drug descriptions  used are different.

 

The helpline only operates during office hours

The helpline 1800 459 459 only operates during office hours. Worse when we tried to ring it during the weekend we just got

“You are through the HSE helpline, please stay on the line while we try to connect your call”

And then we got promptly cut off both times!

From our experience, peak time for people looking for help is Sunday, so a helpline operating on Sunday would be useful.

 

Overall Conclusion

If  we were really serious about tackling the alcohol abuse problem, Ask About Alcohol would also include

  • An online personalised treatment  service (we have short courses available here )
  • Opt in notifications – such as weekly emails, (you can join our email list here) text prompts and webinars. (Where you can join online chats)
  • A calculator which allows you to track your drinking.  The research shows this really helps people to reduce their drinking. Lack of money means we can’t provide one but you can find a nice free calculator here.

There is a tiny team working on the alcohol issue in both the HSE and the Department of Health. This is despite the fact the alcohol abuse problem consumes over 10% of the health care budget every year.  These range from an increased risk  of breast cancer, chest infections to pancreatis.(You can see a quick video on alcohol harms here.You’ll probably be surprised about how wide ranging these problems are)

1,500 of our 11,000 hospital beds are occupied every single night by people with alcohol related illnesses. Reducing this by 30% would solve the trolley bed problem, so it’s disturbing how little attention the alcohol harm problem receives.

ask about alcohol

 

When you take into account the budgets they have, Ask About Alcohol is a very good step in the right direction. It will be interesting to see how long the radio ads and digital marketing will continue. Hopefully there is a decent budget for these. In Ireland radio is a very good way of reaching people. If the ads reach a large group of people, it might start a much needed discussion about our alcohol problem and start improving  our understanding  of alcohol abuse.

 

The big picture

Despite constant lobbying from the community sector to take more effective action on alcohol abuse, little has changed. Indeed our associate charity Dual Diagnosis Ireland had to lobby hard with other charities to prevent alcohol being taking out of the proposed new strategy on drug harms early last year.  The treatment sector is underfunded and it’s crazy that we’re still wasting time  revisiting key decisions already taken. This reduces the already limited ability of the sector to improve treatments.

Big alcohol has such influence in creating a climate of acceptance of alcohol harm. (see more here) They’ve encouraged watering down of legislation and prevented legislation to reduce alcohol harm being passed (see more here).  At the current rate of progress, it is unlikely we’re going to see much change for a few generations.

If you’d like to support our petition to change this, please click here.

 

 

 

Key questions to ask on alcohol treatments

We’ve had a few people asking us about alcohol treatments so we thought we’d do a post to bring together all the different posts we’ve done on alcohol treatments.

 

All about residential alcohol treatments

Our first post explains all about residential rehabs when you actually live in a treatment centre for a period of time. Depending on the treatment centre this can range from one month to three months. We explain when this may be helpful.The treatments offered by each centre differ so you need to check out what each treatment offers before deciding which treatment centre is right for you.

Click here for more details

 

How can an  alcohol treatment counsellor help you ?

Most people with an alcohol problem,do not need to go into a residential alcohol treatment. Seeing  a counsellor may be helpful. This post explains how counsellors work and the different types of counsellors. We explain what they do, how they work and issues to consider when choosing one

Click here for more details

 

Key questions to ask an alcohol treatment counsellor

So you’ve decided to see a counsellor and have the names of possible counsellors. This post gives useful questions to ask a counsellor to help you make the decision as to which counsellor is right for you.

Click here for more details

 

Remember you are unique and need a treatment that works for you

Unfortunately in alcohol abuse treatments, some services insist on a “sheep dip” approach where everybody goes through the same treatment. Everyone has different reasons for drinking too much so treatment should tackle these reasons rather than assuming every one is the same.

So it is really important to find a treatment approach that is tailored to you personally. Often this may be called “person centered” treatment.  So it’s useful to ask if the service has a “person centered” approach.

We provide a range of free and paid courses so there may be one that suits you. Click here for more details.

 

Ask us a question

If you have questions on alcohol treatments, please do email us and we’ll do our very best to help.

Click here to email us.

Key questions to ask on alcohol treatment

There are lots of different types of alcohol treatment. I’ve covered rehab and choosing a counsellor previously so this post  covers key questions to ask  when speaking to a counsellor. When you contact a counsellor don’t be afraid to ask plenty of questions. A good counsellor will welcome questions as they will want to make sure their alcohol treatment approach can help you.

 

 Ask about qualifications

In Ireland, there is no law to stop someone calling themselves a counsellor or therapist when they have no training or qualifications. This warning also applies to other treatments such as hypnosis. So do check the websites of the professional counselling associations to make sure your counsellor is qualified to practise. You should also know that some one can be a member of a professional counselling association but may not be accredited to practise as a counsellor. For example, a student member is not fully qualified to practise.  A listing of the main  Irish associations is shown at the end of this post.

 

Psychologists

A counsellor can also be called a psychologist, which is a term about to be protected by law.  You can check psychologist  registration on this website. There are many different types of psychologists. For example, an educational psychologist will probably not be trained in providing alcohol treatment. They focus on how people to learn.

If you decide you need a psychologist,  ideally a counselling psychologist with alcohol abuse training is best.  If you think you have an underlying mental health issue such as ADHD you may find a  clinical psychologist with alcohol abuse training helpful.

 

Different approaches in different countries

In England there are  voluntary registers for counsellors which can be found here.  The American situation is different again. A useful guide for finding alcohol treatment can be found in this book “inside rehab” by Anne M. Fletcher which can be found here.

 

 Cost

Find out cost from the very start. Cost can vary considerably, from free services to up to €150 per hour. Psychologists tend to be at the higher end of the range. The fee is usually per session and some counsellors offer a sliding scale according to your ability to pay.

To help you work out the cost, ask the counsellor if they can give you an estimate of how many sessions might be involved. Counselling is provided free within some public health services and most third level institutions offer student counselling services free of charge. A number of voluntary agencies also provide free counselling.

Some health insurance packages cover the cost of a limited number of counselling sessions. Ask your insurer to clarify the terms and conditions of cover.

If cost is a problem, this should be mentioned when making enquiries as some organisations may have sliding scales, low cost options or payment on the basis of a donation.

 

You might find these questions about approach useful:

  1. Have you worked with people who misuse alcohol before?
  2. What is your approach? e.g 12 step, harm reduction, person centered etc. (We’ll  have  another post on this)
  3. What do you think is the goal of the therapy?
  4. What methods do you employ?
  5. What’s the number of sessions you think we’ll need?
  6. Is the timing of these sessions flexible or do they have to happen at a regular scheduled time ?
  7. What’s expected from me? (For instance, are there homework assignments ?)

 

You might find the questions below useful after the first session;

  1. Did you feel the counsellor listened and understood your concerns?
  2. Did you feel like the counsellor respected you?
  3. Did you feel the counsellor saw you as an equal and did not patronise you?
  4. Did the Counsellor seem like a real person or were they playing a role?
  5. Was the counsellor passive (simply listening) or active (asking questions) in the session? What do you like better?
  6. Does it seem like the counsellor will be open to hearing about all your feelings, including being frustrated or angry with the counsellor?
  7. Do you feel the counsellor will not judge you if you have a relapse or continue to drink?
  8. Did the counsellor have a positive outlook on life?
  9. Did you feel safe expressing your thoughts, concerns and feelings?

 

If you are not answering yes to most of these questions, then this counsellor may not be right for you and you should consider trying another counsellor.

All the research shows the relationship between the client and counsellor is the key to success. Do make sure you feel comfortable with your counsellor. If you do not feel comfortable with your counsellor it might be time to try another counsellor.

 

Alcohol treatment

As you can see there are a wide range of issues to consider when deciding on alcohol treatments. Sometimes it can take a few attempts to find  an approach  that suits you.  So don’t give up if you don’t succeed the first time. It could be this was not the right treatment for you.

Finally we have a number of online courses both free and paid you might find useful that you can find here.

 

If you found this post helpful, you might find these posts useful

Can an alcohol counsellor help you?

Rehab when is it needed?

 

Irish Associations for Counselling and Psychotherapy

Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy

Irish Association of Humanistic and Integrative Psychotherapy

The Psychological Society of Ireland

Irish Council for Addiction Counsellors

 

 

 

Lifewise helping to solve the alcohol abuse problem

It’s early days yet to know whether  Lifewise is helping to solve the alcohol abuse problem.  We’ve only  just built the website.

You won’t see many comments on the blog because alcohol abuse has such  stigma.  However  we are getting very nice emails from people complimenting us on the website and saying Lifewise is helping to solve the alcohol abuse problem. So we thought we’d publish a few quotes where we have permission.

 

Some quotes from Health Care Professionals

“You’re onto a winner with this website”

“I really liked the website the lady, Valerie, was fab!  Truly, I watched some of the videos and you really get a sense that she’s walked the road herself and knows how recovery should work.   I thought it was bright, easy to navigate and very very useful”

“I’m really impressed, it looks amazing. The layout is great and really easy to navigate. The Alcohol Support Services and Blog pages are excellent, loads of useful information”

 

Some quotes from people with alcohol misuse problems

 “I really like Lifewise, It’s open and honest and has me thinking”

The emails are really useful for making me think. I share them with some friends”

“I wish I’d learned these tips earlier, would have saved me a lot of trouble”

 

is Lifewise  helping people with alcohol misuse problems?

Well the feedback so far is very good. Only when we have larger numbers of people using the website   and complete a formal  evaluation can we say  for certain 100% yes.  Lifewise is helping. But already   we’re creating awareness and that is the start of solving any problem.

What we do know is on average people who are misusing alcohol do so for about ten years before seeking help. If they seek help at all.

Most people misusing alcohol are not alcoholics

Most alcohol services are aimed at people with severe alcohol abuse problems.  Yet, 90% of people with an alcohol abuse problem are not addicted to alcohol.  There are 1.5 million people  in Ireland alone abusing alcohol, yet officially just 8,000 people are recorded as receiving help.

Over 1,500 of our hospital beds are occupied every single night by people with alcohol related problems. If we even reduced this by 30%, nobody would have to wait on a trolley bed in hospital emergency departments.

So more services like Lifewise are badly needed. The research shows people use these services to help them reduce their level of drinking and if they have a severe alcohol misuse problem, they go to their doctor more quickly.

 

What do you think?

We’d love to hear your views?

Is Lifewise helping you?

Is there anything you don’t like?

What would you like more of?

 

You can email us here info@alifewise.ie and we promise to reply confidentially to all emails.

Don’t forget if you’d like to stay up to date you can sign up for our ezines here.

Can an alcohol counsellor help you?

 I talked in this post about  rehabs and promised to come back to how an alcohol counsellor may help. So first to explain some terms.

 

What is counselling & psychotherapy?

Counselling & Psychotherapy are words used to  describe  a range of talking therapies which is when you meet with a health care professional  (often known as therapist) who is specially trained to  help. Counselling usually involves committing to a series of regular sessions of about an hour in length over a period of time.

 

Is it easier to talk to a stranger?

Sometimes it is easier to talk to a stranger than to relatives or friends.  During counselling the therapist listens to you and helps you find your own answers to problems without judging you. The counsellor will give you time to talk, cry or just think without judging you.

 

You do not need to be in a crisis

You do not need to be in crisis to go to counselling, in the same way you might do a course to get a promotion or better job, counselling can be a form of self-development in order to lead a happier more productive life.  It can also help to maintain a sense of well-being whilst facing challenges in your life.  For example, caring for an elderly parent with Alzheimer’s can be very stressful. I’m in this situation and even though I have very supportive friends I find it really helpful to talk to a counsellor on a regular basis.

 

There are many different types of counsellors

There are many different types of counsellors/therapists with psychological training from clinical psychologists, occupational psychologists, to counselling psychologists, psychothera­pists to CBT counsellors and creative art therapists. Each of these is trained to treat your mental health problems in a different way and there is much discussion about which way is best. Some of these professionals will have gone through their own personal psychological therapy as part of their training, but others do not.

 

Do all counsellors treat alcohol misuse?

Because of the different types of training they receive alcohol and mental health issues are seen as two different problems. So many counsellors treat mental health issues only and not alcohol abuse issues. This does seem a little crazy as the research shows many people misusing alcohol have an underlying health problem such as anxiety or depression. You can find out more about this issue on this website here. (Note: Angela and I helped to co-found this website)

 

Do all alcohol counsellors help with mental health problems?

It depends on when and where they trained. Some alcohol counsellor training  courses follow the Alcohol Anonymous 12 step model and the alcohol counsellors are not trained to deal with other  mental health issues. Ideally it is best to choose a counsellor who is trained to treat both alcohol misuse and mental health issues.

 

Which alcohol counsellor is best for me?

Research shows  a good relationship with your psychologist or counsellor is the most important part of solving your problem.

You should make sure you feel comfortable and safe with your counsellor and you choose a therapist that supports you in setting your own treatment goals and uses a therapy that suits you.

 

Try to understand what you need

For example, you may have experienced bullying in school but never abused alcohol until you started experiencing anxiety as a result of a stressful work situation. So you may decide you wish to learn to manage your anxiety better, but do not wish to re-open the issue of your childhood bullying. A professional and ethical therapist will accept your decision and work with you on your anxiety only without passing judgement or attempting to re -open the childhood bullying issue as they will know this could be very damaging to you.

 

CBT therapy

CBT therapy can be very effective for anxiety and alcohol misuse and does not generally have to look at childhood issues. A therapist who uses only psychoanalytic therapies may tend to help by examining childhood issues. They may tend to focus on your childhood. So it is useful to know what type of approach the counsellor will use. A highly trained alcohol counsellor will use a mix of  therapy approaches as that way they are more likely to find an approach that suits you.

We’ll have a course on CBT soon, so if you’d like to know when it becomes available please click here.

In a future post, I’ll deal with selecting the right counsellor for you.

 

 

 

 

 

Do health care professionals downplay alcohol misuse?

In my last post, I described the night when I said my final goodbye to alcohol. A night which concluded with me waking up in a hospital bed. I was an adult- thirty-five  but had  no memory of having got there. The duty nurse  checked me over before sending me off home with my tail between my legs. She  asked me nothing about my  circumstances. Why had  l consumed so much booze that I’d collapsed and vomited all over myself repeatedly. Nor did she ask why someone, ostensibly of reasonable intelligence, could find herself drinking such vast quantities. So much  that she would be brought into A&E via ambulance on a Wednesday night, after drinking alone.

 

No alarm bells were ringing

Surely, alarm bells would have been ringing out? Surely the nurse might have pondered the fact that perhaps, possibly, just maybe…I had a drink problem? But no, I was asked nothing.  Given no information about alcohol dependency. Neither was I signposted in the direction of any help.

As it turned out, I received a great big kick up the backside that night with regards to how I couldn’t moderate my drinking. So I decided to quit there and then – without any support. But once the dust had settled, I was struck by how I’d been allowed to wander so easily, so unquestioningly, from that hospital ward; potentially straight out of the A&E unit and back on the booze.

 

If I’d overdosed on heroin…

If I hadn’t frightened myself so much by drinking my way into a hospital bed, the message I received from the duty nurse that night could well have been sufficient in reassuring me that what I’d done was entirely normal – virtually acceptable behaviour. If I’d overdosed on heroin, I wondered, would I have been offered more assistance? Would more concern have been shown? Is it that we are so accustomed to excessive drinking in the UK that even those working in the health profession no longer bat an eyelid at the awful impact alcohol has upon public wellbeing?

 

Health Care Professionals downplay alcohol misuse

I appreciate that the emergency services are stretched to the maximum, and no doubt this played a part in the nurse’s reaction to my situation. But via the comments I read regularly on Soberistas.com with regards to GP’s and their collective reaction to heavy drinking, I am aware of a tendency to downplay alcohol misuse amongst health professionals. The very people who are incredibly well placed to spot (and thus help to curtail) alcohol dependency issues.

 

I believe it’s time to reassess our relationship with booze on a national level  and  look at  the downplay of alcohol misuse as follows :

  1. Don’t just focus on how the alcohol industry markets its products
  2. Examine how  teachers speak about booze in schools,
  3. How do health professionals react to admissions or indicators of alcohol misuse in their patients?
  4. How the government responds to calls for tighter regulation on alcohol sales
  5. How the government responds to calls for  the introduction of minimum unit pricing?

A common approach across all of these institutions is badly needed.  One that clearly highlights the dangers of alcohol when consumed to excess. if these organisations work together we may well begin to notice the beginnings of a sea change. This sea change is badly needed when it  comes to the general population’s relationship with alcohol.

 

Editor’s Note

In Ireland the situation is not much better. Many Health Care professionals downplay alcohol misuse  and we’ll cover  this  in a future post. Yet,  over 1,500 of our 11,000 hospital beds are occupied every single night by people with an alcohol related illnesses. You can see what these illnesses are in this short video.