'Stigma and shame' prevent people from seeking help for harmful drinking

PUBLISHED: 09:00 14 August 2018

Dr Nick Cooper from the For All Healthy Living Centre.

Dr Nick Cooper from the For All Healthy Living Centre.

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A drug and alcohol charity has revealed a number of warning signs to look out for if you are worried a loved one is drinking too much.

Addaction has launched a campaign to raise awareness of harmful drinking.Addaction has launched a campaign to raise awareness of harmful drinking.

Addaction North Somerset has launched a campaign to raise awareness of harmful drinking, after figures revealed a third of men over 65 in the area drink more than the daily recommended amount.

More: Addaction launches campaign to raise awareness of harmful drinking.

Dr Nick Cooper from the For All Healthy Living Centre.Dr Nick Cooper from the For All Healthy Living Centre.

Research has revealed shame and stigma prevent a number of people from seeking help, so the charity is encouraging people to offer support to loved ones who may be struggling.

Signs which could indicate someone is drinking too much include a person’s appearance or home becoming more unkempt, if someone is showing a lack of interest in activities they have previously enjoyed or isolating themselves.

More: Alcohol drinking myths debunked by Weston charity in health campaign.

More falls and injuries and increasing memory problems are also indicators.

Dr Nicholas Cooper from the For All Healthy Living Centre said: “There’s plenty of research suggesting we commonly underestimate how much alcohol we get through on a daily or weekly basis and, while we’re all aware of the risks to our health of excess drinking, it can be difficult to admit to ourselves, 
let alone someone else, that we may be drinking more than is good for us, or indeed that we might find it hard to cut down or stop.

“There are many reasons why it can seem difficult to acknowledge when drinking is becoming problematic.

“It might be because we fear being judged, or because we’re worried about other people finding out.

“Sometimes it’s difficult to know who would be the best person to turn to for help or advice.

“Research shows stigma and shame create significant barriers to people asking for help when it comes to alcohol.

“However, many of us will know someone who has been affected by alcohol misuse, so it is clearly more common that we might like to think and help is readily available to those who need it.”

More: Giving up alcohol changed a former soldier’s ‘whole life’.

Addaction said guiding people to access help will increase the likelihood of them doing it, but only they can make the decision to change.

Anyone concerned about alcohol use can access the webchat facility on www.addaction.org.uk or call 01934 427940.

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