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The Royal College of Psychiatrists have indicated that those drinking alcohol at high risk levels has DOUBLED to 8.5 million since February

Here are the signs that you are struggling with your drinking

By Chris Cordell


The number of people drinking at 'high risk' levels has doubled to almost 8.5 million since February, according to the Royal College of Psychiatrists. Professor Julia Sinclair, chair of the addictions faculty at RCPsych, said: 'Drinking at high levels not only makes people more likely to become alcohol dependent, but many will develop other health problems including liver disease, stomach ulcers, pancreatitis and depression’. She went onto say that ‘Drug-related deaths and alcohol-related hospital admissions were already at all-time highs before Covid-19’.

According to Public Health England the number of adults consuming more than 50 units a week has increased by 33% since lock down started, with alcohol sales at supermarkets increasing by 43% in the four weeks to mid-June.

Media outlets are all indicating that doctors are concerned that specialist government funded addiction services will be unable to cope with the soaring demand, however there are solutions in the private sector with many of these services still seeing clients face to face. And with the emergence of online treatment programmes like Help Me Stops ‘Digital Dayhab’, treatment can be available without even leaving your home

Catch the problem - before things get worse

Most adults drink in the UK and a glass or two of wine or a few beers after a hard day’s work is not uncommon. But where do you draw the line? When does drinking become a problem?

As those living with a problematic drinker know, the effects of harmful drinking spreads wider than just the individual consuming the alcohol. It often impacts on friends, family, children and the drinker's work before any negative health consequences can be identified in the drinker.

Alcohol was found to be the most harmful drug in a recent study that ranked 20 drugs according to the harm they cause to the user and to others. Alcohol was given an overall harm score of 72 out of 100, whilst the likes of heroin and crack cocaine were ranked second and third and with scores in the 50s. Why? Because alcohol is consumed by a greater number of people and is not only harmful to the individual, but also has significant effects on others.

For instance, men with alcohol abuse problems are six times more likely to domestically abuse their female partners at home. In 2018, 173 people died in domestic violence-related homicides, with the Home Office acknowledging that a “significant portion” of violent crime involved alcohol.

Unfortunately, problematic drinking will not magically get better on its own. Behaviour change is hard and even if promises of change are made with the best intentions, the nature of the beast of problematic drinking means in most cases drinkers cannot see this through without support.

As adults, we’re subconsciously taught that alcohol treatment is only for full-blown addicts, that you need to be drinking a bottle of spirits a day or multiple cans of high strength beer or cider. This is wrong – and it contributes to the tolerance of problematic drinking that could be resolved with professional help. Part of this is our common misunderstanding of what’s on offer; that the only solution was a £20,000 private residential programme you attended for 28 days or more – away from work, home and family, which is just not possible for the average working individual.

That’s changed with Dayhab. Dayhab costs a fraction of residential treatment programmes. Just as importantly, it’s also available entirely online in the evenings, or as flexible non-residential programme that can be attended part-time or full time during the day

That means you can catch the problem before it gets worse – and before someone hits their rock bottom.


Signs that your drinking is a problem

There are several screening tools that help with determining whether you have a drinking problem One tool is known as CAGE – a questionnaire that measures the severity of a drinking problem. If you answer “yes” to two or more CAGE questions, you should seek professional help

The four CAGE screening questions are: In the last year…..

  1. Have you ever felt you should cut down on your drinking?
  2. Have people annoyed you by criticising your drinking?
  3. Have you ever felt bad or guilty about your drinking?
  4. Have you ever had a drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or get over a hangover?

Other questions that can also be considered are the:

  1. Have you continued to drink even though it was making you feel depressed or anxious or adding to another health problem?
  2. Have there been situations where you ended up drinking much more than you intended?
  3. Have you lost interest in other activities and hobbies since you started drinking?
  4. Have you experienced symptoms associated with an alcohol withdrawal such as sweats or tremors?
  5. Have you felt an urge or craving to consume alcohol?
  6. Have you gotten into situations while drinking that increased your chances of harming yourself or others (i.e., drinking and driving)?
  7. Have you been in trouble with the police due to alcohol-related problems?
  8. Have you got into arguments because of your drinking?
  9. Have you tried to cut down or stop completely but found you can’t?

If any of the above rings true, then it indicates that your drinking is out of control and that you need professional help to deal with it.


The staff at Help Me Stop have all had problems with drugs or alcohol in the past, so we know first-hand how easy it is for your drinking and use of drugs to get out of hand. Equally we know, as psychotherapists, and through life experience how to beat it. As one of our former clients says we have a programme that helps you deal with your drug and alcohol issues and "deal with real life on life’s terms".

Help Me Stop offers a free assessment, which we can do face to face or online. We also offer range of effective, intensive face to face and online programmes to address alcohol and drug use. Call us now on 0208 191 9174 or jump onto Live Chat/email us directly at https://helpmestop.org.uk/contact-us

Chris Cordell is Help Me Stop's General Manager and is a senior associate member of the Royal Society of Medicine, Certified International Recovery Specialist, member of the International Society of Addiction Medicine and the Federation of Drug and Alcohol Professionals.

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