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Alcohol Problems UK – National Statistics Of Alcoholism

Lisa Taylor
Lisa TaylorAddiction Counsellor

If there is any doubt that alcohol causes a lot of problems here in the UK, one need only stop and take a look at the statistics. Data collected over the last several decades is frightening. Rather than making real headway in reducing the severity of alcohol abuse and its impacts on our country, we have managed to do little more than remain steady. In some cases, the problem has even become worse.

Consider the following statistics courtesy of the Alcohol Concern charity:

  • As many as 9% of adult men and 4% of adult women in the UK show signs of alcohol dependence
  • Fewer than 7% of the nation's alcoholics will ever receive treatment
  • Just over 178,000 prescriptions were written to alcohol abusers in 2012
  • More than 75,700 people started a new alcohol treatment programme in England in 2012-2013
  • There were more than 8,300 alcohol-related deaths in the UK in 2012
  • In 2012-2013, the UK saw more than 1 million hospital admissions related to alcohol consumption
  • Alcohol-related treatments cost the NHS £3.5 billion annually
  • The number of people admitted to hospitals for treatment of mental illness or behavioural issues relating to alcohol has increased more than 90% in the last ten years.

These statistics barely scratch the surface. The sheer volume of alcohol problems in the UK – everything from accidental death to the breakup of the family – is so vast that it is extremely difficult to quantify in numbers. To claim that we do not have a problem with alcohol is to be willingly and purposely ignorant of reality.

Why the Problems Exist

Our role as a provider of alcohol evaluations, advice, and treatment referrals affords us the opportunity to work with all kinds of people. We know from personal experience that alcoholism and alcohol abuse do not discriminate. People from every walk of life, economic status, education level, ethnicity, sex, and religion succumb to alcohol every year.

Given the pervasiveness of alcohol abuse, it seems to make sense that part of solving the problem is understanding why it exists. After all, it's hard to address any problem if you don't know its root causes. Alcohol problems in the UK are no exception.

There is likely no single cause of so much alcohol abuse in our country. Rather, it may be a combination of the following three things:

  • Cultural Attitudes – We Britons are known around the world for being heavy drinkers. Unfortunately, most of us are okay with that. Our culture has adopted certain attitudes that not only consider alcohol consumption the norm but actually encourage it. We start drinking too young, too often, and then wonder why so many people start exhibiting signs of alcohol dependence in adulthood.
  • Ease of Access – We enhance our cultural attitude of permissiveness by giving people easy access to alcohol. Simply put, you can buy alcohol at any grocery store, pharmacy, or convenience store. That says nothing about the specialist shops and neighbourhood pubs that are found in every city, town and village. You can even buy alcohol online if you know how to do it.
  • Moral Decline – Although we don't like to admit it, the strongest defence against alcohol abuse is a strong moral base. We have lost our moral base over the last several decades, and we have seen the volume of alcohol problems increase as a result. Without a moral base of right or wrong, alcohol misuse becomes nothing more than a physical exercise. And when that happens, there is virtually no way to control it.

There may be other causes of our alcohol problems not listed here. The three we offer are just a starting point. Perhaps a more concerted effort to address these three problems may strengthen our resolve and help us find new ways to solve our alcohol problems.

How to Address Individual Problems

While we collectively struggle to solve our national alcohol problems in the UK, individuals in the midst of alcohol abuse have their own struggles to deal with. That's where we come in. We provide alcohol abusers and their families with the sound advice and treatment referrals they need to overcome. For the record, professional treatment and support are the most effective way to attack an alcohol problem.

Professional treatment begins with a combination of detox and rehabilitative counselling. Detox is necessary for the clinical alcoholic whose mind and body have become dependent on the drug. Until both mind and body are separated from alcohol, overcoming alcoholism is impossible.

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The good news about detox is that it is medically supervised in this day and age. That means patients are constantly monitored by doctors and nurses looking for any potential complications. Where appropriate, prescription medications are used to reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms and control alcohol cravings.

As for rehabilitative treatment, it is necessary in order to restore the mind. It usually takes the form of one-on-one counselling, group counselling, and various activities that enable the recovering alcoholic to focus his or her mind on alcohol-free living. One primary difference between detox and rehabilitative therapy is that the latter is a lot more flexible. Therapists can choose from a full range of psychotherapies to find the ones that work best for each individual patient.

Your Problem Needs Treatment

We began this article by listing important alcohol statistics from Alcohol Concern. Now it's time to go above and beyond mere numbers. So, let's get to the point: do you have a drinking problem? Do you routinely consume more than 14 units of alcohol during a seven-day period, and do your drinking habits interfere with your daily life? If so, you have a problem that requires professional treatment.

In dealing with alcohol problems, UK treatment providers offer their patients the real hope of permanent recovery. You can have that hope as well. But it will not come easy. First, you will have to acknowledge that you have a drinking problem. Second, you will have to willingly accept and embrace professional treatment. Third, you will have to commit yourself 100% to getting well. And fourth, you will have to do everything in your power to successfully complete treatment and follow-up with aftercare.

We know from personal experience that alcohol abusers who do the four things listed above are very likely to enjoy permanent recovery. Those who are not may never get well. We know what choice we prefer, how about you? Are you ready to take your life back from alcohol? If so, the first thing to do is contact us and speak with one of our counsellors. We will provide:

  • a listening ear
  • answers to your questions
  • a comprehensive evaluation
  • recommendations for treatment
  • assistance in accessing treatment.

Alcohol problems in the UK exist in many forms. Rather than ignoring those problems, we would all be better off facing them head on and looking for solutions. We are doing our part by providing free and confidential services to our clients. Please note that we are an independent organisation with no obligations to any particular rehab clinic or treatment methodology. Our independence allows us to offer our clients a full range of treatments at locations throughout the UK.


  1. Alcohol Concern –
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