Confronting Binge Drinking Problems in the UK

There are varied opinions about whether or not the UK has a drinking problem. That said, one fact that cannot be disputed are the dangers associated with binge drinking. Binge drinkers can suffer physically, emotionally and financially from consistent over-indulgence and many run the risk of alcoholism.

Binge drinking seems to have three different faces in UK society. For some it is the essential factor that makes for a good night out. For others, it’s after effects are bringing shame on the country as the UK is continuously seen as the drunken man of Europe. For others still it is both a both a crutch and a way to self medicate when stresses and pressures of life and negative feelings such as depression get too much. It is often the beginning of a journey that ultimately leads to alcohol treatment centres across the UK.

How is Binge drinking Harmful?

Binge drinking can lead to alcoholism, and because it comes with its own set of behaviours, it needs a special approach by professionals at an alcohol rehab centre. In the short term excessive drinking is both harmful to the body physically as well as spiritually as it can cause nausea, headaches, trembling, memory loss, and vomiting. The ultimate danger would be if the drinker overdosed (alcohol poisoning) which could lead to death. There could also be depreciation in functioning, responsibility and mood swings. When put together these  side effects can lead to a high risk of falls, assaults, car accidents, unplanned pregnancy, shame and embarrassment, financial losses through reckless spending while intoxicated, and loss of income through time off work. In the long term there is liver disease, brain damage and psychological and physical dependence on alcohol.

The recession hits – drinks get cheaper

One might think with the recession hitting home, heavy drinking would be on the downturn. But there are no statistics to suggest that. In fact, it seems quite the opposite. Society seems to be changing to allow excessive drinking to continue. For instance whereas public houses are closing down because they cant cope with the current depression, people are using off-licences to buy drink and appear to be drinking from home instead. Also there are now regular reports of clubs offering drinks at ridiculously cheap costs knowing it will triple custom. “Carnage UK” is an organisation which has become notorious for offering cheap drinks to undergraduates in towns and cities across the UK.

Binge drinking Campaigns not working

Alcohol concern Cymru in Wales has stated their concerns that campaigns to promote responsible drinking have had little or no effect. Manager Andrew Missell felt that the government was failing because it was trying to satisfy two masters. It is quite clear that if individuals refrain from drinking to match guidelines set out by the department of health, profits in the alcohol industry would fall by 40% (not to mention the effect on taxes). He said: “It’s no wonder that the government concentrates its health promotion resources on the tactics likely to have least effect on overall consumption, and is very keen to pass responsibility for any problems to consumers.”

There is a strong belief that the only way that society can truly confront the issue of binge drinking is by implementing a minimum cost for alcohol, and reducing the amount of retail outlets that are licensed to sell it.

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