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Knowledge Zone

Category: News and Insights


“Alcohol is the easiest substance to abuse because it is legal and available”

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Alcohol Awareness Week 16th-20th November. ‘More than 9 million people in England drink more than the recommended daily limit’. Long-term alcohol use can cause serious health complications affecting virtually every organ in the body, it can also have a detrimental effect on a person’s career and finances as well as a negative influence on family and friends.

Stress and alcoholism often accompany each other and more people are drinking as a way of coping with the demands of a fast-paced life but alcoholism is a disease, people develop a craving, become physically dependant and lose control “not being able to stop”. Lifestyle is a major factor, the more stress a person has the more temptation to have a drink - and easy access to alcohol is another important factor -  as alcohol is 61% more affordable than it was in 1980.

Alcohol is 10% of the UK’s burden of disease and death, making alcohol one of the three biggest lifestyle risk factors for disease and death in the UK.

Too much alcohol can cause:

  • Dementia, stroke and neuropathy
  • Cardiovascular problems and hypertension
  • Depression, anxiety and suicide
  • Unintentional injuries such as a car accident
  • Increased risk of cancers: liver; breast; mouth; throat and larynx
  • Liver diseases, including fatty liver; alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis
  • Gastrointestinal problems, including pancreatitis and gastritis

Liver disease is the 5th biggest killer in the UK - the liver must have a rest’
When a person has an alcoholic drink and it is absorbed into the bloodstream, the alcohol is broken down by the liver at an average rate of one standard drink per hour; the kidneys will get rid of 5% of alcohol in the urine and the lungs exhale 5% but it is the liver which has the majority of work to do - breaking down 90% of alcohol.

Is alcoholism hereditary?
It is generally agreed that alcoholism is hereditary which means some people are at an increased risk; also, interestingly, recent research indicates that people with light eyes are at a higher risk for alcohol dependence than those with darker eyes, adding further evidence to the fact that alcoholism has a genetic component.

Alcohol and Occupational Health
Alcohol issues are difficult to deal with but Sugarman’s Occupational Health Service will give employers the necessary advice to carefully manage a situation. The most common interventions to help prevent employees developing alcohol dependence are the provision of occupational health services, as well as access to counselling services.