Are you hiding something?

The recent Panorama programme presented by Alastair Campbell took a look at Britain’s ‘hidden alcoholics’, and included Mr Campbell’s views on his own difficulties with alcohol.

There were some startling facts in the programme. It was claimed that 95% of people with alcohol problems drink at home, and that alcohol related liver disease has seen an increase of 400-500% in recent years, while mortality rates from most other diseases are down 30%.

It has been suggested that the UK’s professional classes are the most frequent drinkers. They will look at themselves as ‘heavy drinkers’ and the thought that they are alcoholic couldn’t be further from their minds.

To them alcoholism is something that happens to other people.

There is no requirement in terms of the quantity of alcohol that needs to be consumed to qualify as an alcoholic. Being alcoholic means that you are addicted to alcohol, and if you cannot do all of the things that you would normally do without drinking it, then may want to consider why that is. The quantity that you drink is irrelevant.

Addiction is often seen as being frowned upon by society. Some will argue that it is the fault of the person that they end up being addicted and that they should ‘pull themselves together’ and sort it out. Some believe that addiction will never happen to them, but it is a possibility for anyone, including you.

Addicted people will often claim that they can stop the addiction at any time; they will insist that it’s a ‘lifestyle choice’ and that they indulge in it because they want to, not because they have to.

It is worth noting that addiction is a compulsive brain disorder that can have a massively varied range of causes, and for some it is very difficult to just stop what they are doing, particularly if they are unaware of the real reasons that they are addicted. In many cases addiction can be classified as an illness, and may require medical help.

The stereotype of the the alcoholic’ persists in the UK. Often viewed as someone at ‘rock-bottom’, shabbily dressed and unkempt, attempting to hide the contents of bottle they are drinking from by putting it in a bag. But that’s not how it works, and Britain has a massive number of alcoholics that are attempting to hide in the shadows, desperately fearing the stigma and ‘embarrassment’ of how broader society will view them.

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