In the modern world that we live in alcohol is considered to be a recreational drink that provides pleasure and happiness. Alcohol
has been actively tied up in many areas of our lives, and we use it in a plethora of ways: in order to gain tranquillity, boost confidence, express ourselves, social etiquette in a business meeting, as a joy generator in life occasions, drown our sorrows, remember, forget, welcome people, say goodbye to people, get to know people, manipulate people, because we feel like it, because we need it, to numb ourselves, to feel grown up, to feel young, to belong, to distinguish ourselves, and sometimes, because we’ve forgotten how to do anything without alcohol.
Alcohol Consumption in the UK
Large consumption of alcohol generally leads to physical, psychological and social problems (Foxcroft & Tsertsvadze, 2012). The addictive behaviour of drinking alcohol causes clinically and functionally significant impairment, such as health problems, disability, and failure to meet major responsibilities at work, school, or home and is based on evidence of impaired emotion control, and social impairment. According to 2004 research reports from the London Royal College of Psychiatrists, alcohol consumption has increased twice over the past fifty years in the UK. Furthermore, they stated that 38% of men and 16% of women consumed alcohol above recommended limits. Hence those individuals can be labelled as having an alcohol use disorder according to World Health Organization standards. This is equivalent to 8.2 million people in England alone. And 1.1 million people nationally are alcohol dependent
. Crumley (1990) clearly stated that there is a vulnerability of young individuals to suicidal behaviours due to alcohol use and revealed that there is a strong empirical link between alcohol use and suicidal ideation among age under 24. This was supported secondly by the Health of the national key area handbook, mental health London 1993. Moreover, young people in the UK drink more than in nearly all other countries in Europe (Drummond 2004). The bitter truth is year by year alcohol attacks each lower age group and addicts them towards severe physical, social and psychological repercussions. Empirical evidence by Brooks et al. (2011) and Fuller (2013), revealed that individuals who were aged between 11-15 elicit addictive behaviours towards consuming illegal drugs and alcohol at least once a week. Furthermore, they stated that this was the age group that was less influenced by recreational drugs and alcohol in 2001. Additionally, 2012 London National Treatment Agency data showed that in 2011-12, 13,300 children and young people under 18 received treatment for alcohol dependence
, and a total of 20,688 for alcohol and drugs combined. Furthermore, research had found that individuals who are more prone towards alcohol are more at risk of suicide withal they experience higher levels of depressive and affective problems, schizophrenia
and personality disorders (Crawford 2001). This was largely supported by the previous research done by Armour (1996) and Foster et al. (1997) where they stated that the prevalence of alcohol use disorders among people who committed suicide was 43% and 104 gunshot suicides in Northern Ireland over a 5-year period found that alcohol consumption was involved massively. In addition, Mehrabian (2001) found that for individuals who drink alcohol, a higher volume of consumption is associated with more symptoms of depression. Similarly, the 2004 Department of Health, Office for National Statistics, Statistics on alcohol: England significantly revealed that the number of UK hospital admissions with a primary or secondary diagnosis of “mental and behavioural disorders due to alcohol” rose from 71,900 in 1995/06 to over 90,000 in 2002/03. The Institute for Alcohol Studies stated that there is a relationship between intoxication and adverse consequences, which lead to unintentional injury and increased risk-taking behaviours, which can have negative consequences for physical and mental health. Similarly 2004 Global Status reports on alcohol from WHO clearly showed that drink-driving, violence, increased vulnerability to assault, falls, fires, domestic violence and traffic accidents (vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians) are a consequence of higher usage of alcohol. This may be a consequence of the effect of alcohol on the serotonin (5HT) and GABA brain receptors that may reduce fear and anxiety about social, physical or legal consequences of one’s actions and also affects cognitive functioning (Peterson and Phil 1990). High consumption of alcohol leads to impaired problem-solving in conflict situations and overly emotional responses or emotional ability (Sayette et al. 1993). In the UK alone, the cost to the NHS of alcohol misuse has been estimated at £1.7 billion each year and the World Health Organisation suggests that alcohol accounts for about the same amount of disease as tobacco (Bain and Lampard 2005). Furthermore, alcohol-consuming behaviours trigger short- and long-term physical effects such as immune deficiency, chronic conditions in bones and muscles, lead to nervous system malfunctioning and trigger severe damage to the brain, stimulate high blood pressure and most significantly acts as a carcinogen factor that gives genesis to cancers in mouth, throat and in liver etc. (Brust 2005; Lee and Snape 2008; Molina et al. 2010; Ronksley et al. 2011; Secretan et al. 2009). Surprisingly results of Schuckit (2005) reported that approximately 10% of adults are experiencing a psychological or behavioural problem, and prescriptions for antidepressant medications have been rising every year for the past decade. According to Tanner-Smith (2014) Adolescents who overuse alcohol, or heavy episodic drinking, are at risk for dangerous physical, emotional, and social consequences. Alcohol use disorders within this population are associated with comorbid psychosocial problems, including neurocognitive deficits and impaired learning (Healey, Rahman, Faizal, & Kinderman; Tripodi et al., 2010; Yuma-Guerrero et al., 2012), mental health disorders (Healey et al.; Tripodi et al., 2010), risky sexual behaviour (Healey et al.; Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2014; Yuma-Guerrero et al., 2012). In order to eradicate the exacerbating influences of alcohol misuse, society should be more aware of the severe negative impacts of this. Thus a few recommendations can be given for further awareness. Mainly community reinforcement approach (Robert et al. 2011) should be introduced to society, which helps people rearrange their lifestyles so that healthy, drug-free living becomes rewarding and thereby competes with substance use. This approach enables alcohol-addicted individuals to become actively engaged in alternative non-substance-related social activities and to focus on the enjoyment of work and family activities. A variation of CRA, the community reinforcement and family training approach, works through friends and family members to promote treatment entry for treatment-resistant individuals. Secondly, the utilization of the Addiction-Comprehensive Health Enhancement Support System (Taylor et al. 1994) will be very effective to overcome the prevailing consequences of alcohol addiction. This treatment process is mobile phone-based and designed to provide coping competence, social support, and autonomous motivation. Furthermore, this contains a proactive computer-based relapse prevention system, data transfer to a care manager’s computer, which enables the individual to maintain contact with his or her care manager plus audio or visual delivery of content to provide access to those with reading difficulties, and anywhere/ anytime access through a smartphone.
Psychology of Addiction
Psychology treatment centres
should have staff trained in delivering Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to people with alcohol dependency and concurrent anxiety
. Health warnings should be introduced on alcohol packaging and include the warning “Excessive use of alcohol
can damage your mental health”. Psychotherapy should play a pivotal role in treating mental health conditions that occur and are recurrent due to excessive alcohol use
, such as stress, depression or anxiety should be able to benefit from alternative approaches to managing mental health problems. In addition, specific psychosocial awareness programs should be initiated by the government to provide a comprehensive awareness of acute harmful impacts triggered due to alcohol consumption in the period of adolescence. Social services networks should be driven to the roots of the reasons that stimulate the tendency to use alcohol. There should be a specific time period included in the school timetable for students to be learned the science behind the adverse effects of alcohol misuse
. Alcohol is a recreational drink, individuals should learn how and when to consume it with a fully conscious understanding of the negative impacts that will elicit if they misuse it. As long as every person becomes more accountable by the time they use this recreational substance, there won’t be a severe health and psychosocial circumstances plus society will be relieved from the burden of alcohol misuse. It is our duty to make this world a more beautiful and safer place for our offspring, so then every one of us can be self-initiated to start the first step of protecting our world from this alcohol invasion.