I’ll just finish the bottle

What’s the big problem with having a drink or two?  If everyone around me is drinking the same, surely it’s acceptable? But… it’s not that simple.

Do you know the daily units of alcohol you should be drinking? And if you do, are you sticking to it?

Women 2-3
Men 3-4

Are you drinking this and more on a regular basis… if so – welcome to the world of excessive drinking!

Who’s affected?

I have always known excessive drinking as a student activity. Pre drinks, drinking games, cheap deals when you go out… also known as characteristics of “binge drinking” – the action of drinking as much alcohol as you can in very little time to get incredibly drunk. We should be proud, England has just won the award of third worst binge drinkers in Europe! It starts off at the very beginning of the year with the reputed “Fresher’s week” and never fades out. Students then turn into completely different creatures: antisocial, violent, troublemakers, euphoric and most likely to be dangerous AND annoying for people around. Binge drinking is part of “living the student life” but at the origin of many problems.

But binge drinking is not the only aspect of excessive drinking. Again, that would be too simple! Think about that little glass of wine after a long day, or the few occasional beers to celebrate a new contract! This obviously concerns a different part of the British population and can prove itself to be just as dangerous, if not more. Hidden behind terms like “social drinking”, this is considered as normal. Why would a single glass of Chardonnay hurt me? It comforts me, and helps me to celebrate! Because the habit of drinking has already built itself a warm nest in your brain… Social drinking can indeed lead to a strong and undiscovered addiction. At first, you will have a valid reason to pour yourself some wine. Then the only reason will be: “But I do this every day!” – 4% of the British population is alcoholic. That’s 1.1 million people. That’s a lot. Excessive drinking disguised in social drinking or the “occasional” glass of wine looks harmless. Therefore much harder to spot and stop. Alcohol is part of everyone’s everyday life and too much alcohol does not just concern students and sad old people anymore. It is the most accessible drug in the UK: harmless, social, cultural, mandatory??

What’s the big deal?

The obvious consequences for drinking in excess are the more a person drinks, the more their life depends of alcohol which can lead to the deadly disease of alcoholism. The table below shows Ninja PR’s interpretation of the downward spiral a person can take in their life if drinking becomes a number one priority. Triggers such as stress/life related can lead to a person drinking in excess, the feeling a person gets from drinking hammers in a mind-set that drinking helps resolve a person’s problem and therefore makes them forget the trigger in the first place. In some cases however, alcoholism is the end product and becomes the priority.

Of course, it would be a naïve approach to believe excessive drinking simply leads to alcoholism, other problems such as:

Family issues
Health problems
Antisocial behaviour
Stillborn babies
Losing jobs, friends, relationships
Drink driving
And many more, the list is almost endless… Each problem can act as a trigger, which of course leads to more alcohol being consumed and the cycle to continue.

Whose problem is it anyway?

So who should be held responsible for producing a solution to the drinking problem in the UK? Some think it’s down to parents to educate their children in what not to do, whereas others feel that the government should enforce stricter rules and regulations to try and curb alcohol consumption. But the problem lies deep within the heart of the UK and simply targeting one of these groups would never be sufficient enough.

What shall we do about it?

The most effective (and maybe the only) way to resolve this problem is to target every aspect that can effect drinking in excess.  This ranges from the media, to accessibility of alcohol, to educating both adults and children in the dangers of alcohol.  Only when all of these issues are addressed in a national campaign can we maybe lower our ranking as ‘third worst binge drinkers in the EU’. I don’t know about you, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

How does alcohol affect your life?

This entry was posted in General.

4 comments on “I’ll just finish the bottle

  1. prsolent says:

    konnichiwa Ninjas !

    Well, it appears to me (since you were mostly referring to Great Britain), that alcohol abuse, and especially binge drinking are, indeed, part of the british culture.
    Preventing teenagers and young adults to come in contact with any kind of alcohol, obviously shows its drawbacks once they are over 18 (or at uni). The thrill is born, NOW the accesses (and damages) can start !
    So yes, education should change but not only concerning parents, but the government too:

    Firstly: I think alcool should be demystified and available for younger publics (starting age 16) still living in a supervised environment; But only concerning low percentage alcohol: beer, wine, prosecco, pre-mixes and so on … So once 18, they may not throw themselves at alcohol; already having had their first experiences. The first “thrill” will already be gone…
    So then, once they’re older and not it an “familiar context” anymore, it might be easier to slow things down having experienced drunkenness before..
    And finally, the 2-4-1 offers are not helping neither… the Government should stop the obvious if they want to see some changes!

    Drinking should be something you learn through time with your parents, it’s like taste. You should be educated about it: not only how bad it is for you, but how it taste, what kind of mixes are good and so on… Maybe in that way, i will make it simply less exciting once 18 and hopefully less damaging…

    ps: Alcohol affects my life in a very nicely controlled way, thank you for asking 😉

    Sayônara xx

    • ninjapr says:

      Hi prsolent,
      The problem you mention here is young adults or teenagers coming to uni being completely let loose. Everything is available to them, with no supervision whatsoever. For most of them, it is their first drunken experience away from home where they have no limits. And this is the problem: they don’t know their limits, and really don’t seem to learn!
      This is where I agree with you, alcohol should indeed be demystified. Learn how to drink, what to drink, and where your limits are to avoid these horrible situations and stop contributing to Britain’s reputation of binge drinkers. That can be done at home, with your family, with the occasional glass of wine, champagne or even stronger alcohols in order to taste and learn how your body responds to this or that type of alcohol. This way, when coming to uni, alcohol will become old news and hopefull, guarantee a more responsible approach to drinking.
      Not only the Government should stop 2-4-1 offfers, but how often have you had your ID checked in shops, or in clubs? I would argue that 3 times out of 5, nobody asks you anything. This behaviour doesn’t help at all either. If there is a law, it should be respected and no 16 or even 15 year old should be seen anywhere near a club/bar without adult supervision.
      I guess we all agree that alcohol has to be addressed and approached differently and from a younger age to eventually win through this plague!

  2. The real problem is the “lifetime” habit. The cumulative effects of drinking even one unit over the recommended limits are real- liver health, diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease. All of it comes slowly, but surely. Even “responsible drinkers” can fall foul of it. The analogy is is you drop a frog into boiling water it will jump out to save its life. Put a frog in water, and then slowly increase the heat- and it doesn’t realise it is in danger until it is too late!

    • ninjapr says:

      I agree with you, alcohol, just like cigarettes, has delayed consequences on drinkers’ health, whatever the daily/weekly amount people drink is. This problem is already addressed through advertising campaigns to prevent alcoholism and its effects, but not enough in my opinion. This is where education and the government should help warning and preventing, through campaigns of course but also to a younger public. Going to schools and talk about alcohol amongst other drugs, as it is done on a very regular basis in many european countries would help, I think, to give a sense of responsibility and make young people aware that alcohol’s danger is not just becoming addicted. But then, once this is done and all the efforts have been made, I would argue that it is down to the people to take responsibility for their actions and keep in mind that alcohol, even in small amounts, can never be harmless. However, I am unfortunately aware that it is not that simple…

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