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BOOZE SORRY NOW..; DRINK SHOCKER : Report claims one in 25 is an alcoholic.

One in 25 people are hooked on booze, according to shock new figures.

And experts warn the problem could get far worse - because doctors aren't giving alcoholics the treatment they need.

Twice as many people are dependent on drink as they are on drugs.

Around 1.3 million men in Britain and around 500,000 women can't say no to the hard stuff.

They drink at least 50 units of alcohol a week - equivalent to 25 pints of beer or six bottles of wine.

Recommended weekly limits are 28 units for men and 21 units for women.

The extent of Britain's booze problem was revealed yesterday by specialist group, the UK Alcohol Forum.

Advisers said doctors could do more to help patients and their families.

They urged GPs not to judge those with alcohol problems, or give up on them if they suffered a relapse.

Forum chairman Dr Austin Tate said: "Only by raising awareness of best practice can we hope to improve success rates in helping patients whose health, livelihood and social stability are at risk through excessive drinking and drink dependency.

"The GP should not be discouraged by apparent failure. Alcoholism is, unfortunately, a chronic and relapsing disease.

"The important thing is not to give up on the patient."

But the Forum also told alcoholics they could help themselves. They should try to listen to music or go for walks to stop their cravings.

Total abstinence could be the only way to combat drinking in the morning to stop the shakes.

The effects of excessive drinking costs the NHS pounds 150 million a year. There are 33,000 alcohol- related deaths annually, and 15 per cent of road deaths are caused by boozing.

The Forum warned doctors against doling out the drug chlormethiazole - commonly prescribed - because it could cause respiratory failure when combined with alcohol. Instead, they should prescribe the anti-anxiety drug, benzodiazepine.

And patients should be told not to drink too much coffee or tea during the withdrawal period because they can cause sleeplessness and nervousness.

Last night Alcohol Concern welcomed the report.

A spokesman said: "We recently highlighted the scale of the problem. Any action which can be taken to combat it is welcome.

"Twice as many people are dependent on alcohol as on illicit drugs."

High price to pay for a night on the tiles

There is a price to pay if you have fun knocking back booze.

Alcohol is a drug. The less our tolerance to it, the more it affects not just our health but our behaviour, perception and judgement.

It depresses the central nervous system, blocking inhibitions and making us more outgoing.

At the same time, it dulls the brain's responses and slows reactions. There are small but significant increases in testosterone - the hormone behind the sex drive in men and women.

The merriness which comes from drinking is often followed by depression on sobering up.

How hard alcohol hits you depends on your weight, food intake, speed of drinking and the state of your liver.
COPYRIGHT 1997 Scottish Daily Record & Sunday
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Copyright 1997 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Harrison, Tracey
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jul 18, 1997
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