03 April 2012

Excesses, ears and eggs

Thank you for all your useful comments on my last post. It was pretty clear that you thought availability was not the best solution to the problem of alcoholism. It is such a complex problem and the reasons that lead someone to drink in excess are varied and complicated just as are the things that make someone more prone to depression. In fact I consider alcoholism to be a form of depression and, once sucked in and under, it is very difficult to emerge intact again.

Certainly on the practical side, I would like to see three main prongs of attack to deal with the surge of binge drinking and alcohol dependency.

  • More education, particularly to the young, on the dangers of alcohol. Perhaps along the same lines as anti-smoking, adverts and warning labels on bottles could warn that alcohol kills. A few choice pictures of someone bleeding to death or a diseased liver thrown in for good measure. I accept that, like with many things, the young will think they are immune from disease and death. It's a long way off and won't effect them, but, of course it will. How you get that across, I don't know. But it's worth a try.

  • Availability - reducing dratically the number of outlets that sell alcohol, the hours they can sell it and the number of bottles that can be bought at any one time - a bit like paracetamol, you can only buy two packets of 16 at one time. (Yes,you can go into several chemists or supermarkets over the course of a day and buy 100 paracetamol, if you have your mind set on suicide, but at least it is not made easy for you). Sorry - to the "sensible" drinkers - but it's all for the common good.

  • Reducing prices will help a little but not as much as the first two.

In addition to all that, we still need the medical profession to understand alcoholism better, as my experience with Greg was that, like a hot potato, they could not wait to get him out of the building and off their hands. There was little money for rehab or detox and so there were too many waiting too long in the queue (usually at least a year) to get into a rehab programme, by which time, the person was too ill to be admitted or dead. Given the numbers turning to alcohol on a large scale nowadays, we could do with far more approachable counsellors or GPs trained to deal with alcoholism in their area, so that they can advise alcoholics and their families how to cope/go about solving the problem. I always found there was relatively nowhere to turn to that could offer real help. If it's like that in a big city like London, then how much more of a problem is it anywhere else?

As I said, it's a complex issue and needs far more thought and money thrown at it, more than little me can suggest, if we are to overcome the enormous problems that loom on the horizon. I do hope Ministers and professionals are working hard at it, or else I dread to think what the future holds.

Meanwhile, on a more cheerful note, Kay is home from uni for two weeks' Easter holiday and it is fantastic having her company again. To coincide with Kay's arrival, the cat has picked up some sort of skin allergy on her ears, with tufts of fur falling out so she looks very odd with two bald ears either side of the furry crown of her head (not a little dissimilar from Dobbie in Harry Potter). A visit to the vet yeterday left me £48 poorer but at least with a diagnosis and some oily antibiotic medication to smear on her ears. Here she is in her latest choice of resting place of the month - my desk!
We're off soon to visit my mum for a few days, so a Happy Easter in the meantime and don't eat too much chocolate, although I can't see Kay and me sticking to that!


Flowerpot said...

I think the whole topic of availability of alcohol is very complex and I would agree that alcoholism is a form of depression. Love the picture of the cat relaxing - mine likes curling up in the bunks in cold weather or next door's flat roof when it's sunny! Enjoy your Easter with Kay and your mum.

Irene said...

The use of alcohol seems to also bring on the depressed feelings the alcoholist is trying to escape from, therefor necessitating him to drink more. Don't you think they have a tendency to be melancholy people anyway? xox

SH -ic said...

enjoy .. dear blogger ..see you soon

Kelloggsville said...

I wish thy would do more medical research on the science behind addiction and help people to work on it medically. Watching an alcoholic in action is like watching a train crash in slow motion. Sigh.

Furtheron said...

my son is home for Easter and has emptied the fridge of chocolate already!

Furtheron said...

Regarding availability etc - alcoholism is a difficult nut to crack - as you say it is some kind of depression, but self perpetuating etc.

I didn't think it was a problem at 16, 17 or 18... by the time I was 24 I thought it was a bit of an issue, by 27 a real issue but I still couldn't stop until I was 41... and I'm lucky I did stop.

it is not a problem really until it is too late to be arrested easily - that I know sounds wrong but it is my experience.

We need a change in attitude to alcohol - where people are very very wary of its dangers... I still think the govt really don't give a damn as it earns so much in tax - they are only concerned that it drains resources in the NHS - they'd ideally like to reduce people going to A&E etc. but still have the tax income from booze sales... I cynically think the price increase is actually just a way to ensure a fixed tax income

Nota Bene said...

Happy Easter! Hope you have fun trying to put that ointment on the cat....

hyperCRYPTICal said...

An excellent insigtful post Addy and there is much wisdom in " In fact I consider alcoholism to be a form of depression and, once sucked in and under, it is very difficult to emerge intact again."

Your first two of three prongs of attack are sound also - but I think the latter has not been fully thought out (not by you!) - for although it appears quite logical, the alcoholic will not cut down on alcohol - he/she will
cut down on something else (usually food)and families will suffer more...

Enyoy your Easter with Kay and visit to mum. Love to the cat also.

Anna :o]

Looking for Blue Sky said...

You see I think it's important to see what can be done to change the appeal of alcohol. When you are a teenager, it may be peer pressure that starts you off drinking, but then you continue because you think it improves your life, you feel happier, calmer, more confident. Let's face it, in small amounts, alcohol makes many of us feel better. I'd like to see research into why getting high is so seductive and what can be done about that. Then we might make some progress about stopping alcholism starting at all xx

Anonymous said...

I'm very late to this but I do admire your determination in the crack down on alcoholism. It is a major problem and one that is very overlooked by our suits in power.

Hope you've had a lovely time with Kay and your mum.

CJ x