Alcohol Addiction: A Growing Concern for the NHS

Alcohol addiction is an enormous problem in Scotland and elsewhere in the UK and the NHS is under great strain trying to provide the support and care that those with alcohol problems desperately need. Alcohol-related admissions have risen by two-thirds in the last decade and it is thought that cuts to addiction support services is a key contributor in this sharp rise. This has led to increased pressure on already hard-pressed A&E departments.

Signs of Addiction

It is clear that there is a major problem with alcohol addiction around the UK and this means that it is vital that problems are detected early. So, what are the signs of addiction? This will be much more than simply drinking more than the recommended amount each week. Signs of alcohol addiction include:

  • Binge drinking
  • Drinking alone
  • Being intoxicated regularly
  • Inability to say no to alcohol
  • Lack of interest in normal activities
  • Mental health problems
  • Needing to drink more to achieve the same effects

Health Issues

Alcohol addiction is incredibly serious and can lead to a wide number of health issues, as well as social and personal problems. In terms of physical health, alcohol abuse can lead to:

– Liver disease (the biggest cause of alcohol-related deaths)

  • Blood pressure issues
  • Hypertensive disorders
  • Chronic conditions
  • Falls
  • Fights
  • Traffic accidents
  • Self-harm

In addition to the great strain and cost that this can place on the NHS, there are then the various psychological consequences of alcohol addiction including depression and anxiety. This can lead to further costs for rehabilitation and mental health services. It is reported that alcohol abuse costs the NHS around £3.5 billion every single year which works out to around 3.6% of the annual budget. 

A Huge Challenge for the NHS

It is clear that alcohol addiction is an enormous problem for the NHS yet they continue to do superb work in combating this concerning issue. They have been able to help people to overcome addiction and treat illness and injury through dedicated staff along with an excellent system which allows for comprehensive, holistic care. This will include the use of a patient flow which can make it quick and easy for staff across the NHS and other services to get access to centralized patient data. This can make care much more consistent and efficient which is vital when the NHS is handling so many different patients for alcohol addiction.

Alcohol addiction is a serious problem in Scotland and throughout the UK and one which shows no signs of slowing down. It is vital that those that suffer from alcohol-related problems get the care that they need sooner rather than later particularly when you look at how damaging alcohol abuse can be. Although under great strain, the NHS does fantastic work at helping those with alcohol-related problems but first it is important that people are able to recognize the signs of addiction and take action.