Keep conversations around alcohol misuse going after national campaign ends, says Swanswell

23 November 2012

With Alcohol Awareness Week coming to an end, Swanswell’s urging people to continue having the right conversations about alcohol, moving forward.

The national charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is supporting Alcohol Awareness Week (19 to 25 November) by raising awareness of the stigmas, hidden harms and social problems associated with alcohol misuse.

It’s part of a national campaign by Alcohol Concern to change the conversations people are having about alcohol and is an opportunity to highlight topics that are rarely discussed – but should be.

But as the spotlight of the campaign moves away for another year, Swanswell wants to ensure that people take on board what they’ve learnt during the campaign and have regular, informed conversations about their alcohol use.

Aside from the risks to health, alcohol misuse can cause a range of additional problems that are rarely discussed but can be just as damaging.

Excessive or prolonged drinking can lead to increased family tension, quarrelling and violence; relationship difficulties; depression or social withdrawal among partners, who may drink themselves to deal with their loved one’s misuse; or increased divorce rates (DWP 2012).

Work life can also be affected over time and there’s the potential of it having an adverse affect on children, leading to behavioural problems and underperformance at school. In some cases, it may also be a factor in crime.

Despite this, Swanswell knows many of the conversations about alcohol still centre around the impact it has on health, rather than the wider implications to individuals, their friends and family.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘Alcohol misuse can affect anyone and there are often very complex reasons behind someone’s drinking.

Ill health is one of the most talked about effects of alcohol misuse, particularly in the media but it’s rare for focus to be on the damage alcohol can do to relationships, finances and work life.

We need to encourage people to have informed conversations around alcohol misuse and to be supportive of those who might be affected, so they don’t feel ashamed about coming forward for treatment or take a step backwards.

Although Alcohol Awareness Week is over, we should continue to regularly discuss how best to tackle alcohol misuse and make informed decisions about our own drinking, so together, we can create a society free from problem alcohol – and drug – misuse.’

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