It is plain to see drinking habits have changed across the UK during lockdown. Millions around the UK have turned to alcohol throughout the pandemic, some believing we could be looking at an ever-growing addiction crisis, at risk of spiralling out of control.
It seems we have witnessed a shift, where those considered to be moderate drinkers, consuming occasionally, are now drinking more often.
An increasing number have seen their drinking behaviour take a downward turn, where they may no longer be considered a low-risk drinker. Many are consuming a greater amount than they did before coronavirus and could be entering the high-risk category.
If you are afraid you may be developing a drinking problem, you should be aware of the signs. There are various indicators to look out for, which could point to alcohol addiction, and the possibility you could now be a high-risk drinker.
According to recent findings, an estimated eight and a half million people in the UK now fall into that classification. The warning of an impending dependency crisis comes after reports the rate of people drinking at high-risk levels has risen by 200% since February.
The Royal College of Psychiatrists highlighted the increase in a recent report, coupled with the fact that addiction services have struggled for funding for years. Perhaps preventing high-risk drinkers from getting the help they need.
A warning from the UK Chief Medical Officer says if you regularly drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week, you could be considered a high-risk drinker, applying to both men and women. This equates to for instance six pints of beer or six average-sized glasses of wine, consumed over seven days.
Doctors recommended you do not drink every day and give yourself a break during the week. Spreading it out over three days at least and taking a couple of days off.
Experts also believe if you have at least one binge drinking session in a week, you have a greater chance of harm. Ranging from suffering an accident or injury to experiencing ongoing health problems, linked to drinking to excess.
Research carried out by the NHS has found approximately 9% of UK males and 3% of females exhibit signs of alcohol addiction. However, many may baulk at the suggestion they could be a high-risk drinker.
They may enjoy a drink every now and then, but that does not mean they have an issue. A large proportion may be in denial about their alcohol use and do not feel they have a problem.
But, unfortunately, millions of people across the UK have fallen into dependency, where alcohol has become an important, if not an integral part of their lives. Some unable to function or even make it through the day, without a drink.
You may feel as if you are miles away from that, but, at the same time, there are many signs to watch out for, which could point to an issue with addiction.
Sadly, it is not uncommon to feel an overriding need to drink and cannot stop once you have started? If you are in the throes of dependency, you may consume until you pass out. You may not remember what you may have said and done the night before and look forward to that first drink in the morning.
Has your alcohol consumption had an adverse effect on your work, home, or social life, harming your personal and professional relationships? You may even feel the symptoms of withdrawal when you stop drinking, which can be a classic hallmark of addiction.
The UK is reportedly seeing a massive upsurge in high-risk drinkers, which many fear could reach almost epidemic levels. However, despite being in lockdown, and observing social distancing, options are available for those battling dependency.
If you, or a friend or loved one, has noticed a rise in your alcohol consumption, and maybe developing a problem, you do not have to go through it alone.
Even in a pandemic, help is still just a phone call away.