Health: Festive misery for alcohol bingers

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The Independent Online
More than 10,000 people a day are expected to seek help for alcohol-related problems over Christmas, it was disclosed yesterday. Around 9,300 people go for help for their own drink problem and 700 make inquiries on behalf of friends or family, according to an Alcohol Concern survey.

The director, Eric Appleby, said the charity and other alcohol-advice agencies were bracing themselves for a Christmas and New Year rush. "This is the first time that we have been able to put an accurate figure on the numbers ... receiving help on any given day - and the figure of 10,000 is bound to go up over the Christmas period, given the amount of alcohol consumed and holiday closures." The study, the first of its kind, carried out just before Christmas last year, shows men accounted for two-thirds of self-referrals and the average age of people seeking help was 41. Nearly half the people requiring help said they were concerned about their psychological health. Physical health was the main concern of 27 per cent; relationship problems 20 per cent; and a combination of work and financial problems 7 per cent.

Mr Appleby said the figures showed the scale of alcohol abuse. "Perhaps the most important thing to note about these figures is that it's not right just to be concerned about drugs and young people - 85 per cent of the sample used no drugs other than alcohol, thereby killing the myth that people generally seek help with a cocktail of alcohol and drug problems."

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