For many people Christmas is a time when alcohol consumption goes up and they can then bring the consumption back to Non- Hazardous levels. But for others it could be a time that makes them aware that there may be a problem with their drinking- difficulties in controlling, drinking more than what is considered as sensible drinking. Many may decide that they want to come off and that can happen with no ill consequences if they are not physically dependent. If they are physically dependent, medical supervision is important.
If this is the time that you have been thinking of reducing the harm caused by alcohol or want to stop, then the starting point may be to look at the quantities you are drinking in units.
Once you have calculated the units, take a self screening questionnaire- CAGE-
C- Has anyone- a friend, relative or carer ever asked you to cut down your drinking?
A- Do you ever get annoyed if someone asks you to cut down or stop drinking?
G- Have you ever felt guilty about your drinking?
E- Have you ever used alcohol as an eye opener ie used it first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or to function normally?
If you have answered YES to 2 or more questions above, you may be having a problem with the drink and it would be advisable to see your doctor or a specialist- Consultant Psychiatrist specialising in Addictions.
There are many new interventions available to tackle the problem with Alcohol- from reducing the amount of drinking to medically supervised detoxification, abstinence maintenance medications, anti- craving medications and relapse prevention strategies.
So think healthy, screen yourself and seek appropriate professional help.
And if using alcohol has become necessary to avoid withdrawals such as headaches, shaky hands, sweats, calming your nerves in the morning etc, then DON’T STOP AT ONCE as that can be dangerous. That would require a specialist assessment and a gradual reduction or a medically supervised detoxification which the specialist can help with.