Alcohol-related hospital admissions

Hospital admissions for alcohol-related incidents have reached record levels, it has emerged. According to an NHS Information Centre report, the number of such instances has reached the one million mark for the first time, with the amount rising by 12 per cent between 2008-09 and 2009-10.

The figures take into account mental disorders and liver diseases caused by alcohol abuse, as well as accidents, injuries and some cancers.

In 2009-10, the number of such admissions climbed to 1,057,000, having stood at 945,500 in 2008-09 and 510,800 in 2002-03.

Chief executive of the NHS Information Centre Tim Straughan said the report "highlights the importance of policy makers and health professionals in recognising and tackling alcohol misuse which in turn could lead to savings for the NHS".

John Castleton, Chartered Psychologist, commented: "These figures show that alcohol is involved in many health difficulties, but 79 per cent of these admissions were for conditions that had an 'alcohol attributable fraction', that is, alcohol was one of many contributory factors.

"In 2007, 24 per cent of adults were classified as hazardous drinkers, but between 2000 and 2009, there was little change in the proportion of people talking to their GP about their drinking. The prevalence of alcohol dependence in men decreased from 11.5 per cent in 2000, to 9.3 per cent in 2007. This could suggest that we, as a society, are becoming more accepting of heavy drinking.

"Overall consumption has increased. Alcohol was 44 per cent more affordable in 2010 than in 1980, but the amount of alcohol purchased for consumption outside the home decreased by 39 per cent from 2001/02 to 2009. In other words, we appear to be drinking more, but there has been a shift towards drinking at home. Or towards a combination, such as 'preloading' on cheaper drinks before going out for the night and drinking more. This has implications for the development of different social norms and policies for alcohol-related behaviour."

Recent findings from Childline found that many students in the UK are turning to alcohol in an effort to relieve the stress brought upon them through impending exams.

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