Have you abused alcohol? Has alcohol abuse affected your day to day life? Has it affected others? Here is some useful information you will find helpful.

What is Alcohol Abuse?

It can be difficult to tell the difference between social drinking, moderate drinking and alcohol abuse, but the alcohol abuse definition comes down to one key point: is drinking causing problems in the person’s life?

When people start drinking, alcohol abuse is generally the furthest thing from their minds. Drinking is started recreationally, with friends and is associated with having a good time. This positive view of alcohol can be why it is so easy to slip into alcohol abuse. Often the thoughts of alcohol being a “good time” drug stop people from seeing the signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse.

The alcohol abuse definition is similar to alcoholism in that in both cases alcohol is causing harm to the drinker’s life and those around them. The difference is that those who abuse alcohol, but are not yet alcoholics, typically can put some limitations on their drinking and they have not yet become physically addicted to alcohol. The key to the alcohol abuse definition is not in the amount of alcohol consumed but on how it affects an individual.

Because the alcohol abuse definition is general, the signs are unique for each person. Some of the signs will be similar to alcoholism but often to a lesser degree. Alcohol abuse is though, by definition, problem drinking. Signs that fit within the alcohol abuse definition include:

  • Repeatedly neglecting responsibilities due to drinking or hangover affects
  • Using alcohol in ways that are dangerous, for example, drinking and driving
  • Having repeated legal or financial trouble as a result of drinking
  • Continuing to drink in spite of its negative effects on relationships, work or other priorities
  • Drinking as a way to relax or de-stress
  • Drinking as a way to feel good, or simply not feel bad

Long-term alcohol abuse can affect everything in a person’s life from their family, job and finances as well as almost every organ in the body. The most important part in understanding the alcohol abuse definition is determining whether it applies in your life so help for alcohol abuse can be sought as soon as possible.

It is important to understand that while not everyone who abuses alcohol goes on to become an alcoholic, alcohol abuse is one of the biggest risk factors to becoming an alcoholic.

Risks of Alcohol Abuse;


The short-term risks of alcohol misuse include:

  • Accidents and injuries requiring hospital treatment, such as ahead injury
  • Violent behaviour and being a victim of violence
  • Unprotected sex that could potentially lead to unplanned pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • Loss of personal possessions, such as wallets, keys or mobile phones
  • Alcohol poisoning – this may lead to vomiting, seizures (fits) and falling unconscious

People who binge drink (drink heavily over a short period of time) are more likely to behave recklessly and are at greater risk of being in an accident.


Persistent alcohol misuse increases your risk of serious health conditions, including:

As well as causing serious health problems, long-term alcohol misuse can lead to social problems, such as unemployment, divorce, domestic abuse and homelessness. If someone loses control over their drinking and has an excessive desire to drink, it’s known as dependent drinking (alcoholism). Dependent drinking usually affects a person’s quality of life and relationships, but they may not always find it easy to see or accept this.  Severely dependent drinkers are often able to tolerate very high levels of alcohol in amounts that would dangerously affect or even kill some people. A dependent drinker usually experiences physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms if they suddenly cut down or stop drinking, including:

  • Hand tremors – “the shakes”
  • Sweating
  • Seeing things that aren’t real (visual hallucinations)2015-08-29 09.48.16
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty sleeping (Insomnia)
  • This often leads to “relief drinking” to avoid withdrawal symptoms.

Who Does It Effect?

Fathers, mothers, single parents, straight couples, gay couples, brothers, sisters, nephews, cousins, aunts and friendships… alcohol abuse can destroy relationships so it is best to change this negative habit.

A survey taken by NIAAA showed that alcohol abuse effects a wide range of ages spanning from as young as 12 all the way up until the age of 69. In some cases, there also people effected over the age of 69.

The survey showed that the majority of people effected by alcohol abuse were between the ages of 18-20 closely followed by ages 21-24. Most people presume that middle aged people would be the most effected but this survey proves not.

Alcohol abuse can also effect any race, religion or gender. Males are more commonly known to suffer from alcohol abuse compared to women. A survey again taken by NIAAA showed that the Indian race abused alcohol more than any other followed by white people.

Facts & Statistics

  • Around 2 billion people worldwide consume alcoholic drinks.
  • Around 76 million people already have problems with alcohol abuse/misuse.
  • Alcohol causes 1.8 million deaths a year – 3.2% of deaths worldwide.
  • Alcohol abuse can sometimes lead to cancer
  • Alcohol is the 3rd most common cause of death in developed countries.
  • More than 9 million people in England alone drink more than their recommended daily limit.
  • In 2014, there were 8,696 alcohol related deaths in the UK.
  • Alcohol related harm costs England around £21bn per year, with £3.5bn to the NHS, £11bn tackling alcohol-related crime and £7.3bn from lost work days and productivity costs.
  • Between 2012/13 there were 1,008,850 hospital admission related to alcohol in the UK
  • A fifth (29%) of all violent incidents in 2013/14 took place in or around a pub or club.
  • In 2012, 43 per cent of school pupils (aged 11-15) said that they had drunk alcohol at least once.
  • 193 males and 121 females between 15 and 34 years of age died from alcohol-related causes in 2011 in the UK.

Examples of People Who Have Abused Alcohol

“How a helpful neighbour set this alcoholic on the road to recovery”Anne’s Story – Alcoholics Anonymous.

“Learning the Truth Too Late”Jims Story – Njlap.org



“A Woman’s Fight with Alcohol”Kathleen’s Story – Njlap.org



“My Story”Marks Story – Njlap.org

 www.theaoc.org (79)

How Can it be Treated?

The AOC can help you if you have or are abusing alcohol. We are HCPC (Health & Care Professions Council) registered and also members of BACP (The British Association of Dramatherapists). We have a team of highly skilled, professional counsellors and associate therapists to help you through with the use of creative art therapies.

Creative art therapies involve using arts in a therapeutic environment with a trained therapist. You do not need to have any artistic skill or previous experience of dance, drama, music or visual art to find arts therapies helpful. The aim isn’t to produce a great work of art, but to use what you create to understand yourself better. In arts therapy, your therapist helps you to create something — such as a piece of music, a drawing, a play or a dance routine — as a way of expressing your feelings, often without using words.

Creative art therapies can be offered in group sessions, one-to-one or with family therapy depending on your own preference. We will match you to our best suited therapist/counsellor to help you with any of your issues. All our counselling is strictly confidential and nothing said in the therapy space will leave the room.

There are many different modalities in which creative arts can be offered to you ranging from the following;

Offers profound reflection on who we are and the roles we play. These art forms are also centrally concerned with how people change people, for better or worse, and the sort of connections they make with each other, e.g. superficial, conflictual, brutal, deadened or deeply enriching. Drama and puppetry can also offer vital insights into ‘situation’: how past situations are still colouring those in the present. Working with puppets is ideal for circumventing a reluctance to speak about feelings.

Sculpture offers a person the power to speak through touch. Its power lies more in the emotional resonance of substance. Sculpture invites a sensual engagement with the world. Clay expresses qualities and forms of feeling, directly, plainly, free of the clutter of any associations of the everyday.

Literal words can misrepresent, underplay, hide rather than reveal and frequently offering only approximations to any recalled experience. In poetry as a multi-sensorial form, ‘amplifies the music of what happens’ (Seamus Heaney). ‘A poetic basis of mind’ (Hillman) can lead to a far more profound experience of life.

Clients choose from a whole world of miniature people, animals and buildings and arrange them in the controlled space of the ‘theatre of the sandbox’. This theatre then offers a profound overview of important life issues. Once feelings are organised and externalised in sandplay, they can be contemplated from a distance, and then assimilated.

The dynamic forms in music are recognisable as vital forms of felt life: the rises and falls, the surges and flooding’s, the tensions and intensities, the changes in tempo, the dissonances, harmonies and resolutions. We know these forms intimately in our emotional experiencing. Music can convey the full qualitative and energetic aspects of an important relationship, atmosphere crucial event, or ongoing situation.

Forms encapture the complex inter-relations between time, weight, space, flow. We know these forms intimately in our emotional experiencing, so much so that both movement and still pose can provoke all manner of resonance. It is also possible to work with what the body is already communicating symbolically, whether through posture, gesture and gait, or through illness and injury. Movement is integral to the very process of change.


 If you would like to receive counselling from The AOC please fill out on of our online referral forms and send to support@theaoc.org.uk You will have a choice of 3 different types of referral forms;

  1. For individuals or couples
  2. Family referral form
  3. Group referral form

Please select the referral form most suited to you i.e. if you would like group therapy, fill out the group referral form.

Simply click the following link to find out more information and complete one of our referral forms:


We provide our clients with high-quality, evidence based expertise in the form of personal therapy and counselling. To help anyone suffering with any type of eating disorder.

Here is an example of a creative art therapy from The AOC in more detail;


Dramatherapy is a form of psychological therapy/psychotherapy in which all of the performance arts are utilised within the therapeutic relationship. Dramatherapy addresses a wide range of personal and emotional difficulties. Clients who are referred to a dramatherapist do not need to have previous experience or skill in acting, theatre or drama. Dramatherapists are trained to enable clients to find the most suitable medium for them to engage in group or individual therapy to address and resolve, or make troubling issues more bearable. Dramatherapists work in a wide variety of settings with people of all ages:

  • in schools
  • in mental health
  • in general health and social care settings
  • in prisons
  • in hospices
  • in the voluntary sector
  • in private practice

Dramatherapists are both artists and clinicians and draw on their trainings in theatre, drama and therapy to create methods to engage clients in effecting psychological, emotional and social changes.  The therapy gives equal validity to body and mind within the dramatic context; stories, myths, play-texts, puppetry, masks and improvisation are examples of the range of artistic interventions a dramatherapist may employ.  These will enable the client to explore difficult and painful life experiences through a creative-expressive approach. Dramatherapists are trained in both psychological and arts-specific assessment and evaluation techniques. They are committed to generating practice-based evidence and deliver sound evidence-based practice.

The British Association of Dramatherapists (BADth)


We can also offer our clients integrative counselling;

Integrative Counselling

Integrative therapy, or integrative counselling is a combined approach to psychotherapy that brings together different elements of specific therapies. Integrative therapists take the view that there is no single approach that can treat each client in all situations. Each person needs to be considered as a whole and counselling techniques must be tailored to their individual needs and personal circumstances. 

Integrative counselling maintains the idea that there are many ways in which human psychology can be explored and understood – no one theory holds the answer. All theories are considered to have value, even if their foundational principles contradict each other – hence the need to integrate them. 

The integrative approach also refers to the infusion of a person’s personality and needs – integrating the affective, behavioural, cognitive, and physiological systems within one person, as well as addressing social and spiritual aspects. Essentially, integrative counsellors are not only concerned with what works, but why it works – tailoring therapy to their clients and not the client to the therapy.

Top Health Tips

  1. Keep Track – Try to keep track of what you are drinking, make marks on a kitchen calendar type it on a note in your phone.
  2. Include Food – Don’t drink on an empty stomach. Eat food so the alcohol your drink is absorbed slowly.
  3. Pace Yourself – Sip slowly, have no more than one standard alcoholic drink per hour.
  4. Find Alternatives – If you are drinking to take your mind off things, find something better, healthier to do such as walking a pet, or a hobby of yours for example football.
  5. Try to Avoid Triggers – If something is causing you to drink, try to avoid them. This is somewhat difficult depending on the situation but try your best. Try talking to someone about it.
  6. Set Yourself Goals – Pick days you are not going to drink on and stick to them, also pick days where you will drink less than others.
  7. Contact us – The AOC can help your overcome and put a stop to the sexual abuse you may be experiencing/experienced. Call or email us: 01384 211 168 / support@theaoc.org.uk