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Growth in number of hidden alcoholics in Wales

This morning’s Wales on Sunday claims that drinking problems are no longer confined to the “reckless minority” who binge at the weekend or to those who need a drink first thing in the morning. Instead, experts are increasingly concerned about the growth of the “hidden alcoholics”, defined as those who turn to the wine bottle to cope with a hard day at work:

Andrew Misell, manager of Alcohol Concern Cymru, said: “It’s very easy to point the finger at young people who drink on a Saturday night and say that’s where the problem is.

“But we know that 50% of alcohol sold in this country is from supermarkets and often as part of a grocery shop and [is bought] by people to drink at home who would never consider themselves to have a drinking problem.

“Alcohol is now a normal part of most of our lives and we need to be aware that it’s pretty easy to slip into using alcohol on a regular basis and get into a habit.

“It’s not necessarily an issue of becoming completely addicted to alcohol and fitting the stereotype of the alcoholic who has to have a drink first thing in the morning.

“But it’s very easy to get into the habit of having two to three glasses of wine at night because you think you’ve had a difficult day.”

The paper adds that the Welsh Health Survey in 2010 suggests 44% of Welsh adults regularly drink more than the recommended guidelines (37% of women and 51% of men).

Dr Tony Jewell, Wales’ chief medical officer, said: “There is increasing evidence more people, from all parts of society, are drinking more than is good for them. Most of these drinkers do not recognise that their drinking is problematic as they do not see themselves as binge drinkers or alcohol dependent.

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  1. Richard Dean says

    What is the problem here? Must we all follow recommended guidelines? Is there evidence that a drink or two at home at night is (or will) actually creating problems? If so, how does the problem show up, and is is really helpful to stigmatize people as “hidden alchoholics”? Their behavour is far from the carnage created by weekend binge drinkers or by absent fathers drinking 8 pints and returning how from the pub drunk and incapable every night. Please clarify!

  2. christine says

    I disagree as i started drinking two glasses of wine with friends and knew my limit. What i have noticed is that my drinking tolerance has increased. I can easily get through a bottle of wine or 2 per night now.The best thing is not to make it something of a habit as it becomes routine, as your tired after work and want to relax or stressed. I really do not know how i got to this and i hold down decent job. I am now seeking help. No one knows about this,its not something you share. It is hidden and is seen as normal by same.