Is my drinking causing problems?

The best people to answer that question are yourself and those close to you. What do members of your family think? Your friends? Your colleagues at work?

You might think you are the only person who can really answer that question. The problem is that alcohol interferes with people's judgement. That's one reason why, for example, the law is so strict on drink driving. Alcohol tends to make you think you're all right when you're not.

Once dependence on alcohol develops, it starts getting more difficult to hear other people's concerns about your drinking. Some people find that the more things in their lives start going wrong, the more they cling to the comfort they find in getting drunk.

Hearing other people comment on your drinking, or perhaps even hinting at your alcohol problems, then starts to feel threatening and uncomfortable. In turn that makes people less and less inclined to be straight with you, and you less likely to confide in them.

So if your drinking is getting out of hand, the earlier you do something about it the better. The longer you leave it, the more difficult changing your drinking habits will become - and the more pieces there will be to pick up.

Often, as alcohol becomes a habit, it gets harder to control. People who are becoming dependent begin putting off the day they take action. Sooner or later, they can wake up to find they have lost their jobs, lost loved ones, lost friends, lost belief in themselves, lost hope that things can improve without alcohol.

Don't leave it too late. If your drinking is causing problems, do something about it today. If you keep putting it off, things will get worse. People who continue to drink can build up a physical tolerance to alcohol. This means that you'll have to drink more and more to get the effect you need. Think how much this will cost you - not just in terms of money but also the destructive impact it will have on your health and your relationships with loved ones.

For further information call 0800 081 0700