Alcohol Misuse – Sikh Helpline

Alcohol misuse occurs when you drink in a way that’s harmful or when you’re dependent on its consumption. If someone has lost control over their drinking and has a strong desire to drink, it’s known as alcohol dependency (alcoholism). 

Risks associated with alcohol misuse can be short or long term. 

Short term risks include: 

  • Injuries requiring medical treatment, such as head injury or broken bones. Violent, or other criminal behaviour as well as being the victim of violence. Losing personal possessions such as mobile phones, money or keys. 

Long term alcohol misuse can significantly increase the risk of serious health conditions such as: 

  • Heart disease 
  • Stroke 
  • Liver disease 
  • Cancer 

In addition to serious health issues, alcohol misuse can create social problems such as unemployment, divorce and domestic abuse. 

People have alcohol dependency for a number of reasons, including: 

  • Mental health 
  • Drinking from a young age 
  • Social and cultural factors 
  • Being in a stressful environment 

There has also been research to suggest that alcohol dependency has increased during the covid-19 pandemic. 

Dependent drinkers commonly experience physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms if they suddenly reduce or stop drinking. Symptoms of withdrawal include: 

  • Hand tremors – “the shakes” 
  • Sweating 
  • Depression 
  • Insomnia (difficulty sleeping) 

You might be misusing alcohol if: 

  • You feel you should reduce your alcohol consumption. 
  • Other people are critical of your drinking. 
  • You feel guilty about your drinking. 

If you’re concerned about your drinking or someone else’s, there are a many charities and support groups in addition to Sikh Helpline, which can provide help and advice. These include:

  • Alcohol Change UK
  • Alcoholics Anonymous helpline on 0800 9177 650
  • Al-Anon Family Groups helpline on 020 7403 0888
  • Alcohol Free Sikhs
  • The Sikh Recovery Network