Realising you have a problem with alcohol is the first big step to getting help.

You may need alcohol support and reduction tips if:

A good place to start is with your GP. Try to be accurate and honest about how much you drink and any problems it may be causing you.

If you have become dependent on alcohol, you will have found it difficult to fully control your drinking in some way, so you’ll probably need some help either to cut down and control your drinking or stop completely and a plan to help you going forward.

Your GP will discuss the different options available to you, including signposting you to local community alcohol services. You can also ask about any free local support groups and alcohol counselling should you need it.

If you have become physically dependent and need to stop drinking completely, stopping overnight could be harmful. You should get advice and ask about any medications you may need to do this safely.

Withdrawal symptoms that suggest you may need medicine to help you stop drinking include:

Staying healthy and in control

Cutting down or stopping drinking is usually just the beginning, and most people will need some degree of help or a long-term plan to stay in control or completely alcohol-free.

Getting the right support can be crucial to maintaining control in the future. Simply relying on family, friends or carers for this often is not enough, so ask your GP or alcohol service about what longer-term support is available in your area.

Self-help or mutual aid groups (groups such as AA or SMART Recovery groups) are accessible in most areas.

Useful contacts for alcohol problems

Tips for cutting down on alcohol:

If you regularly drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week, try these simple tips to help you cut down:

Benefits of cutting down on alcohol:

Long-term benefits of cutting down on alcohol:

Mood

There’s a strong link between heavy drinking and depression, and hangovers often make you feel anxious and low. If you already feel anxious or sad, drinking can make this worse, so cutting down may put you in a better mood generally.

Sleep

Drinking can affect your sleep. It is known that millions of people suffer from severe sleep disorders due to improper daily routine, abuse of electronic devices and stress. Some people take sleeping pills, including Ambien. New-generation sleeping pills are considered safe, but the medical literature warns us that they can cause damage to health which is sometimes irreversible. Although it can help some people fall asleep quickly, it can disrupt your sleep patterns and stop you from sleeping deeply. So cutting down on alcohol should help you feel more rested when you wake.

Behaviour

Drinking can affect your judgement and behaviour. You may behave irrationally or aggressively when you are drunk. Memory loss can be a problem during drinking and in the long term for regular heavy drinkers.

Heart

Long-term heavy drinking can lead to your heart becoming enlarged. This is a serious condition that can’t be completely reversed but stopping drinking can stop it from getting worse.

Immune system

Regular drinking can affect your body’s ability to fight infections. Heavy drinkers tend to catch more infectious diseases.