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Alcohol Related Mental Health Issues Increasing

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009 Alcohol Related Mental Health Issues Increasing

It has been established that thousands of children are being admitted to hospital each year due to mental health issues surrounding alcohol misuse.

With reference to the report in the Telagraph (15 03 09) it highlights that last year alone there were 1,043 under-14s were treated by hospital staff, including 44 under-10s. Another 5,223 children aged between 14 and 17 years were also admitted.

Furthermore, it has been disclosed that among adults, some 160,931 were admitted for alcohol-related behaviour disorders in 2007-08, the last year for which statistics are available.

The figures, obtained from the Government in written Parliamentary questions by the Liberal Democrats, show that such cases have risen significantly in recent years.

Total admissions among all ages have risen from 108,427 in 2003/4 to 167,197 in 2007-08.

Don Foster, the Liberal Democrats’ culture, media and sport spokesman, said: “These astronomical figures show once again that binge-drinking is out of control in this country.

“It’s particularly shocking that so many of these admissions relate to children under the age of 10.

“It is now imperative that parents and schools get the resources they need to educate children from a very young age about the dangers of alcohol.

“When there are thousands of children in hospital for serious alcohol-related conditions we cannot bury our heads in the sand about the consequences of our drinking culture.

“It is vital that the NHS is equipped to deal with alcohol dependency and other alcohol-related conditions.”

Notwithstanding, in another report produced by the Telegraphs James Kirkup (30 12 08) who argues that right across the generations there has been a significant increase with regards to mental health issues and alcohol misuse.

Indeed, there were 158,656 admissions to hospitals in England for mental health problems related to drinking in 2006/07 compared to 79,895 in 1997/98.

he more recent figure included 6,612 cases among those aged 17 and under, a 50% rise on the 4,401 cases seen in this age group by hospital doctors in 1997/98.

Campaigners said the figures showed the damage being done by Britain’s heavy-drinking culture and the continued availability of cheap alcohol.

Marjorie Wallace, chief executive of the mental health charity SANE, said: “The sale of cheap booze may not only damage physical but mental health. It is particularly worrying for the growing numbers of young people who drink heavily, as it can exacerbate to kind of behaviour which may lead to a prison cell, casualty department or psychiatric unit.”

The figures also showed that number of people aged 18 to 40 admitted to hospital suffering from alcoholic liver disease has more than doubled.

In 1997/98, there were 2,967 hospital admissions, rising to 6,495 in 2006/07.

The figures were obtained by Paul Burstow, a Liberal Democrat MP.

Among all age groups, there were 43,548 hospital admissions in 2006/07 for alcoholic liver disease while another 27,040 cases related to the toxic effects of alcohol.

Mr Burstow said: “These figures expose an iceberg effect where enormous problems are being stored up for the NHS in the future.

“Behind these figures are huge human and financial costs. The human cost in terms of poor health and premature death and the financial cost in terms of the drain on the NHS and the lost productivity must be huge.”

Moreover, what also requires consideration according to Tom Brake, Lib Dem MP for Carshalton and Wallington, said: “While newspaper headlines have focused on binge-drinking teenagers, the number of elderly people being hospitalised due to alcohol have been soaring unnoticed.

“These figures are deeply worrying, and ministers must take action to tackle this new and disturbing trend.

“The Government has massively under-funded alcohol treatment services, while this problem has been allowed to escalate.

reatment services, while this problem has been allowed to escalate.

“That’s why the Liberal Democrats are committed to ensuring the NHS is provided with the financial support and resources it needs to deal with the burden that alcohol misuse places upon services.”

A Department of Health spokesman said: “The level of alcohol-related hospital admissions, crime, and even deaths are unacceptable.

“Tackling this culture is a Government priority.

“We want to tackle these problems in a way that doesn’t unfairly punish the majority who drink responsibly.

“We are committed to giving people the information they need to make informed choices.

“The £6million Know Your Limits units campaign, launched in May last year, raises awareness about the number of units in different drinks.”

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