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Awareness Week on Alcohol related Harm 2019

It is the 7th time that Eurocare is a partner in the Awareness Week on Alcohol Related Harm (AWARH) this year’s theme is: “Alcohol & Mental Health”.

Alcohol is a depressant and while the first drink or two can have a disinhibiting effect, over a more extended period the effects of alcohol abuse can contribute to the development of mental health problems.

Excess alcohol consumption depletes the brain of serotonin, a chemical believed to play a role in depression. Over a decade ago, the WHO asserted that sufficient evidence exists to assume alcohol’s contributory role in depression.

Often described as a vicious circle, alcohol abuse can either cause, or be caused by, mental health problems. For many, drinking alcohol can be a means of ‘self-medication’, though when this becomes someone’s primary coping strategy, they are at risk of becoming dependent. It should go without saying that alcohol dependency can have ruinous effects for the mental health of anyone suffering from it, and for those around them.

People diagnosed with anxiety are 1.5 times likelier than average to be at risk of alcohol dependence, with those diagnosed with depression or schizophrenia double or triple the average. Around two-thirds of successful male suicides have been linked to excessive drinking.

The alcohol-attributable fraction for suicide was estimated to be as high as 18%, suicide attempt increases seven times after drinking alcohol, this risk further increases to 37 times after heavy drinking.

It is also known that the presence of Alcohol Use Disorders (AUDs) at least doubles the risk of having a depression. Furthermore, risk of suicidal ideation, suicidal attempts and completed suicide are each increased by 2–3 times among those with AUDs in comparison with the general population.

The aim of the Awareness Week on Alcohol related Harm is to raise Awareness among EU policymakers of the harms caused by alcohol.

Follow and support AWARH’19 on social media with hashtag #awarh19

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