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    Feeling Rusty: Can Alcohol Be Seen as Heavy Addictive Drug?

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    Sputnik spoke to Dr Bob Patton, Lecturer in Clinical Psychology, at the University of Surrey, to find out more about hazards of alcohol addiction.

    Sputnik: Recent research has found 38% of the 57,000 cases of early-onset dementia – were directly alcohol-related and 18% had an additional diagnosis of alcohol use disorders. How significant are these findings?

    Dr Patton: They are very significant. They clearly indicate a strong relationship between alcohol consumption, even a moderate to low level of alcohol consumption to brain damage.

    Sputnik: What methods are being used currently to protect and prevent heavy drinkers?

    Dr Patton: There are a number of different ways… we are aware of the increased information around alcohol related harms. People are receiving more information on that which will hopefully help them make informed choices. The government is considering an increase in taxation on alcohol and limits on promotions, to reduce alcohol use. All these can help on reducing consumption; the minimum unit price is one of things that’s been in the news recently which is being introduced in Scotland and again it’s likely that it will make alcohol more expensive which will mean people will drink less of it. That can only be a good thing from a health perspective.

    Sputnik: Following the publication and findings of this research, could we see alcohol on the same pedestal as hard addictive drugs like Heroin?

    Dr Patton: That’s an interesting question. In the UK, we are a nation that is steeped in alcohol in many ways. It is the fabric of our society… Of course alcohol has been made illegal in other countries in the past, such as America during the prohibition. This wasn’t particularly successful in reducing levels of consumption and harm. I don’t think we will see alcohol being outlawed in the same way as other drugs have been and I think we will concentrate on harm minimization, increasing education and reducing levels of consumption. If we drink less, it [alcohol] will do us less harm and that’s a fact.

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    addiction, dementia, alcohol, United Kingdom
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