“NINE TYPES OF HEAVY DRINKER”
The government claims it has identified nine types of heavy drinker as it launches a new alcohol campaign.
Department of Health focus groups found that heavy drinkers often fall into one of a number of categories. These range from de-stress and depressed drinkers to people who booze because of boredom or to bond. However, no attempt seems to have been made to identify drinkers who are addicted/dependent, or to address treatment for them.
The focus groups were undertaken to inform a drive by ministers to crack down on heavy drinkers. A pilot is being run in north west England over the coming months in which over 900,000 households will receive leaflets highlighting the link between drinking and conditions such as cancer and liver disease. The campaign is focusing on adults aged over 35 who fall into one or more of the nine categories.
- Depressed drinker
- De-stress drinker
- Re-bonding drinker
- Conformist drinker
- Community drinker
- Boredom drinker
- Macho drinker
- Hedonistic drinker
- Border dependents.
Those drinking heavily – defined as consuming 35 units a week for women, 50 for men, which is twice the recommended limit – do so for a variety of reasons. For example, de-stress drinkers were defined as people in pressured jobs who used alcohol to relax. Bonding drinkers could be anyone in society who had hectic social lives and lost track of their drinking. To learn about drink units/limits, click here.
Along with the information about disease risk, people will be given details about where they can go to get help. This will include a website where they can calculate their individual risk and access a self-help manual. A telephone helpline will also be set up.
The government hopes the tailored approach will help 4,000 people in the region to reduce their drinking within a year. If it is successful, officials hope to roll it out to other parts of England.
Public health minister Dawn Primarolo admitted these heavy drinkers were a "tough one to crack". she added: "This is a totally fresh approach to helping people understand the effects of their drinking habits and help them make changes for the better."
Department of Health campaign information on drugs including alcohol and tobacco is available here.