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The Impact of Alcohol on Relationships

Photo by Vinicius "amnx" Amano on Unsplash.
Dr Farrukh Alam
Dr Farrukh Alam
Lead Consultant Psychiatrist & Medical Director
Addcounsel & Orchestrate Health

The impact of alcohol on relationships is widespread and whilst drinking is often an enjoyable part of many different social activities, for many people, it can also be a source of conflict in their relationships, especially when consumption is excessive. Alcohol is normalised across many cultures, yet even though it is not harmful in moderation, it can also be problematic when used to excess especially in an already strained relationship. In some cases, alcohol misuse can put a serious strain on intimate relationships and has the potential to lead to separation issues in some couples and can negatively impact a relationship to the point of breakup or divorce.

How excessive alcohol use can affect a relationship:

  • Create intimacy problems and decrease in sex drive!
  • Lack of emotional availability and affection
  • Impaired judgement, increased irritability, and extreme mood swings
  • Feelings of depression and anxiety
  • Negative effect on family dynamics
  • Questioning of shared values
  • Levels of respect
  • Mistrust

Potential physical health problems of alcohol misuse include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Increased risk of heart and liver disease
  • Cancer of the breast, colon, liver, throat, and mouth
  • Weakened immune system.

If you’re worried about yours or a loved one’s drinking habits, ask yourself if:

you feel you should cut down on your drinking

other people have been criticising your drinking

you feel guilty or bad about your drinking

you need to drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or get rid of hangover

Signs of excessive alcohol use

Excessive alcohol use can have dire effects on the affected individual, whether their level of alcohol use is mild, moderate, or severe. If you believe that someone you love may have an alcohol use disorder, there are some common signs that can help you in figuring it out. If you wish to help yourself, or someone you know who may be affected, speak to a professional as soon as you can.

Approaching a person about their alcohol use can be a touchy subject, and without a careful and informed approach, the individual may feel attacked or confronted, meaning that a positive response is unlikely. If you feel like alcohol has been affecting your relationships, speak to an addiction professional, like a counsellor or an interventionist. They can guide you on how to best approach the situation and help you maintain your own balance and security throughout.

Dr Farrukh Alam BSc, MBChB, MRCPsych comments: “Relationship problems are a common result of alcohol use disorder as alcohol can change a person’s personality and this can have a detrimental impact on intimacy and partnerships. Where alcohol misuse has been established over a long period of time, the whole family dynamic may grow and shape itself around the addictive behaviour, often resulting in unhealthy, sometimes toxic relationships either between a couple, parent/child relationship or both and left untreated, alcohol use disorder can negatively impact a marriage, storing up trauma for future generations. However, people don’t have to suffer alone, talking to an expert can have great effectiveness in helping couples and families who are struggling with a substance use disorder”.

About Dr Farrukh Alam

Dr Alam is an internationally renowned expert in assessment and treatment of drug, alcohol, and other addictive disorders. He is accredited as having specialist expertise in this field by the GMC and, for over 25 years, has treated thousands of patients with a variety of addictive disorders.

After completing his medical training at the Universities of St Andrews and Manchester, his psychiatric training was carried out at national drug and alcohol units at The Maudsley Hospital, London. He is a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and has specialist accreditation in general psychiatry and treatment of addiction. He also holds the position Associate Medical Director for the NHS Central and North West London Foundation Trust.

In  July 2018,  he joined luxury rehab Addcounsel and sister company leading private community mental health service Orchestrate Health as Lead Consultant Psychiatrist and Medical Director. Dr Alam has a commitment to providing the best quality care and is responsible for the clinical safety of all patients. Working with people struggling with affective mood disorders, his specialist area is addiction (chemical and behavioural), helping people with alcohol, drug, and other compulsive behaviours, to achieving recovery and maintaining a happy life.

He has presented on the topic of addiction to a wide audience, including international conferences, House of Lords, and is widely published in international literature and media.

Dr Farrukh Alam holds Medico-Legal Expert’s Certificate, accredited by City University London & The Inns of Court School of Law. He has prepared psychiatric medico-legal reports for 25 years and prepares approximately 40 reports a year.

His current national roles include Clinical Advisor to the Civil Aviation Authority.

For more information or to arrange an interview with Dr Alam, please contact Natalie Clarke at Love PR London natalie@loveprlondon.com or call 07796 675950.

More about Addcounsel and Orchestrate Health

Offering expert private treatment for a range of addictive and mental health disorders, Addcounsel treat just one client at a time in luxury private accommodation in London, providing 24/7 medically led care from highly qualified mental health care professionals including doctors, psychiatrists, nutritionists, therapists, and addiction specialists. Addcounsel provides complete anonymity to high net worth and ultra-high net worth individuals and their families, for whom group recovery simply wouldn’t work. The model has proven highly successful and Addcounsel has treated hundreds of clients from around the world.

Orchestrate Health is London’s leading private community mental health service supporting patients and enabling them to be cared for online and/or at home by providing live-in mental health specialists, home assessments and daily visits from professionals within the mental health field.

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