1. ITV Report

'Dying for a Drink' tales of those who came close

Dying for a Drink - there have been more than 7,500 alcohol related deaths so far this year. Photo: ITV West Country

As part of Alcohol Awareness Week ITV News has been hearing from people across the West and South West who've battled with alcoholism.

The latest figures released reveal that the lives of thousand's of people here are affected.

According to the charity Alcohol Concern, "harmful drinking is the bigest risk factor for death, ill-health and disability among 15 - 49 year-olds in the UK, and the fifth biggest risk factor across all ages.

medical conditions can be linked to alcohol misuse.
adults are dependent on alcohol in the region

Alcohol misuse is linked to 60 medical conditions from depression to heart disease.

The conservative estimate is that 45,000 adults are dependent on alcohol in our region alone, but Alcohol Concern and other organisations believe this figure is in reality far higher and increasing every year.

Hannah McGugan slipped into alcoholism without realising what was happening. Credit: ITV West Country

Hannah McGugan started drinking at the age of 14, she says that what started as a teenage rite of passage almost killed her.

I had a lot of blackouts, a lot of mornings where I would have no idea what had happened the day before.

– Hannah McGugan

Hannah is also now sober. Five years on she's expecting her second child, has a partner, a job and a place at University.

She says life is good and that she now feels grateful for being alive.

Hannah's relationship with alcohol put a strain on relationships with friends and family - something common among people who've struggled to control their drinking.

'John' - not his real name also started drinking as a teenager, it soon took over his life. He says, "I would drink to oblivion basically."

He was once admitted to hospital for alcohol poisoning and told us that afterwards, when he was in the taxi home, he "got the taxi driver to stop at the 24 hour garage" so that he "could pick up four cans of Stella."

He says it drove him insane, adding "alcohol came before my Mum, my Dad, my Nan, my Grandad, my brother... alcohol came first."

Rachel says she drank to block out feelings of loneliness and anxiety. Now she's in recovery and says alcoholism can affect anyone.

There's no shame to seeking help and a better understanding of what it is you're suffering with.

– Rachel, Bristol

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