This article provides information about resources and support for problematic alcohol consumption. See also the related article about concerns about drug use.
Drinking culture can sometimes seem to feature as part of student life, but drinking too much can affect your judgement and lead you into unsafe situations, as well as having long-term implications on your health. It can contribute to mental health difficulties like depression and anxiety, and can also lead to dependence and addiction. If you are concerned that alcohol is becoming a problem for you, or you would like support in cutting down, then there are lots of options for getting support.
It is advisable to consult your GP, especially if you are feeling persistently low, or if your difficulties are significantly affecting your daily functioning. It is also always advisable to let your personal tutor or course leader know if you are having difficulties affecting your studies - they are there to help, and can offer useful advice and support.
You could also make use of the following resources, available via the university, or other local agencies:
Student Wellbeing Service
The Student Wellbeing Service offers confidential help with a wide range of personal and emotional concerns, and is available to every student at the University free of charge.
The service has three strands: wellbeing advice, mental health advice and counselling. They are all linked together so when you apply you only have to approach us once - we will sort out which one is most likely to meet your needs. As well as one to one support we offer a programme of events, courses and workshops, online support and resources, and a weekly Wellbeing Cafe.
We can provide initial support in addressing alcohol dependence and addiction, and are experienced in helping students access specialist treatment for these and associated mental health issues.
To contact us or register for support see our article on accessing support from the Student Wellbeing Service. You can also use this registration process to request a place on most of our courses and workshops (subject to availability).
Students' Union Advice Centre
The Students' Union Advice Centre, which is a separate service to the Student Wellbeing service, can also offer confidential, impartial and non-judgmental support on a range of issues. The service is independent from the University, all enquiries are dealt with in confidence. The team work closely with the University to resolve issues and ensure students are treated fairly. The team may also direct you to other services which may be of help. For more information see their pages on the Students' Union website.
Courses and workshops
The Student Wellbeing Service hosts a range of events, courses and workshops programme for learning skills to tackle common issues like stress, anxiety and low mood. Improving such skills might help address underlying issues contributing to problematic alcohol use, and/or unwanted psychological consequences.
For example, our popular From Stress to Success course helps you master skills for such as relaxation, communication and assertiveness, amongst other things. Consult our events, courses and workshops programme for more information and to see which one's are relevant to your concerns.
All students also have free access to a set of short online courses, called SilverCloud, to learn evidence-based strategies for tackling the common issues of stress, anxiety, depression and poor body image. These courses can be accessed confidentially and completed independently, in your own time and at your own pace. Find out more and register directly from the online resources article.
The University library has copies of the following books which could be useful:
- Spada, M. - Overcoming Problem Drinking - 616.8610651/SPA
You can search the Library Catalogue here.
If you would like to research more around the topic of alcohol problems, the Student Wellbeing Service can recommend the following services and self help resources:
- NHS website For basic guidance about how to reduce the amount you drink.
- NHS Self-Help Guides A range of self-help books (available also as MP3 downloads) including one on Alcohol and You, and also covering potentially relevant topics such as Anger, Depression, Anxiety and Stress.
- Alcohol & Depression Royal College of Psychiatrists leaflet concerning the connection between alcohol and depression.
- Give Up Drinking A self-help website with information and advice on problem drinking, including questionnaires and diaries to assist active change.
- Alcoholics Anonymous Is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions.
- National Association for Children of Alcoholics Charity that provides a free, confidential telephone and email helpline to anyone (child or adult) affected by parental alcohol problems and to those concerned with their welfare; website contains information leaflets and links to additional resources.
- Al-Anon Family group support for anyone whose life has been affected by someone else's drinking, where members can share their own experience of living with alcoholism. Local Portsmouth group meets weekly.
University of Portsmouth Student Wellbeing Service Contact Details:
Phone: +44 (0)23 9284 3466
Location: The Bateson Centre, The Mary Rose St, Portsmouth, PO1 2BL