02 May 2017

The Tragic Consequences of Alcoholism

The stereotypical alcoholic is someone who drinks alcohol from bottles wrapped in a brown paper bag and sleeps on the streets because he or she is estranged from family members. However, in reality, alcoholics are typically like everyone else. They have families that love them, nice homes, and good jobs, and to outsiders, some appear to have it all. Those who do struggle with this type of illness do all have something in common, however; they all need addiction treatment if they are to turn their lives around.

While those who do get addiction treatment have a chance of getting their lives back on track, there are some who never reach out for help and therefore struggle on every day with their crippling addictions. Unfortunately, some will suffer poor health and premature death because they are unable to overcome their illness.

Can Alcoholism Result in Premature Death?

Most do not see alcohol as a harmful substance because it is legal and so widely available. Alcohol is socially acceptable and is present at almost every celebration, so most people are unable to comprehend how dangerous it can be when abused. However, the reality is that alcohol is actually a chemical substance that is capable of causing poor health and premature death. In fact, it is one of the top three contributors to poor health in the UK.

It was alcoholism and a lack of addiction treatment that led to the death of Danny O’Brien, a father of two who was found dead in an alleyway. O’Brien had struggled with alcoholism and depression for many years. His illness had worsened after he was involved in a car crash and consequently lost his licence.

Why Some People Fail to Access Addiction Treatment

Those who struggle with addiction are often unable to admit the seriousness of their situations to themselves. These individuals will continue with their addictive behaviour without reaching out for help due to thinking that they do not have a problem or are otherwise afraid of what addiction treatment will entail. Some do reach out for help but are unable to overcome their addictions. O’Brien was attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings before he died but was unable to beat his addiction.

O’Brien’s alcoholism had been progressing for years, and on the morning his body was found, he was wearing wet clothes, indicating that he had been lying in the alleyway all night as it had been raining. Apart from a cut on his forehead, there were no other indications of injuries or the involvement of a third party.

O’Brien was found to have toxic levels of alcohol in his blood when a toxicology report was carried out, and on the night he died, temperatures were as low as two degrees. It is believed that the drop in temperature may have led to his death.

His body was found by Valerie Lambert, who admits that she first thought she was looking at a ‘pile of clothes’. Once she realised that O’Brien was there, she immediately contacted emergency services.

The Impact of Alcoholism on Health

Alcohol abuse and addiction have been linked to many illnesses, and this can lead to deteriorating health in those affected. In the case of Danny O’Brien, his alcoholism is thought to have been the trigger for the seizures that he often experienced. In the days before his passing, he suffered a seizure at an AA meeting and was admitted to hospital.

He was also suffering from anxiety and depression, taking medication for both. His estranged wife said that he had battled these mental health problems since the age of eighteen. Mrs O’Brien also acknowledged that her husband had been struggling with alcohol addiction for many years and that his illness worsened after the car accident he was involved in.

Although they were separated, Mrs O’Brien paid tribute to O’Brien for being a ‘proud and supportive’ husband and father to their two sons. She said, “He was very proud, and he did have the support of the Downley community. There were about 350 people at the funeral. He was a very popular man. He was a hard worker; there was nothing he couldn’t set his hand too. He made everything in the house, the conservatory.”

She added, “We just want people to be aware of the struggles of addiction and depression and for there to be more help out there. Hopefully now with the Royals coming out about it, more people will be made aware of it. If there had been more help when Danny was Jack’s age then maybe he would still be here today.”

Accessing Help for Addiction

If you need help for addiction, contact us here at UKAT. We offer first-class addiction treatment for all types of addiction and have a number of clinics staffed by hard-working and fully trained professionals. For more information on how you can access our services, contact our 24-hour helpline today.

Source: Danny O’Brien who was found dead in a Downley alleyway struggled with depression and alcohol addiction, inquest hears (Bucks Free Press)

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