Webinar | Why Harmful Drinkers Reject Change: Coping and Cognition in Maintaining Heavy Drinking

London, United Kingdom,

The Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at Middlesex University (the host organisation for ISSUP UK) are delighted to be hosting our next webinar on Wednesday 17 March 2021.

This will be presented by Dr James Morris, Centre for Addictive Behaviours Research Fellow, London South Bank University on the subject of 'Why harmful drinkers reject change: coping and cognition in maintaining heavy drinking'.

Time: 1pm - 2pm UK Time

Register for the Webinar


Public Health England identifies approximately 600,000 dependent drinkers as the target treatment population. However they identify an additional 1.3 million ‘harmful’ drinkers who do not have serious dependency but are drinking at levels already causing harm to themselves. For instance, 1 in 5 hospital attendees have been identified as harmful drinkers, reflecting the contribution of heavy drinking to a wide range of health-related conditions. However, harmful drinkers are characterised by low problem recognition, or in some folk language, ‘denial’. Here, we will present a conceptual model for understanding how and why harmful drinkers reject change via cognitive ‘coping’ responses. We will explore some of the ways in which interventions and policy may address some of these barriers with a few to increasing problem recognition as a key first step to change.


Dr. James Morris is a Research Fellow at London South Bank University, with a particular interest in alcohol problems, stigma, framing and problem recognition. He has close to 20 years’ experience in the alcohol field and has lived experience of problem drinking. James recently launched The Alcohol ‘Problem’ Podcast, which aims to explore the nature of problem drinking through a range of academic and lived experience perspectives. He is Editor of Alcohol Policy UK and Chair of the New Directions in the Study of Alcohol Group.

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