EAST Lancashire health experts have warned Christmas party-goers over the dangers of alcohol.

They have also revealed that December and January are the busiest months of the year for alcohol-related hospital admissions.

And local BMI Hospitals addiction counsellor, Joy Richard, said the number of alcoholics seeking help increases at this time.

She said: “For those who may have a hidden drinking habit, Christmas is often a time when this becomes more apparent.

“This is because daily factors which may normally prevent a person from drinking, such as needing to go to work and drive a car, are taken out of the equation.

“Everyone’s off work, there are parties to attend and it’s acceptable to drink during the day. Also the drinks we enjoy over Christmas are usually stronger, and we have more spirits.

“Most people drink more over Christmas, but alarm bells should ring if someone seems to drink a lot more and get drunk very quickly.”

Alcohol affects almost all organs in the body.

There are more than sixty different disorders associated with alcohol use, including coronary heart disease; stroke; liver disease; stomach and pancreas disorders; depression; anxiety; sexual difficulties; muscle and heart muscle disease; high blood pressure and obesity – as alcohol has many calories.

Dr Rineke Schram, medical director at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “Festive get-togethers with friends and family mean many of us will be enjoying a drink or two.

“It is estimated that more than 70 per cent of admissions to our emergency department are alcohol-related, either in terms of patients who have been injured or suffered alcohol poisoning after binge-drinking, or those with symptoms of drink-related chronic illness.”

Safe limits for alcohol consumption are 14 units for a woman and 21 for a man over a week – but not if consumed over the course of one night.