MORE Huddersfield young people than ever before are coming forward seeking help with drink problems.

And some as young as 23 are already showing signs of liver damage.

The effects of binge-drinking is also becoming more apparent in Kirklees, according to an alcohol counsellor.

The shocking insight was revealed by Alan Walker, director of Alcohol Support Kirklees.

He said: “I am working with people in their early 20s who already have big problems. They will have been drinking to excess for five to ten years.

“They are drinking to escape their problems but as time goes by they will become physically addicted.

“The binge-drinking culture has had a big effect in this country. People don’t go out to have a drink, they go out to get smashed.

“I am now seeing more women too who are beginning to have liver problems.

“The growing health problem in the UK is liver disease.

“Whether it is continuous or binge-drinking, the effect on the body of having large amounts of alcohol over time is just the same.”

Alan, a reformed alcoholic himself, set-up the support service in 2004.

“My personal relationships were going downhill and I was beginning to lose my memory, which can be one of the consequences of long-term drinking,” he said.

“It frightened me into doing something and I haven’t had a drink now for 15 years. It proves people can change.

“But everyone has their changing moment. It is different for everyone.”

He now deals with 300 people a year through the service, which also refers people to Kirklees Advisory Service.

Alan counsels people by phone and also carries out home visits to help people recognise their problems.

He added: “I get a lot of people calling up who are affected by others drinking and need to know how to handle them.

“If I can get to people at a time when they realise something is wrong but they are in denial, I can convert them into doing something about it.”

He said the full effects of long-term drinking usually hit men between the ages of 50 to 55 and women in their 40s.

“Women’s livers are smaller and there are fewer enzymes to break down the alcohol in women’s bodies so we see the effects on the liver much earlier,” he explained.

“They are literally pouring more alcohol into a smaller system and it isn’t able to cope.

“It is hard to tell by looking at someone but they often have red skin, high blood pressure and digestive problems.

“People use alcohol to escape from what they perceive are problems.

“It is all a belief system and they don’t want to give up the thing they think is supporting them.

“But I can identify with them. It really is a no blame, no shame atmosphere.”

For more information call Alan on 01484 559222 or visit .