A mental health director has opened up about his struggle with alcoholism as Dry January comes to an end.

Colman Pyne, assistant clinical director at Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust (BEH), has opened up about his struggle with alcohol addiction and his attempts to change his life.

Mr Pyne, from near Cork in Ireland, said he remembers a mostly happy childhood but alcoholism had featured in his family through his father and sister, who has been in recovery for some years.

He experienced many relapses and tried to recover and stay well, but five years ago he knew he had to stop drinking after he began hallucinating on the tube after 12 hours drink-free.

In fear that he would have a withdrawal seizure, Mr Pyne made his way to the nearest pub and drank one drink after another, and realised he needed to get help.

He continued: "I’m not sure when I first realised drinking was becoming a problem but looking back I think I always had an unhealthy and dependent relationship with regards to alcohol.

"I didn’t recognise it at the time, but I probably spent a fair amount of time thinking about having a drink, or drinking situations."

"Drinking, then heavy drinking, and heading towards alcoholism, took the course of an insidious, progressive disease. It crept up slowly over the years and had a high cost in terms of health and sometimes relationships."

Mr Pyne, already a trained nurse, began working at the BEH in 2003 and although he has battled with alcoholism throughout that time, has never drank at work or allowed it to affect his work with patients.

He added: "At first I never talked about my condition openly because I was afraid of what people would think, and I was fearful of potential consequences.

"I had to talk eventually and I had to trust that sharing my vulnerability would help me recover and that family, friends and professionals would be there for me until I became well.

"I want to help breakdown the stigma that surrounds mental health and if me talking about my experience gives someone the courage to get help, then I am glad I have made a difference."

In the UK there were 8,758 alcohol-related deaths in 2015, and the mortality rates are highest among people aged 55-64.

In England there are an estimated 595,131 dependent drinkers, of whom only 108,696 are currently accessing treatment.

Mr Pyne now feels he is liberated from his condition and can appreciate life and all the things he lost while in the stages of "active alcoholism".

For anyone struggling with alcohol, visit the BEH, HAGA or Alcohol Concern websites.