More alcoholics than ever before admitted themselves into rehab treatment facilities across the country during the four month peak Coronavirus crisis, figures from the UK Addiction Treatment Group have revealed.
The figures – discussed by ITV News this week in an exclusive two-part feature into alcohol addiction during the Covid-crisis – show how, between 1st April 2020 and 1st August 2020, a staggering 79% of all admissions into the seven UKAT residential rehab facilities were for alcohol addiction.
In comparison, in 2017, just 56% of all admissions were for alcohol addiction.
Further still, during the four month peak of the recent global pandemic, overall admissions into the UK Addiction Treatment Group facilities were lower than they were in the same four month period in 2019, yet the percentage of those who did check into rehab for alcohol addiction still outweighed the percentage admitted for alcohol addiction last year.
Between 1st April 2019 and 1st August 2019, UKAT admitted 982 clients into treatment, of which 720 were for alcohol addiction (73%).
In the same four months this year, UKAT has admitted fewer clients overall (828) but the percentage of those admitted for alcohol has risen since last year to 79% (652), demonstrating the significant shift in people’s relationship with alcohol during the Coronavirus crisis.
UKAT runs residential rehabilitation treatment facilities in Bradford, Runcorn, Luton, Essex, Guildford, Banbury and Worthing.
Each rehab admitted more alcoholics in for treatment in the four months of Covid compared to the same four months in 2019, except for at Primrose Lodge in Guildford.
A staggering 91% of Worthing’s Recovery Lighthouse clients were admitted for alcohol addiction between April and August this year, compared to just 88% in 2019.
In the North, 73% of all clients admitted into Oasis Recovery Bradford during the four month crisis were for alcohol addiction, compared to 67% of clients in the same four months of 2019. Similarly at Oasis Recovery in Runcorn, 72% of clients admitted were for alcohol addiction in 2020, compared to 68% of clients admitted during the same four months of 2019.
UKAT’s Group Head of Treatment, Nuno Albuquerque, explains why admissions for alcohol addiction have been so proportionally high in recent months;
“The Coronavirus crisis has affected people in different ways. For some, a way of coping with the pandemic would have been to turn to alcohol, or to drink more alcohol than they did previously in order to feel calm about the unfolding situation happening across the world.
“But it’s important to remember that alcohol is a depressant and regular, heavy drinking interferes with chemicals in the brain that are key for good mental health. Feeling relaxed after a drink is short-lived, whereas over time, alcohol can have an impact on your mental health and can contribute to feelings of depression and anxiety and worse still, it actually makes stressful situations like the Covid-crisis harder to deal with.”
It has been widely reported that more and more people living in the UK consumed more alcohol during the Covid-crisis than they did before. Unfortunately, this also led to higher alcohol-related fatalities. Being in lockdown and being isolated can contribute to people developing unhealthy relationships with alcohol.
“The last few months have forced people into isolation and to contemplate their lives. For some, drinking heavily was a way of suppressing feelings of worry, loneliness and fear, but for others, it was a time to reflect and to ask themselves if continuing to drink was the right thing for them. Thankfully, those people decided that enough was enough, and we’re seeing more and more people take that first brave step in investing in their health in order to protect their future, and asking for help with their alcohol addiction.”
For the signs and symptoms of alcohol addiction, and how to get help, click here.