Increase in numbers entering rehab in Essex linked to coronavirus crisis

PUBLISHED: 09:51 16 September 2020

More people have sought help for alcohol dependency in an Essex facility. Picture: Getty Images

More people have sought help for alcohol dependency in an Essex facility. Picture: Getty Images

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More alcoholics than ever before have admitted themselves into an Essex rehab during the four month peak of the coronavirus crisis.

Figures from the UK Addiction Treatment Group have revealed that between April 1 and August 1 this year, 80 percent of all admissions into UKAT’s Sanctuary Lodge facility in Halstead, Essex, were for alcohol addiction.

By comparison, during the same period last year, they admitted 209 clients, of which 134 – representing 64 percent of the total – were for alcohol addiction.

In the same four months this year, the same rehab admitted fewer clients overall, yet the percentage of those admitted for alcohol rose to 80 per cent – 114 of the 143 total – demonstrating the significant shift in people’s relationship with alcohol during the pandemic.

Sanctuary Lodge is a private provider that takes referrals from across the whole country, and individuals fund their own treatment.

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UKAT’s Group Head of Treatment, Nuno Albuquerque, said: “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 and devastating 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 crisis than they did before. Unfortunately, this also led to higher alcohol-related fatalities.

An Essex County Council spokesperson said: “An increase in people seeking treatment for excessive alcohol consumption during the Covid-19 pandemic is something that has been seen across the country.

“It is reassuring that individuals are recognising they may have an issue with alcohol and actively seeking help. “We would encourage anyone who may be struggling with alcohol consumption in Essex to find out more about the support available through Phoenix Futures by contacting 01376 316126 or emailing essex.arc@phoenixfutures.org.uk.”


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