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Royal College of Psychiatrists show drinking has nearly doubled since lockdown

Coronavirus alcohol drinking home

High-risk drinking has nearly doubled since lockdown, reports the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and addiction services are in desperate need of funding. Castle Craig’s data supports this, with website visitors more than doubling, a record number of daily enquiries to our Help Desk, and a rising number of enquiries about the Castle Telehealth online addiction therapy programme.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists today issued a statement after analysing data from Public Health England which shows that the rate of people in England drinking “high risk” amounts of alcohol has almost doubled at 19% in June, up from 10.8% in February 2020. They called for more funding from the government for addiction services in the UK.

Reflecting these findings, the number of people looking into addiction and addiction help on the Castle Craig website from June – September 2020 was more than double the number who did the same a year ago (an increase of 118.6%), with this rate increasing week-by-week. There has been a resultant increase in daily enquiries about residential addiction help as well as teletherapy – remote treatment for addiction which people can complete from their home – which has become an increasing popular way to treat addiction problems.

NHS guidelines advise people drink no more than 14 units of alcohol (equivalent to six large glasses of wine or six pints of beer) a week, spreading consumption over three days or more.

UK news outlets today are reporting the warning from The Royal College of Psychiatrists that many more people are drinking large amounts of alcohol since lockdown. Addiction clinics and services in England could struggle to cope with “soaring” numbers of people misusing alcohol. 

Drinking too much can lead to addiction and damage your liver as well as increasing the risk of other health conditions such as heart disease and stroke. These medical complications also increase the risk of further complications if a person should catch coronavirus.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists says that deep cuts made to addiction services could mean patients will miss out on life-saving care.

Dr Adrian James, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists is quoted in The Guardian saying that “Addiction services have been starved of funding in recent years meaning many are not able to treat and care for the huge numbers of people who are drinking at high risk.”

Victoria McCann, Senior Communications Manager at Castle Craig has said that “NHS referrals to residential rehab in Scotland are at an all time low. Castle Craig’s own admissions figures show that in 2019 only 5 patients were granted funding from the NHS. Our enquiries at Castle Craig are at an all time high and we currently have a waiting list. More is needed to be done to get people the help they desperately need at this time.”

Castle Craig currently has a waiting list of patients, partly due to restrictions on the amount of patients we can admit weekly due to our Coronavirus prevention measures which include a specially dedicated admissions unit and a social distancing policy. We are Covid-19 free and have been admitting patients during the Coronavirus pandemic.