The Impact of the Pandemic on Problem Drinking
The rise of functioning alcoholism
A recent survey commissioned by Help Me Stop has found that an increasing number of people have admitted that they have a ‘complicated’ relationship with alcohol. Speaking to ITV News, Help Me Stop staff and clients spoke out about ‘functioning alcoholism’, a phase of alcohol addiction where work, family life and other commitments may still be maintained, despite significant emotional, mental and physical strain.
Speaking to ITV, Help Me Stop’s Director of Admissions, Chris Love, explained, ‘There is a perception amongst problem drinkers that because they are still going to work, they’re still managing to pay the bills and they’re still sleeping in the big bed at home, that everything is okay. The reality, however, is fundamentally different.’
Several charities have said that more people are coming to them because they are drinking too much, than before the pandemic began. Charities are warning that so-called ‘functioning alcoholics‘ – people who can still hold down day-to-day jobs and family responsibilities but are dependent on drinking – are putting their bodies at risk, as they have a higher alcohol tolerance, meaning they could be doing unknown damage to their liver.
Ruth Bradford, from the charity Forward Leeds, said, ‘We’ve seen an increase with higher-risk drinkers, as we would define it, and they come along with a lot more complexities. Within the nature of the alcohol use, and these alcohol users, we would say about one-fifth of the service users within our treatment service at the moment would fit in the criteria of higher risk drinkers who are working 20 plus hours more a week.’
Accessible Alcohol Addiction Treatment at Help Me Stop
One of the strategies being employed to help people is Help Me Stop’s Dayhab programme in London, as well as our Digital Dayhab available online. This is the leading alternative in the UK to residential rehab and it’s up to one tenth of the cost. Dayhab is also much more accessible for working people, parents and people who cannot take weeks or months away from home – but whose problematic drinking does need specialist rehabilitation.
Param Singh works at Help Me Stop. Param said, ‘Part of the work we do is group work, which allows them to see, even though they feel like they may be very different from other people, that a lot of the core stuff they’re going through, they’re not alone with.’
Retired police officer David has successfully completed the Help Me Stop programme. David was drinking 12 bottles of wine a week whilst working full time, sometimes double that. ‘The problem with alcoholism is you don’t know when to stop. You don’t want to stop,’ he said.
Contact Help Me Stop to find out about the UK’s leading alternative to residential rehab, our Dayhab and Digital Dayhab programmes for people with alcohol addiction and/or drug addiction. You can call 0208 191 9191 in complete confidence, message us via live chat or fill out our short contact form and we’ll get back to you.