Addiction services in England may struggle to cope with the “increasing” number of people abusing alcohol, the Royal College of Psychiatrists is warning.
Many adults have been drinking more alcohol since the data show began.
The college estimates that in June, more than 8.4m people in England were drinking at high-risk levels, up from 4.8m in February.
It added that deep cuts associated with drug addiction could mean that patients would miss life-saving care.
- ‘I became an alcoholic during lockdown’
- ‘Prevent harmful lockout by drinking’
The rise of risky drinking comes at a time when more people addicted to opiates seek help from drug services, the college says 3,459 new adult cases in April, citing data from the National Drug Treatment Monitoring System Are visible – 2,947 to 20% in the same month last year.
- Check how much you are drinking
The guidelines advise people not to drink more than 14 units of wine (the equivalent of six large glasses of wine or six pints of beer) for three days or more in a week.
Drinking too much can damage your liver and increase your risk of other health conditions such as heart disease and stroke.
People with alcohol use disorder are likely to develop serious complications if they catch Kovid-19.
The college is asking the government to invest millions more in drug services.
Prof. Julia Sinclair, president of the college’s Addictive Faculty, said: “Kovid-19 has shown how strained, under-resuscitated and ill-equipped addiction services are to treat the growing number of vulnerable people living with complex illness.
“There are now only five NHS inpatient units in the country, and nowhere in my region is there a resource to accept people who are dependent on alcohol with co-existing mental illness.
“Drug-related deaths and alcohol-related hospital admissions were at an all-time high before Kovid-19. I fear we will see a rapid increase in these numbers until the government works quickly.”
Laura Bunt from Drug, Alcohol and Mental Health Donations We Are With You: “Social isolation and the lack of a human connection is a big factor behind how some people turn to alcohol as a coping mechanism, so clearly epidemic Persistence is indeed difficult for many people.
“When you consider that Britain had some of the highest alcohol-related levels in Europe before its closure in March, the need for government action is now clear.”
If you are worried about addiction, BBC Action Line There is help and support.