Coronavirus lockdown 'led to alcohol relapse'

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Woman drinking - genericImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Charities helping those with alcohol problems fear there will be an increase in referrals when lockdown ends

A woman in alcoholism recovery has said the "lack of connection" caused by the coronavirus lockdown led to a relapse.

Grace, whose real name is not being used, said it came at the wrong time while she was still early in recovery.

Grace, who is from County Durham and in her 20s, said she found added pressure very difficult and resumed drinking, sometimes starting in the morning.

Charities have expressed concern a new wave of people may develop alcohol misuse issues during the pandemic.

'Jokes flying around'

Grace, who lives in the Darlington area, said: "There are different kinds of circumstances arising off the back of the virus.

"It was really painful... and there were a lot of jokes flying around online about alcoholism and drinking.

"[For me] was not just a little bit extra on a night, it was waking up on a morning and sinking the bottles in the house, then hiding them under the duvet in case someone came up and saw.

"When there's a lack of connection - it's difficult."

However, she has been back in recovery for a week.

"It's not the best situation to be in, but I think, with resources, that will improve", she said.

Research commissioned by Alcohol Change UK after lockdown began in March found while one in three of those surveyed had reduced how often they drank, or stopped entirely, 21% were drinking more frequently.

Jan Larkin, Turning Point's lead psychologist, described the data as an "interesting snapshot".

"It's risky for us to say everybody is drinking too much, but we do expect an increase in referrals as we continue to come out of lockdown, where people have developed more of a drinking problem."

She urged people to seek help if needed: "There is no threshold - anybody can refer themselves, drinking any amount that they see as problematic".

More from Grace can be heard in episode one of Unusual Times, available to listen to on BBC Sounds.

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