UKAT alumni and Nuno Albuquerque discuss post-lockdown addiction concerns (ITV News Calendar)

While the majority of the public cling to their jobs and wonder if they will contract Coronavirus, ITV highlights a concerning statistic which contributes to Brits falling ill at the hands of another pandemic: addiction.

The news clip explains that supermarket alcohol sales have doubled since the lockdown began. Simon, who struggled with extreme binge drinking for 30 years, shares his insight. He reveals that he suffered an abusive relationship with alcohol, and multiple attempts to detox alone left him extremely ill. It wasn’t until finally seeking help at Oasis treatment centre that he was able to stay sober.

Free from the cravings, he is now mindful of the part the lockdown will play on the lives of others if they cannot seek treatment, and wants to spread awareness at this confusing time. He states: “Every day [in treatment] is structured. You’re doing cleaning jobs in there in the morning and then you’ve got recovery groups. You’re all together and supporting each other. Don’t sit at home thinking you can’t talk about this. There are a lot of mental health issues going on right now [which can] lead to addiction.”

Oasis reports that it’s seen a worrying spike in people reaching out about alcohol abuse. By monitoring the virus and taking extra precautions, UKAT’s treatment clinics all remain open and welcome those seeking help during the lockdown. However, due to uncertainty and economic unrest, Oasis fears that a large volume of those in need will be unsure how to access treatment and therefore go through detox alone – just like Simon.

He pleads: “Reach out to someone and talk about what’s going on in your head.”

Watch the video below to find out more:

Full video transcript:

[Host] As figures show alcohol sales have doubled during the three months of lockdown, a recovered addict from Bradford says he’s concerned people may be putting off getting help. Simon has struggled with extreme binge-drinking for three decades before being treated by the Oasis rehabilitation centre. Well, now he wants to encourage others to do the same, as Victoria Witham reports.

[Simon] I’ve had hallucinations, and fitting at times – it’s not good.

[Victoria Whittam] The last time Simon tried to go “cold turkey”, the 55-year-old from Bradford made himself very ill. For thirty years he’s battled with alcohol addiction but broke the cycle twelve months ago, thanks to the Oasis recovery centre.

[Simon] You’ve got that support network going on daily. You know – every day is structured, you’re doing cleaning jobs in there on the morning, then you’ve got your recovery groups. You do it all together and support each other, and that support continues when you leave.

[Victoria Whittam]A year after leaving the programme, Simon remains alcohol-free. But with supermarkets reporting a 50 per cent increase in alcohol sales in the last three months, he’s worried about the effect lockdown is having on addicts.

[Simon] Time’s on, and sometimes out of that time can come negative instances – gambling, online gambling, drinking, drug addiction. All forms of addiction start to rear their ugly heads.

[Victoria Whittam] UK Addiction Treatment centres, who run the rehabilitation facility in Bradford, say that they have seen a worrying spike in the number of people searching for online help with alcohol abuse, fearing there could be large numbers of people trying to cope with addiction alone.

[Nuno Albuquerque] It’s worrying to hear that people stock up alcohol, for example, at home. We know of people that have been at home not knowing that services like ours are open, and people will just postpone getting help. So, we only see the true impact of COVID-19 when we go back to normality, whatever normality’s going to be.

[Simon] We all settle on thinking “I can’t talk about this”. There are a lot of mental health issues going on for people right now. For some people, that could lead to addiction. Reach out to someone and just talk about what’s going on in your head.

[Victoria Whittam] Victoria Whittam, ITV News.