Irish Addiction Services see a major increase in demand since Christmas 2020/1
Smarmore Castle is an addiction treatment centre about 45 minutes north of Dublin. This means we are on the frontline coping with addiction problems here in Ireland.
With many of us stuck in our homes since early 2020, life has inevitably become harder. A lot of callers to Smarmore experienced at least some difficulty accessing drugs during the pandemic and as a result, some reported buying larger quantities online or from a different dealer, in a sense stockpiling.
Being at home and working with the family around suites some people. But as lockdown has dragged for a lot of people, it is becoming more and more stressful, especially combined with redundancies, less work and less money.
Problems that have been swept under the carpet rear their ugly heads when the whole family is stuck indoors together over a long period. Turning to alcohol or drugs is an understandable response to stress.
For many others being stuck at home has lead to increases in anxiety, depression and drug and alcohol addiction issues.
As a result, HSE and private addiction services in Ireland have experienced a surge in the number of people contacting them concerning drug and alcohol abuse. These include Drugs.ie and Askaboutalcohol.ie, these are HSE websites with information about drug and alcohol addiction services.
Does this mean that more people have turned to alcohol and drugs during the pandemic? Or has their addiction grown so much worse that hiding it from those closest to them has become that much harder?
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Evidence suggests that alcohol dependency and drug abuse has been rising steadily over the last few years and it is predicted that COVID-19 is going to have a significant impact on the overall cases.
- 7,500 cases of problem alcohol use treated in Ireland in 2019, HRB (This is predicted to rise to over 10,000 in 2020)
- Close to 70% of all cases classed users as “alcohol dependent”
- The number of people in employment experiencing alcohol addiction has risen
The impact of COVID-19
In the Journal, HRB senior researcher Dr Suzi Lyons said that this has been an “unprecedented year”.
She expands that the Irish population is expected to significantly turn to alcohol and substance abuse to cope with this unprecedented crisis. Merchants Quay Ireland a homeless detox centre in Dublin states an 11% increase in people seeking help with their mental health.
According to The Journal, the average daily number of units being consumed by women presenting for treatment was 15, compared to 20 for men. This is considerably more in a day than the HSE “low risk” guidelines advice for a week’s consumption.
Women, Covid and addiction
It is often quoted that Irish women in particular are the hardest drinkers in Europe. Why do Irish women drink? And why to potentially fatal levels.
As far as alcohol consumption, Ireland is ranked 7th in the countries with the heaviest drinkers:
- Czech Republic
Smarmore Castle Private Clinic is a 22-bed addiction treatment facility located in County Louth. For more on treating women with addiction click here.
We have seen a noticeable increase in the numbers of recent admissions. Perhaps one of the reasons for this is that it is much harder to hide an addiction and the negative behaviours that surround this type of illness when stuck at home.
This has meant that the pandemic has brought alcohol and drug addiction to the forefront. Combined with stress and worry about the future, addiction problems have got worse, never better.
A worrying trend
Several of our private drug and alcohol facilities across the UK and beyond have also seen an increase in demand for their services, as HSE waiting lists grow longer and it becomes increasingly difficult to access support immediately.
One of every five cases of alcohol dependency included additional substance misuse, such as cannabis, MDMA, crack and cocaine addiction. Perhaps up to 70% of all addicts admitted into hospital in Ireland had a dual diagnosis, ie they suffered from addiction and a mental health disorder.
The nature of addiction is isolation
Conversations with those battling addiction issues tell us that those increasing their drug use, for example, has been a combined result of anxiety related to the fear, worry and concern about the pandemic, as well as boredom brought about through continued lockdowns.
On top of this, we have found that time at home for many has had negative impacts on both physical and mental health. Financial circumstances have changed, adding extra stress and worry alongside family relationships becoming increasingly strained.
Getting help has been very hard
The process to enter private rehab has always been relatively straightforward. Pursuing free rehab options in Ireland via the HSE route, however, has always been a bit of a struggle that requires persistence, and the pandemic has undoubtedly made this harder as waiting lists grow longer.
With the HSE being under huge amounts of strain and pressure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many charity run rehabs decided to close their doors.
Smarmore Castle was one of the few rehabs that remained open even if we have had to limit their services to adhere to social distancing guidelines, which have meant the number of beds offered has been reduced. We are a family-run clinic in Ireland, which specialises in addiction.
- How this will affect the severity and magnitude of alcohol and drug addictions in a post-pandemic world is yet to be determined.
It is expected, however, that many more people will be battling addiction issues after when compared to pre-pandemic levels. Also, there is an expectation that existing addicts will have increased their substance abuse and will likely require urgent care to reverse the effects of alcoholism and drug addiction.
Find your place
Here at Smarmore, we are lucky to be located in a large castle with a substantial amount of beds and space. View brochure.
If you need to engage in a managed detox or rehab program, you can rely on us and our medically-trained staff. Throughout the pandemic, we have continued to do everything in our power to treat our visitors safely and to continue to educate our audiences about the dangers of addiction.
If you are struggling, or know someone who is and would like a free addiction assessment with a medical professional to get you started, we’re here. Contact us today – we’re available 24/7. Call Us Now: +353 41 214 5111
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