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Home > Families in lockdown. The effects of the COVID-19 lockdown on the family and friends of someone with an alcohol, drugs or gambling problem.

Adfam. (2020) Families in lockdown. The effects of the COVID-19 lockdown on the family and friends of someone with an alcohol, drugs or gambling problem. London: Adfam. 30 p.

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In April 2020, 241 people coping with a friend or family member’s alcohol, drug or gambling problem responded to an online survey by Adfam UK.

 

The impact of lockdown on those with an alcohol, drug or gambling problem

  • 88% of respondents said the lockdown is negatively impacting on their family member’s alcohol, drug or gambling problem.
  • Nearly half (42%) said that their family member’s alcohol or drug use, or gambling has increased during lockdown.
  • Nearly a third (28%) said that their loved one has relapsed, or their recovery is at risk, because of lockdown.
  • A fifth (23%) said their loved one was becoming more physically unwell during lockdown.

 

Lockdown is making it harder for friends and family to cope

  • 85% said that the lockdown is making it harder for them to be able to cope with their loved one’s alcohol, drug or gambling problem.
  • This means 4.25 million of us might be suffering a serious “triple whammy” effect, coping with the impact of COVID-19, the lockdown and a family member’s alcohol or drug use, or gambling.

 

Lockdown is having a negative impact on mental health

  • Almost two thirds (61%) of survey respondents said that the lockdown is negatively impacting the mental health of their family member.
  • Half (50%) said the lockdown has impacted negatively on their own mental health.

 

Lockdown is making it much harder for people to get support

  • Nearly a third (28%) of respondents said their family member is now unable to access support services for their drug, alcohol or gambling problem.
  • A quarter (24%) said that the lockdown means they are finding it harder to keep in touch with friends and family that usually support them and 16% can’t now access the services that they usually use to cope themselves.

 

People are experiencing an increase in verbal and physical abuse during lockdown

  • Nearly a third (28%) of respondents said that as a result of lockdown they are experiencing more verbal abuse than usual from their family member.
  • 4% are experiencing more physical abuse during lockdown.
  • 13% of people feel more concerned than usual for their safety. People need additional support to help them to cope during lockdown
  • Just over three-quarters (78%) said additional support would help them to cope during lockdown.
  • When asked what kind of support, the most popular answers were: the opportunity to talk to a trained counsellor online (47%), an online forum to talk to people who face similar problems (38%), practical information relating to their specific situation (38%) and a telephone helpline (30%)

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