Families in Lockdown: The Effects of the COVID-19 Lockdown on the Family and Friends of Someone with an Alcohol, Drug or Gambling Problem

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In April, 241 people coping with a friend or family member’s alcohol, drug or gambling problem responded to an online survey by Adfam which sought to understand how some of their usual daily challenges associated with addiction- fear, domestic abuse, isolation, loneliness and mental stress – might be being further exacerbated by COVID-19 and the lockdown measures imposed from March 2020.

The survey also asked family members and friends about what kind of support they would benefit from going forwards.

Key findings include

  • 88% of respondents said their loved one’s drug alcohol or gambling problem had been negatively impacted by the lockdown
  • 85% of respondents said the lockdown is making it harder for them to cope with their loved one’s drug, alcohol or gambling problem
  • Lockdown is having a negative impact on the mental health of both the friends and family (50%) and of their loved one with a drug, alcohol or gambling problem (61%).
  • Nearly a third (28%) of respondents are experiencing an increase in verbal abuse from their family member and 13% feel more concerned than usual for their safety.
  • 78% said additional support would help them to cope- including the opportunity to talk to a trainer counsellor online (47%), the opportunity to talk to others facing similar problems via an online forum (38%) and a telephone helpline (30%).
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