Savannah therapy center says more people turning to alcohol to cope with stress, anxiety during pandemic

Savannah therapy center says more people turning to alcohol to cope with stress, anxiety during pand

Savannah, Ga. (WTOC) -Some addiction treatment centers have seen an uptick in new clients amid the pandemic, with people turning to alcohol to cope with stress and anxiety. Some have also seen clients relapse during this time.

Therapist counselor Minna Betancourt says since the pandemic started not only have they seen clients they normally wouldn’t see due to boredom, isolation, and stress, but they have also seen some of their current clients slip back into addiction.

“If you see social media, everybody has a drink or something and everybody is talking about it like a joke," says Minna Betancourt, a counselor at New Day therapist. "But guess what, the fact is that the process of addiction is not an overnight thing. It takes a while and people don’t understand you are cool by drinking until you stop being cool and then you’re a drunk.”

She says while many people joke about drinking to get through this hard time, it’s really no laughing matter for others.

“We had a lot of people that have come nowadays asking for assessment because they are concerned about their drinking habits that have hiked since during this pandemic being on lockdown and being stressed out,” she says.

Betancourt says with liquor stores also remaining open they have had to work extra hard to provide services to their clients.

"It's normal for you to go and start drinking because guess what no better friend than a bottle it doesn't judge you, it doesn't criticize you, it doesn't do anything, it waits for you so it's understandable that people go there just to lessen the emotional issues of this pandemic."

She says they tried to provide virtual services, but when it comes to an addiction face to face human interaction is critical and their clients needed somewhere to go and not turn back to their addiction.

"They felt at home when they came to group and it was their only minute of socialization with people that understood what they were going through."

Betancourt says they see clients from 19 to 65-years-old. Anyone in need of their services can call at any time. She says they clean the facility four times a week and masks are required

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