ALCOHOL misuse has shown a worrying increase during lockdown, it has been revealed.

This year, referrals to Inclusion Isle of Wight, the service that tries to tackle drink and substance problems, have almost doubled over last year.

Now, at the end of Alcohol Awareness Week, the service has issued a call for people not to ignore the signs and to seek help from them.

People having less to do and with time and money on their hands during lockdowns and furloughs have led to them drinking more, starting earlier in the day and not controlling their intake.

Tony Burkitt, volunteer co-ordinator with the service, said they were seeing people who feared breakdowns of relationships and who were struggling once they got back into work after furlough.

He said: "It has been a strange time and people have used alcohol as a coping device.

"We use drink for all sorts of reasons, sometimes when we are happy and sometimes when we are sad or stressed.

"People are thinking it is OK to drink a bottle of wine every night but it isn't...that is 70 units of alcohol a week and the recommended intake is 14 units."

Inclusion IW is asking people to become more aware and contact them if they are worried.

They are seeing far more referrals but they have opened up new pathways to getting help including six-session courses which can help people who are concerned about their drinking.

They have also been posting helpful videos on Twitter at @inclusioniow

If you think you have a problem with drink or would just like some advice contact inclusioniow on 01983 526654 Monday to Saturday 9 to 5 or e-mail