Relate calls expected to soar as drugs put strain on relationships at Christmas

Drugs and alcohol wreaking havoc in relationships over Christmas is among issues that will lead to a busy January for counselling services.

The number of troubled couples seeking help from counsellors at Relate is expected to soar in the new year as relationship problems intensify over the festive season.

Communication was the biggest problem for couples in 2017, with 79% of Relate clients saying it causes difficulty in their relationship, while 13% said alcohol or drugs were an issue.

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The counselling service, which has responses from more than 12,000 clients about what causes tensions, said there is not much difference between older people and younger people when it comes to drugs and alcohol.

The peak is in the 45-49 age range where 15% cited it as an issue.

Counsellor Rachel Davies said: “At Relate, we see in the counselling room every day the negative impact that drugs and alcohol can have on relationships.

“Every January we receive a peak in calls after tensions caused by issues including drugs and alcohol come to a head over Christmas and we’re expecting this new year to be no different.

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“The cases we see at Relate are increasingly complex and often substance misuse will go hand-in-hand with other factors such as mental health issues, money worries, insecure housing and unemployment.

People will often turn to drugs or alcohol to ‘cope’ when in reality misusing them can place additional strain on relationships, leading to more heated arguments, feelings of guilt, and shame and negative outcomes for children.”

Other issues causing problems for Relate clients in 2017 were money worries, sex life difficulties, disagreements about parenting and mental health problems.

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