Dry-out clinics expecting an end-of-summer rush

Rehab centres in Finland are bracing themselves for an increased workload next month, as summer drinkers attempt to dry out before returning to work. Substance abuse treatment clinics across the country say the hot weather has encouraged many Finns to drink to excess, and some will be needing help before returning to reality.

According to Pekka Heinala, medical director of the A-Clinic Foundation, rehab centres are currently experiencing the lull before the storm, as the continuing hot weather is delaying the rush for treatment. The boom is expected in mid-August, when Heinala believes many patients will be in worse shape than in previous years.

“This kind of unusually warm summer causes special problems for those who are alcohol dependent and suffer from dehydration already,” said Heinala in a report by YLE. “Last year many local governments carried out budget savings by closing rehabs for the summer, and help then was not immediately available. It was learned the hard way that those savings were not worthwhile,” she added.

Serious cases of dehydration will have to be referred to hospitals or health centres, but this year Finland’s first-stop clinics have been open all summer to deal with the increase in drinking. Drug dependency, however, does not seem to be affected by the seasons in the same way as alcohol abuse.

“More employed people than usual, whose lives seem otherwise alright, seek treatment,” said Heinala. “They keep their drinking under control as long as work and daily routines are in place.”