The Telegraph reported last week that the number of patients admitted to Kettering General Hospital with clinical conditions ranging from alcohol poisoning to alcohol-related liver disease, cardiomyopathy and chronic pancreatitis has gone up from 542 in 2005/06 to 988 in 2008/09.
Experts believe that these increases are linked to the effects of the recession, and that it will get worse before it gets better as economic hardship increases for certain vulnerable groups.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Dr Arun Dhandayudham, clinical director of Northamptonshire Drug and Alcohol Service, said: "There has been an increase in alcohol referrals. We have seen a lot of builders and estate agents, the ones who have been worst hit by the recession.
"With drugs, especially heroin, it takes longer to come through. We may well see an increase later."
The Telegraph also reports that Terry Bogg, director of adult services at Can, which helps people with drug or alcohol abuse problems, warned it will be years before the true effects of the recession are shown.
He said: "People will drink problematically for four or five years before they get into trouble and seek treatment.
"The problem is massive and it's getting bigger all of the time. Unless we put in some proper action we are heading to a very, very serious problem."