When world events like a pandemic cause sudden changes in our lives, there are significant impacts out of our control. Stay at home orders, social distancing, and distance learning are all becoming the new normal. What does that mean for someone who is suffering from addiction during COVID-19?
These impacts don’t mean it’s impossible to start or continue receiving addiction treatment. Instead, it’s time to think about creative ways to achieve your recovery goals. Isolation and stress are critical factors in the development of or relapse back into addictive behaviors.
The Pandemic’s Impact on Addiction
During the pandemic, those who are misusing or abusing substances like alcohol or drugs are vulnerable. Social isolation, stress, and other factors causing significant life changes could lead to or worsen alcohol or drug use.
Addiction can progress quickly, especially when someone is in isolation. If someone is dealing with intense cravings, they must contact a professional. If possible, it’s a good idea to include a close friend or family member in the conversation. Prepare for the worst by asking about medication for treating symptoms, refill plans, and emergency service options.
Suffering From Addiction During a Global Crisis
Unfortunately, the pandemic hasn’t stopped or lessened addiction. Even though enforced social distancing makes it more challenging to obtain substances or participate in social use, these activities aren’t ceasing. Instead, the crisis is creating feelings of desperation regarding obtaining substances.
As a result of the world’s state, many suffer from boredom, isolation, and loneliness, contributing to many addictive behaviors. Mental and emotional issues seem to compound during situations like these, which could trigger many individuals to start using or relapse.
Tips for Maintaining Recovery During a Crisis
Life during a pandemic is overwhelming, particularly for those suffering from addiction. These feelings don’t have to derail addiction recovery. Here are some tips for maintaining recovery during a global crisis:
- Create routines: Maintaining structure is critical for those who are in recovery. Creating these routines helps prevent individuals from developing unhealthy coping skills.
- Daily reminders: Remember that this pandemic isn’t going to last forever. Reminders like that help people understand that, while this is challenging, it’s temporary.
- Maintain goals: Create a list of recovery goals and, next to each one, write about why it’s essential to keep up with them during these challenging times.
- Social distancing isn’t emotional distancing: Isolation causes significant issues for those in recovery. Even though it isn’t possible to make physical contact with anyone, maintaining a personal connection over the phone or through video chat is critical.
- Virtual support options: Support groups are available online, including Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and SMART Recovery meetings.
Stress and Addiction
People struggling with addiction also have anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. The news about COVID-19 constantly flowing into a person’s life can lead to feelings of anxiety, stress, and worry increasing.
Even though turning to substances can offer temporary relief, they cause changes in a person’s brain that causes them to feel worse. That’s why it’s critical to find healthy activities to help provide relief for anxiety, depression, and stress.
Tips for healthily relieving these feelings include:
- Calling a friend
- Reading a book
- Taking a break from the news
- Using relaxation apps on your phone or another device
- Watching a comedy
The Impact on Addiction Services
The pandemic is causing a significant strain on those who are seeking addiction treatment. Even though facilities might not be able to open, that doesn’t mean rehabilitation is stopping. The risk of alcohol poisoning or drug overdoses is higher during these uncertain times.
The good news is that many facilities are taking action. That means they’re offering addiction services online, in forums, and through telehealth services. As the coronavirus wears on, virtual meetings are becoming more accessible to those suffering from addiction.
Call Northern Illinois Recovery Center for Addiction Support
Just because there’s a pandemic, that doesn’t mean it isn’t possible to receive addiction support. No one should have to navigate through these issues, especially during COVID-19, without the best support. Call Northern Illinois Recovery Center at 855.786.1978 to learn more about how we can help.