Coronavirus has changed the landscape of how we live. Many of us are working from home for the foreseeable future. Those venturing into offices and places of employment are doing so with ample safety precautions that limit person-to-person interactions. Even when we venture to the grocery store, our faces are covered. Together, these things, necessary as they are, make it easier than ever to hide addictions.
As we, as a nation, mitigate COVID-19 and work toward a cure for this novel virus, we may be inadvertently giving other diseases a leg up: substance use disorder and alcohol use disorder.
The Overlooked Impact of Isolation
Isolation and social distancing can be hard on anyone, but this is especially true for those in recovery from substance use disorder and alcohol use disorder.
Studies and surveys are finding a significant increase in rates of depression and substance abuse. A study by Well Being Trust, a national public health group, estimates “as many as 75,000 more people will die from drug or alcohol misuse and suicide” due to the pandemic.
The pressure of simply existing during a pandemic is compounding. According to Well Being Trust, there are 3 main factors leading to this increase:
- unprecedented economic failure paired with massive unemployment,
- mandated social isolation for months and possible residual isolation for years
- uncertainty caused by the sudden emergence of a novel, previously unknown microbe.
This same study also noted that deaths from drug overdose also rose with the Great Depression.
Relapse Rates Are Going Up
Many addiction treatment centers are experiencing an increase in the number of relapses among patients who have not used street drugs in years.
Without having to see co-workers, friends, and family face-to-face, hangovers and withdrawal symptoms are easier to hide; relapse is easier to hide. The safety net that comes with participating in society and seeing others daily is gone. It is much easier now to hide away and succumb to the pressures of living during a pandemic; to turn to your old source of comfort.
Don’t turn to your previous coping mechanisms. You can maintain recovery during COVID-19. If you are feeling isolated, you are not alone. If you feel a sense of relief that you are better able to hide the outward manifestations of your drinking or drugging, this is a sign that you are in a dangerous and precarious position. Please seek help.
Treatment During COVID-19 at Coleman Network
For many, the pandemic is serving as the perfect time to address their addictions. We have treated dozens of patients during the pandemic who have made the choice to detox with us at the Coleman Network.
Again, if you feel that you are hiding, we welcome you without judgment and with open arms. Please contact us if you have questions about our unique treatments for opioid and alcohol dependence or schedule a callback below.
Deborah Reich, MD