COVID-19 was an unexpected illness that we’ve all had to deal with in a myriad of ways. Even those who don’t have first- or second-hand experience with the sickness itself may have serious issues in their lives due to the virus. Across the nation, emergency actions to contain the virus lead to significant upheavals in work life, school, and personal relations. From job loss to homelessness and substance abuse disorders, there are many symptoms of the larger issue of the virus running rampant through America.
COVID and addiction are linked to the higher risk of developing a substance use disorder when under stress. Substance abuse and COVID have been linked to higher rates of overdose and greater drug use among some people during the pandemic.
How Does COVID Influence Substance Abuse?
COVID influences people who have a substance use disorder in a few ways. Namely, people who have a SUD are:
- More likely to catch COVID than those who do not have a substance use disorder
- More likely to need to be hospitalized or to die from COVID after catching it
- At the risk of taking greater risks that expose them to the virus
People who did not have a SUD in the past but who lost their jobs became homeless or were stressed may also have turned to alcohol or drugs to cope with the added stress of the pandemic on top of their other responsibilities. Since COVID shut down or limited many services, the isolation it caused also increased the susceptibility to substance abuse, relapse, and addiction.
Substance abuse negatively influences the immune system. It can increase the risk of contracting COVID and make it more likely to have complications from the disease.
Substance Abuse and COVID Restrictions
The isolation caused by COVID restrictions around the country did play a role in the increase in substance use disorders seen in hospitals and clinics. The reasons for this are twofold. First, people with substance use disorders may not have been able to get in to see therapists or medical providers as easily, so they may have found themselves suddenly without the protective social and medical supports they had in the past.
The other issue is that the isolation of COVID-19 caused many to cope with alcohol or drugs to manage to be alone for longer periods of time. Those in the quarantine may use more regularly or more heavily than they’re used to since they don’t have people around them to catch a relapse or to stop them.
That being said, telehealth has made a significant dent in this issue by allowing providers to contact their clients at home. This opened up a new way for many patients to see a therapist or medical professional from home, even though they might otherwise not be able to come into the office. More regular virtual visits were seen in the second half of 2020 as more offices adjusted to the need for telehealth services.
COVID itself doesn’t cause substance abuse, but the side effects of a major pandemic can cause substance use disorders or make them worse. All people must know that help is available if they find themselves struggling.
Contact Compass Detox for Help with Substance Abuse and COVID
If you or someone you love have struggled during COVID due to the isolation of the pandemic or because of a substance use disorder, you’re not alone. Many people are going through the same thing as you, and it’s important to know that there is help available. At Compass Detox, we’re here to help you reach a place of better mental health and sobriety. Call us today at 855.526.4915, or contact us online to learn more about our services and how we can help.