Coping with Addiction During COVID-19
With recent developments of the effects of COVID-19 on our communities and lives, now more than ever we must remember the importance of self-care and how to manage the stress of this new way of life.
The reality is that long before this pandemic, many people’s lives were already impacted by poverty and chaos. For those suffering from a substance use disorder or mental illness, this new reality may make the experience of isolation more intense and less manageable. If you are an individual familiar with this scenario, please understand you are not alone in this and there are resources available for you.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), there are several reactions that are typical of individuals to experience during a time of uncertainty:
• Anxiety, worry, or fear related to the health of yourself or loved ones
• Symptoms of depression such as hopelessness, sadness, loss of interest, etc
• Financial challenges/stress
• Boredom and frustration
• Desire to self-medicate feelings with drugs or alcohol
If you are a person who is in recovery or currently struggling with sobriety, you may know what it feels like to experience these on a regular basis. Understand these are normal feelings and reactions to have and you are not alone in these emotions. According to SAMHSA, the following activities are effective and practical ways to relax during social isolation:
• Take deep breaths, stretch, meditate, or pray often to relax your body
• Pace yourself when doing activities which are stressful
• Do something fun after a hard task
• Everyone may be feeling similar emotions – talk about them
• Write about things you are grateful for in a journal
• Attend an online recovery meeting
Many outpatient-treatment programs and recovery meetings have transitioned to virtual group meetings to accommodate social distancing standards and the “Shelter-in-Place” order by the governor.
Below you can find links, which SAMHSA.gov has posted, to find resources for online programs and meetings in order to stay connected to a recovery community during this time.
During these times of isolation and social distancing, we may feel a sense of never-ending hopelessness, uncertainty, or frustration. Please know your feelings are valid and you are not alone. Reach out to people and stay connected in a responsible way, and ask for help before it becomes unmanageable.