Table of Contents

Did you know that about 165 million or 60.2 percent of Americans 12 years old or older use drugs within the last 30 days? This number includes all types of drugs, including alcohol and tobacco abuse!

Covid became a national emergency in March 2020. Since then, we have seen an increase in the use of drugs and overdoses in the United States. As a result, Covid and addiction have become a severe problem. The Covid pandemic has also brought specific issues for people with substance abuse disorders and in recovery.

People who have substance use disorders (SUD) are more likely to get Covid and have worse Covid consequences, like a greater risk of hospitalization and death.

It was hard enough to fight the widespread addiction epidemic on its own. The effects of coronavirus have made it even more challenging to fight off the addiction illness. So let’s look at how covid and addiction have changed the country’s addiction problem?

How Has The Pandemic Affected Substance Abuse?

There has to be a degree of caution not to think that the pandemic is the only reason people are taking more drugs. Changes in accessibility may also be to blame for the rise in opioid deaths. However, this isn’t the only reason. For example,  if heroin is hard to find, someone might consider taking fentanyl, which is a lot stronger than heroin.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many parts of daily life, and many people are still having trouble adapting. The effects of Covid can make people feel stressed, afraid, isolated, and sad. In addition, endless people have reported heightened stress or poor mental health due to the difficulties of dealing with the epidemic. 

To help prevent the transmission of COVID-19, safety steps such as quarantining or social isolation were put in place. Nonetheless, the procedure might make people feel lonely or aggravate pre-existing mental health disorders.

For many people, these feelings of loneliness, anxiety, or depression make them choose to self-medicate. In addition, people may use drugs or alcohol to help them feel better about themselves and the situation they find themselves in.

The Pandemic's Psychological Effects

COVID-19 and anxiety have a strong association. Since the pandemic outbreak, many people have reported a worsening of their symptoms. Anxiety and despair are on the rise due to the coronavirus epidemic. Many people have been put under additional stress due to Covid and the following cultural and economic developments.

This has been hard for many people because of the new restrictions. These restrictions have made them feel isolated as we keep socially distancing to help stop the spread of the virus. COVID-19 causes a lot of mental health problems and emotions. Let’s look at a few:

Anxiety and Stress

Learning to manage stress more healthily can make you, your loved ones, and others around you stronger. Stress can cause the following:

Depression

Covid is causing depression in many people. Because the epidemic has disturbed daily routines and everyday life, many individuals feel sad or depressed.

The Covid epidemic has probably impacted your work habits, whether you work from home or not. Anxiety and fear about this pandemic can be too much for some people, and workplace stress can cause burnout.  In the end, how you deal with these emotions and anxiety can impact your well-being, the well-being of the people in your life, work, and your community. 

During this pandemic, you must know what stress looks like, how to build your strength and manage job stress, and where to get help when you need it.

Recognize the signs of stress you might be feeling:

If you feel any of the above overwhelming feelings, it’s a good idea to seek professional help. Recognize the general work-related issues contributing to depression and stress during a pandemic.

Feelings of Isolation

It’s known that social distancing and isolating are important and effective ways to keep people safe during the Covid pandemic. These restrictions, however, can make many people feel isolated. In addition, people may feel lonely or isolated if they don’t spend time with friends, family, and the community as a whole.

With change comes problems, such as maintaining relationships with family, friends, coworkers, and other acquaintances. It’s normal to feel isolated at times, and you shouldn’t blame yourself for it. Remember that loneliness and bad feelings pass.

Let’s look at some tips to deal with these feelings. Things work differently for everyone, so determine what works for you and get further help if you need it.

It would be best if you explored ways to be more social. For example, you may try texting old friends or coworkers on social media. Alternatively, you could text someone you haven’t spoken to in a long time if you haven’t seen them in a while.

If you like to communicate with some people simultaneously, you could set up a group on WhatsApp or Messenger to chat. Then, when you’re feeling lonely, it can be easier to reach out to others.

Hopelessness

It is natural for some people to feel hopeless at a challenging moment in their lives. This is amplified during the Covid epidemic. People may find it easy to dwell on the harsh elements of life and wonder when things will return to normal.

The ability to communicate your sentiments with others will relieve depression and loneliness. Hearing a familiar voice or seeing a pleasant face makes us feel less hopeless. Remember that many people on social media only discuss the beautiful things that happen to them, so avoid comparing yourself to anybody else.

The Connection Between Mental Illness, COVID-19 Stress, and Drug Addiction?

Mental illness is a complicated subject with many possible causes. Most of the time, a person’s personality and how they live their lives can cause them to develop a mental illness. This can happen because of things like a global pandemic and living habits. There are a lot of different kinds of mental health problems called “mental health disorders.”

Anxiety, stress, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and schizophrenia are the most common mental health problems. Mental illness is when people have negative thoughts, fear, or ailments that happen a lot and lead to stress. This can make them less able to do things like school or work.

During Covid, many people’s mental health will get worse. Alternatively, the pandemic can affect their mental health. Moreover, mental health problems can worsen with the pandemic and when people are isolated. Other stressors can also make things worse:

Inherited Genetics

Certain mental diseases are heritable, occur in families, and may be handed down from parents to children. You are more likely to acquire a mental health disorder if your background has a diagnosable mental illness. Many psychiatric problems, according to scientists, run in families, implying possible hereditary underpinnings.

Drug Misuse

According to research, chronic usage of certain chemicals and medications can create both short- and long-term alterations in the brain. These alterations can result in a variety of mental health problems. Many people who have a drug addiction are also diagnosed with mental health issues at the same time.

Alcohol Misuse

According to research, chronic usage of certain chemicals and medications can create both short- and long-term alterations in the brain. These alterations can result in a variety of mental health problems. Many people who have a drug addiction are also diagnosed with mental health issues at the same time.

Emotional and Physical Abuse

Emotional, physical, verbal, sexual verbal abuse can have long-term consequences. Those who have experienced abuse or other distress may be predisposed to developing various mental health issues. There are fears that isolating and quarantining at home more frequently would increase the number of cases of abuse.

Trauma in Childhood

Trauma from childhood can have long-term effects on someone’s mental health, even if they are no longer experiencing it. For example, children who go through the coronavirus pandemic may be more likely to have anxiety, PTSD, or other psychological health problems, which could lead to addiction in adulthood.

No Socialization

To live a happy and healthy life, you need good social skills. Conversely, poor social skills can make people feel stressed, lonely, and isolated. This can harm their physical and psychological health.

Increased Substance Use During The COVID-19 Pandemic

When you have emotional distress, it is customary to want them to go away. Many people might then self-medicate or use drugs to deal with their stress and Covid. Unfortunately, depression, anxiety, and drug use often go hand in hand. 

Many people may drink or take drugs to improve their mental health during Covid. However, if you use any substance or alcohol, it can be dangerous and make you more stressed or depressed. Coronavirus stress can be hard to deal with, but starting to use substances to deal with it is not a good way to deal with it and can lead to addiction.

Let’s look at the two main ways a person can use drugs or alcohol to cope and affect one.

Substance Abuse

As discussed, anxiety during the coronavirus has led to many people misusing a substance to deal with their feelings. For example, the Center for Disease Control found that 13.3% of people who took part in a study started or increased their use of drugs or alcohol to deal with stress or emotions caused by Covid.

We all know that drug abuse is harmful because of the severe emotional and physiological issues it may create. However, research has indicated that those with a drug use issue are at a higher risk of severe illness and even death from Covid. In addition, substance abuse can harm your immune system and make it challenging for your body to fight off many diseases.

Alcohol Abuse

Many people have also increased their alcohol use to deal with feelings of loneliness or anxiety caused by social alienation. According to ongoing studies, alcohol intake surged during Covid due to stress, alcohol accessibility, and even drinking because of boredom.

Mental Health After The COVID-19 Pandemic

Coping skills can help address anxiety and depression. You have to control your mind rather than allow it to control you. Coping skills are one way to do that. 

Some examples are being present, not letting thoughts linger, and recognizing and challenging your fears.

Anxiety causes us to want to stop or escape, which is natural. First, however, you must recognize and accept your worry and fear to overcome these uncomfortable sensations.  Then challenge yourself to do the opposite. In other words, doing the exact thing, you’re scared of.

This is sometimes difficult to do by yourself. That is why getting professional help is so important. The professionals will coach you and help you deal with these complicated feelings.

Getting The Proper Addiction Treatment In Riverside County

As previously shown, mental health concerns are closely connected to substance usage. Therefore, when it comes to the relationship between mental health and drug use, you should address all aspects throughout your therapy.

If you are struggling with covid and addiction, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We provide effective drug and alcohol addiction therapy to help you reclaim control of your life. In addition, our caring team also offers support for people who have mental health problems from addiction, resulting either from the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic, or COVID-19 itself.

Sources

  1. Felter, C. (2021, September 9). The U.S. Opioid Epidemic. Council on Foreign Relations. https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/us-opioid-epidemic
  2. Fentanyl DrugFacts. (2021, June 30). National Institute on Drug Abuse. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/fentanyl
  3. Fentanyl: What You Need to Know. (2021, September 7). WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/fentanyl-what-to-know
  4. Davis, K. F. (2021b, September 16). Everything you need to know about fentanyl. Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/308156#overdose
  5. Dual Diagnosis. (2021). Medline Plus. https://medlineplus.gov/dualdiagnosis.html
  6. What Is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)? (2021, July 9). Verywell Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/dialectical-behavior-therapy-1067402