Quarantine life continues to be a new challenge for all of us as we learn how to cope in this unique situation. We are being put in stressful scenarios that many people have never experienced. Working from home, teaching our children can create a sense of lack of control. For some, this stress can be the tipping point of addiction as we try to deal with everything that is happening. However, it does not have to be the catalyst for addiction. There are ways to avoid addictive old habits and prevent new ones from being created.
How does one deal with addiction in a time of self-isolation?
Everyone deals with quarantine differently. Some people might decide to pick up more hobbies, and others may try to work through it. The stress and anxiety that comes with being isolated for a few months can be expressed differently by everyone. The main thing is to try and remain calm and find out what works best for you.
For some people dealing with addiction may mean to quit cold turkey and stop their addiction entirely. Other people may not have a choice as they find their alcohol or drugs are not as easily accessible. Withdrawal may affect people in these conditions, and it would be best to call professions medical centers or doctors to help guide you through the transition. Some medical centers can create plans that will adapt to you in this quarantine period to help you transition to an addiction-free life that can last past quarantine.
What can I do to prevent addiction in Quarantine
Addiction can be caused by stress and anxiety; drugs and alcohol may be used to help try and relax people. However, in the end, it creates a gateway to addiction—the best way to prevent these feelings of loneliness and isolation caused by the quarantine. Dr. Volkow, the Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, noted in an interview that, “We as a nation have to face the concept that we have made America vulnerable to drugs because we have eroded that social sense of community.”
Finding new ways to cope with stress while living in quarantine will help people find alternative outlets to anxiety, recreation, and isolation without resorting to drugs and alcohol. Some things that can be done are staying connected with family, finding new hobbies, and limiting your time on social media. Keeping yourself healthy, both mentally and physically, can help keep you sane during the quarantine.
Have I become addicted?
Addiction can happen after a single-use. It is essential to keep track of what you are doing during quarantine to avoid using or abusing drugs. Opioids and other over the counter drugs are still a problem despite social distancing. The deaths from methamphetamine have increased five-fold over a period of six years. People are trying to find fixes to their drugs wherever they can. Opioid addiction can turn into a cocaine addiction if it is easier to access in this tumultuous situation.
Monitor yourself and see if you are having withdrawal symptoms if you do not take specific pain medication. Are you drinking multiple times a day every day because it’s easier? Keep track of loved ones who are predisposed to addictive behaviors and indulge themselves too much. It is crucial to keep an eye out on what is happening to yourself and your loved ones.
Dealing with COVID-19 and Addiction
Dealing with addiction during COVID-19 creates a lot of stress. Drugs and alcohol may not be available, and there is the opportunity to turn to harder drugs. People who usually take opioids may turn to heroin or cocaine if it is harder to get their drug of choice. With these limitations, quarantine may prove to be the perfect time to quit the addiction and focus on helping the body.
Dr. Volkow notes that social distancing makes people vulnerable. They do not have the same support networks that would aid them in recovery. Friends and family are self-isolating, and that makes it harder to quit addiction when you do not have anyone there to help you. So it is vital to reach out to medical professionals who can walk you through what is possible during the quarantine.
What can I do to help others?
If you find that you or another person is dealing with addiction, then try talking with them. Overcoming isolation, or depressing thoughts during this time may allow them to avoid using substances. Some people may think that they need drugs or alcohol to cope with overwhelming emotions, anxiety, or depression. However, there are other avenues to help with these same issues. Reaching out to friends, families, or medical professionals can help one deal with these feelings. Talking things out can help find you find a solution that works for you before addiction becomes an option.
It is essential to help stop addiction before it happens as it can make people more susceptible to COVID19. Drugs, in general, can affect one’s health, which may make people more susceptible to getting sick. If you know someone addicted to substances, let them know that they may become more at risk. Those who have abused alcohol and drugs for more extended periods are more likely to show adverse health effects.
Who can I reach out to help me?
Though quarantine is in effect, there are still ways to reach out to doctors and specialists for help. The American Hospital Association found that out of 6210 hospitals within the US, over 4400 have telehealth-based services.
If you can research local medical centers, who specialize in drug and alcohol addiction, contact them for further advice. For those who live in New Jersey, Pinelands Recovery Center in Medford can help create inpatient and outpatient treatment plans. They have staff who specializes in rehabilitation and are always looking to help out. Fighting addiction and preventing drug and alcohol abuse does not have to be done alone. Asking for help makes it easier to win the battle of addiction.