The effects of COVID-19 have brought stress, uncertainty, and isolation to everyone. For someone with a substance use disorder (SUD), these factors can lead to increased drug and alcohol use. While the world is seemingly at a halt due to COVID-19, for those with an SUD, connection is needed now more than ever.
During a time where social distance and isolation are effective measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, it is important to recognize that SUDs are still a prominent part of our world. A recent study suggests that American adults have increased their alcohol use. Women in particular have increased their heavy drinking episodes, meaning four or more drinks within a couple of hours, by 41%. Compared to this time last year, the overall frequency of alcohol consumption has increased by 14%. Today, let’s look at ways to stay connected during a time of disconnect, as well as how to help your loved one when a substance use disorder is present.
Look for signs of a substance use disorder (SUD)
Stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines can lead to isolation. Women in particular have taken on many new stresses throughout the pandemic. Financial strain and more at-home obligations have caused many women to turn to alcohol to alleviate their additional stresses. Forced to stay in close quarters with their loved ones, their heavy drinking may become harder to hide. If you have noticed your loved one is drinking or using more, pay attention. Overcoming denial can be a crucial first step towards family recovery.
My loved one is in recovery.
During this time of isolation, resources might not seem as readily available. However, as the world has had to shift and evolve, the recovery community has not been a step behind. Virtual 12-Step meetings, webinars, and alumni events have found a way to adapt to the changes the pandemic has brought. Indirect resources, such as recovery podcasts and blogs, are another great way to stay connected to the world around you. Connecting to supportive resources can help your loved one stay on track in their recovery.
Protect your mental health.
Many are feeling overwhelmed by the unknown of the global pandemic. Economic and political factors can contribute to feelings of uncertainty. These, in turn, can lead to more drinking. Unfortunately, alcohol is a depressant, and increasing alcohol use can worsen depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions. Finding healthy coping strategies, such as exercise and meditation, can lessen the emotions that may come our way during this time. Journaling, trying something new, or even beginning therapy can be great ways to stay grounded and help you press on to future goals.
Hannah’s House is a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance use, mental health issues, and beyond. Our primary mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration. We offer renowned clinical care for addiction and have the compassion and professional expertise to guide you toward lasting sobriety. For information on our programs, call us today: 561.841.1272.