Legacy Healing Center Blog
Substance Abuse, Addiction, and Overdose on the Rise During the Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken the lives of millions of people worldwide and upended the lives of countless millions more. Even if the disease itself has not directly impacted you, you have undoubtedly felt the effects of social isolation, depression, financial strain, and other challenges, many of which have been proven to increase the risk of substance abuse and addiction.
Given the inherent mental health challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting lockdowns and social isolation, it should come as no surprise that substance abuse, addiction, and overdose have risen right along with coronavirus case numbers. Whether you have a history of addiction and alcoholism or not, it is important to be on the lookout for these genuine dangers, even as you take steps to protect yourself from the COVID-19 virus itself.
Factors That Affect Mental Health and Drive Substance Abuse
Drug addiction and alcoholism are serious illnesses, but they do not take place in a vacuum. Every addict and alcoholic has a unique story to tell, and everyone who suffers from these dangerous dependencies got there in their own way.
Several factors, both personal and societal, tend to drive substance abuse and impact the mental health of the men and women who suffer from it. And most troubling of all, many of these factors have been exacerbated by the global COVID-19 pandemic and how public health officials have reacted in fighting the disease. The contributing factors for substance abuse that are being made worse by the pandemic include:
- Grief – The enormous death toll the COVID-19 pandemic has exacted has created a perfect storm for those suffering from addiction. As the grief of losing a loved one to coronavirus takes hold, individuals may try to cope with the use, and abuse of alcohol and drugs, perpetuating an already destructive cycle and making a bad situation even worse.
- Stress – Few things are as stressful as living under the weight of a global pandemic, one that has already claimed millions of lives around the world. From not knowing when this invisible enemy will strike to worrying about even the simplest daily activities, the stressors are everywhere. No one feels more acutely than those suffering from addiction.
- Financial strain – With unemployment at record high levels and significant uncertainty, many people feel the coronavirus’s financial strain. From job loss to business failures to increased expenses for everyday items, the coronavirus pandemic has exacted a heavy financial toll, one that can make an existing substance use disorder that much worse.
- Feeling overwhelmed – It is easy to feel exasperated in the face of a global pandemic, and those feelings can make addiction and alcoholism more likely. When people feel overwhelmed and unable to cope, they often self-medicate with substance use, both legal and illicit.
- Social isolation – Experts in addiction and recovery have long encouraged their clients to build new social structures and work on creating a network of supportive friends and peers. Social isolation is an enemy of healing, yet that is precisely what is being enforced in many parts of the country. As the pandemic continues to rage, lockdowns and laws designed to keep people safe have just the opposite effect on those suffering from drug addiction, alcoholism, and other forms of substance use disorder.
Overdose Statistics During COVID-19 Pandemic
According to the most recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the global COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a rise in overdose deaths in the United States. In the 12 months leading up to May 2020 alone, there were more than 81,000 overdoses, a marked increase on what had already been a high level.
The CDC carefully monitors this increase in overdoses, addiction, and death, but the family members of those addicted can do much more than watch. If you are concerned that a loved one is depressed, isolated, and alone, reach out to them, even if it is just on the other side of a video screen. And while you are having that conversation, we encourage you to reach out to Legacy Healing Center for the help and guidance you need.
Meeting the Increased Demand for Addiction Treatment During COVID-19
There has been a marked increase in addiction and alcoholism during the COVID-19 pandemic. Much of that increase can be traced to the pandemic’s effects and how the world has reacted. COVID-19 has created a perfect storm of dependency and increased demand for drug and alcohol treatment services, from increases in social isolation and feelings of despair to ongoing financial uncertainty and family stress.
Drug and alcohol treatment centers, including Legacy Healing Center, have restructured significantly, taking steps to keep their clients safe and comfortable as they walk their personal paths to recovery. Precautions include screening incoming clients for symptoms of COVID-19 and implementing pre-admission temperature checks to regularly testing for the virus. We also implemented a thorough cleaning and sanitizing process of surfaces and mask requirements to enforcing social distancing measures. Everything we have done is designed to keep everyone safe, not only from coronavirus but also from the dangers of substance use disorder.
Call us today at 888.534.2295 for more information or to begin your recovery journey.