Although social isolation and restrictions meant to combat the spread of the virus were successful, these measures have come with some unforeseen side effects, including for those in the recovery community.
Increased Substance Abuse & Relapses from COVID-19
With people stuck inside and stressed, many are turning to drugs and alcohol for comfort. While some people are drinking less in quarantine, other people are drinking more. Millennials are leading the way in drinking with 25% saying they are drinking more versus 16% that claim to be drinking less.1 Although only a quarter of this group is having more alcohol than normal, this 25% is problematic and is likely made up of people with concerning drinking habits already, such as the tendency to drink alone or using alcohol to cope. If they haven’t already gone to a rehab facility for treatment before, they may need to after the pandemic is over. Other evidence suggests that alcohol consumption was significantly higher in states that were hit the hardest by the coronavirus pandemic.2 As far as drugs are concerned, 36% of Americans admitted to taking more prescription opioids and using more marijuana during quarantine and social isolation.2
For those who already completed a drug or alcohol detox, coronavirus relapse is a very scary but also real possibility. With substance abuse rising in general, people who had previously used drugs and alcohol to cope with their trouble may be more tempted to use or drink once more. Exact numbers of the amount of people relapsing are unknown, but those in recovery are likely a large part of this rise in substance abuse.
Coronavirus Relapse Triggers
While everyone is different, relapse triggers tend to be similar. Addiction cravings can come on as a result of physical, social, and mental triggers. The increase of drug and alcohol relapses during the pandemic may be a result of several of these factors.
Contributing reasons to the number of relapses from coronavirus are believed to include: