Data strongly suggests that the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic – which have included great emotional and financial stress for many – has led to an increase in substance use and, along with that, an increase in relapsing as well as new addiction to both drugs and alcohol. Overdoses appear to be increasing as a result of the pandemic as well, though full data is not yet available. However, the existing data certainly paints a troubling picture:
And as if dealing with addiction isn’t difficult and scary enough as it is, data also shows that those with substance use disorders are actually more likely to become infected with COVID-19 and more likely to suffer negative outcomes when they do.
So, what can you do if you’re struggling with substance use or you suspect that a loved one is? Know the signs of addiction, and get professional help right away.
Some common signs of addiction to look for in yourself or a loved one include:
If you notice any of these signs, know that help is available, and the sooner you reach out for it, the better off you will be. Here are some resources for substance abuse treatment here in southern and central Massachusetts:
Also remember that you don’t have to wait until a substance use problem actually develops to get help.
You can be proactive in preventing a substance use disorder from developing in yourself or a loved one. If you are concerned that the stress of the pandemic or any other life events or circumstances may put you or a loved one at risk for addiction, there are resources that can help. See the Massachusetts Substance Use Prevention page for more information. You may also wish to seek out mental health services to help ease the stress, anxiety, depression or other mental health challenges that can contribute to substance use.