Can Long-Term Isolation Lead to an Addiction?
We are living through some of the most stressful times in recent history. With the global pandemic raging on, many of us are still worried about our own health and the health of our loved ones, especially our older friends and family members.
Many of us have also been hit with financial burdens. Some have lost jobs and others have had to close their businesses. How will the mortgage and bills get paid?
To make an already bad situation worse, a lot of us are still experiencing lockdown and quarantine. Many are working from home for the first time and still, others are unable to travel and be with loved ones.
This has left a majority of people feeling alone and isolated when they are already feeling they are most vulnerable.
The Link between Isolation and Drug Use
During stressful circumstances, it is a natural tendency for people to turn to drugs and alcohol as a way of coping. A study reported in the American Journal of Epidemiology found there was a 25% increase in alcohol consumption in the weeks following 9/11.
The stress and isolation of the current pandemic are putting those people who are prone to addiction at great risk. Virtual cocktail hours are now officially a thing. But how many of those cocktail hours end when the computer is shut off?
Human beings are social creatures. When you take our ability to be social away, it can lead to depression and anxiety. Even people who have no history of addiction are at risk of developing a drinking or drug problem during the pandemic as a way of coping with social isolation.
When coping with stress, it can be hard to self-monitor our behaviors, but it is incredibly important for our overall health and well-being. If you suspect you have been drinking or using any drug more than you should at this time, it’s important to be honest about that.
Ask yourself a few questions:
- Has cocktail hour started earlier or gone later than usual lately?
- Does the bottle of wine that used to last 3 days barely last one night?
- Do you ever feel like you SHOULD cut down on your drinking or other drug use?
- Have you noticed you’re thinking about drinking or using drugs more and more?
- Have loved ones commented on the amount you’ve been drinking?
It’s important that you are honest with yourself at this time. And if you answered yes to one or more of these questions, it’s important that you get some help.
Many treatment centers remain open during this time. You may also want to think about speaking with a mental health counselor. If in-person sessions are not available, find a provider who offers telehealth solutions. This means you can receive treatment online.
Times are tough for everyone right now. You are not alone. If you are turning to drugs and alcohol to deal with the stress and isolation, please get the help you need.