The isolation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has reached all areas of the world, disrupting people’s daily schedules and putting their health and well-being at risk. Because of that, people who are in the process of recovery from addiction have been placed under additional stress. Isolation and addiction do not go well together, as all of the existing problems that addicts face on a daily basis only become greater when no one is around to provide help and guidance in their time of need.
In this article, we will try to explain why isolation is so dangerous for those fighting addiction and why we as a society have to do our best to make it as easy as possible for former addicts to transition into a healthier life.
Why is dealing with addiction especially hard during times of isolation?
In the early stages of the coronavirus outbreak, it seemed as if this was just another disease that would soon blow over. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has proven to be a much more vicious opponent, claiming the lives of millions and stopping the world as we know it.
Because of that, governments around the globe have had to act fast, and in the absence of a better solution, quarantines and mandatory isolations have been implemented in most countries. While this was a necessary move, this decision has had negative consequences. Millions of people have lost their jobs, and fears for the future have been overwhelming at times. This has been especially hard for former addicts, still in the process of recovery.
In order to deal with anxiety and in an attempt to escape reality, many have turned to taking another dose of the substance that caused their problems in the first place. When that happens, they suddenly become faced with constant cravings again. With no possibilities for human face-to-face interaction, a lot of people have been forced to deal with their problems alone. In a world that is completely estranged, many have found that it is difficult to find a good reason to even continue with the recovery. A drug-free future might no longer seem as bright and inspiring to fight for.
As of right now, the cure for COVID-19 has not yet been found. Hopefully, the development of a vaccine will soon make the situation better, but until then, all we can do is follow the safety regulations and try to help out those in need as much as possible. One thing is for sure: the longer this situation continues, the more stress it is going to cause to millions of people.
What effects does isolation have on recovering addicts?
Former addicts achieve the best results when they find themselves in a comfortable environment that allows them to focus on their needs during recovery. Unfortunately, with the entire world preoccupied with COVID-19, many have been left to struggle in isolation. Without a support group to turn to during the difficult times, former addicts have had no one to lean on but themselves.
With hospitals overloaded with patients, it hasn’t been easy to find help from medical experts who would know what to do in this situation. Ultimately, isolation also produces boredom, as people oftentimes remain stuck at home, without a possibility to truly enjoy life and engage in activities that would help shift attention and distract from addiction. That is when dangerous thoughts may once again begin to surface, thus increasing the risk of relapse immensely.
In isolation, people in recovery start to develop the following feelings:
- Sadness and the desire to drown the inner pain
- Loss of hope and discontent
- Feeling left out and a lack of emotional support
- Anger that no one cares about the progress they have made
- Desire to return to their previous lifestyle “just one more time”
- The need to experience extra sensations, such as euphoria
In this ever-changing world, for former addicts, it becomes increasingly difficult to remain sober and find value in that feat. During isolation, the outside sources of fun are very limited, and every day appears to be filled with more problems and anguish.
On the other hand, those who were struggling with substance abuse often return to one thought: with psychoactive substances, at least you always know what to expect. Sure, the consequences are always present, but those few seconds of relief suddenly begin to seem a lot more appealing.
According to a study performed by experts from the international rehab clinic Dr. Vorobjev, former addicts reported that isolation has proven to be very difficult for them, and outside support has become more necessary than ever during these times.
How can you help yourself or your loved one who is struggling with recovery from addiction?
While isolation in the middle of a global pandemic has placed millions of former addicts in danger of relapsing, there are several ways in which this negative situation can be turned into a positive one. Instead of focusing on the problem of being alone, this can also be a great time to truly reconnect with your loved ones and repair broken relationships.
Meeting face to face is not so easy nowadays, but there are plenty of ways to catch up with others through video calls, texting, or even by visiting online forums. Although it might seem meaningless at first, the revelation that you are not the only one who is struggling at the moment can be a powerful tool to change your entire mindset. After that, all that is left to do is focus on taking the necessary steps that lead to recovery.
Sometimes, cravings can last no more than 30 minutes. If you just allow yourself to occupy your mind with other things, those feelings will soon pass. Once you achieve this, you will get a new dose of self-respect knowing that you are the one who is controlling your destiny. Gradually, step by step, with each small hurdle being overcome, the addiction starts to lose its power.
Signing up for treatment at a rehab center, even despite the restrictive measures related to COVID-19, is always a smart choice. The consequences of falling back into addiction can pose a greater threat than a virus. Due to new treatment and rehabilitation methods, the very root causes of addiction can be eliminated, thus putting a stop to cravings and helping your body and mind recover. Do what is best for your health, and anticipate your future, which is sure to come with your own effort or with specialized care.