Addiction is a struggle that many Americans face. During the COVID-19 pandemic, there is the potential for people turning to substances to cope with being in quarantine or due to the stress of economic uncertainty. Additionally, many people are unable to speak with the health professionals and counselors who usually help them manage their addiction.
However, there’s also another potential outcome: the quarantine could actually help people address their addiction and get on the path to a healthier future. If you’re struggling with an addiction problem, now might be the perfect time to take action and get the help you need.
First Step: Recognize Your Addiction
Addiction comes in many forms. Obviously, addictions to drugs like heroin can be immediately life-threatening. Alcoholism is also a major issue and can become even worse under quarantine restrictions.
Substance addiction also encompasses the use of nicotine. By now, you probably know the health risks involved with vaping and smoking. It can be hard to quit using nicotine when you’re stressed, but that can also make it the best time to address your addiction—you’ll learn to cope without the aid of a substance.
The first step in recovery is to recognize your addiction. Usually, addictions don’t happen all at once. They can creep up gradually until you finally realize you have a problem. Understanding that a serious problem exists is crucial for committing to recovery.
Find a Counselor Online
We’re very fortunate to live in a time when technology can keep us connected during quarantine. You might not be able to meet with a counselor in person during the pandemic, but there are now more options than ever for online counseling.
While it’s true that it might be a little more difficult to find a counselor you “click” with when you can’t meet them in person, the effort is well worth it. Finding support that works for you and makes you feel comfortable is crucial to long-term success.
Already being treated but unable to attend your meetings? There are many resources to get you the peer support you’ve come to rely on during your addiction recovery journey. Talking to people who have the same struggles and concerns as you do will help you to maintain your progress while social distancing measures are in place.
There are now many excellent groups operating online virtual support groups, which can allow you to stay on track in your recovery or meet new peers to help you as you navigate the discomfort of addressing your addiction.
It’s a good idea to build similar habits during quarantine that you would under normal circumstances. Find a virtual group that makes you feel comfortable and supported and commit to those meetings on a regular schedule. This will help you stay on track.
Not a Substance?
Not all addictions involve substances, although many do. Gambling addictions are more common than most people think, and that behavior can continue even when people are being restricted to their homes.
Online gambling has been available for many years, but it’s seen a huge increase since the COVID-19 pandemic, with one company reporting 225% more people starting to play online poker for the first time. While not all of these players will become addicted to gambling, there’s definitely risk involved.
Stress, boredom, and more time on your hands might make online gambling more attractive. But people can easily find themselves in a financial hole or spending hours on gambling sites, eventually developing an addiction.
There’s Help Out There
Addictions of any kind are challenging to break, but overcoming them is important for living a happy, healthy life. If you’re feeling helpless to change your life because you’re currently confined to your home, remember that if you want to break your addiction, there are people who are ready and willing to help you.
Although you need to take the first step and reach out, you don’t have to go through the process alone. There are people who have dedicated their lives to helping people recover and many more who have been through it and come out the other side. Whether you’re struggling with drug addiction, vaping, gambling, or any other kind of addiction, there’s help out there—even during quarantine.