The novel coronavirus has hit all areas of our communities hard. From the stress of the virus itself to financial stress and the stress of being cooped up at home for months, there are a lot of panic-inducing scenarios that you might find yourself in. For these reasons, the coronavirus has had devastating effects on those who suffer with mental health disorders and addiction.
If you were in active recovery before the coronavirus hit the United States, you likely have seen a serious disruption to your routine – something that is crucial to recovery. Many services were (or still are) not available or difficult to access and that lack of support is hitting people in recovery from addiction really hard.
In order to stay as healthy as possible through these hard times, it’s important for people in recovery to understand the relapse triggers that they may face while in quarantine. Once you understand and can recognize when and why you feel a certain way, you will be better equipped to protect yourself from a potential relapse.
Disruption in Routine
It would probably be pretty hard to find someone whose routine the coronavirus hasn’t touched! If you’re in the early stages of recovery and your routine had you going to regular meetings, seeing a therapist, and frequently connecting with people, having that all taken away can feel very startling.
Developing a routine and sticking to it is something that people in recovery benefit from. It helps them to establish expectations for themselves and fill their day with meaningful activities. With that sense of normalcy taken away, it’s understandable that you might feel like you’re back at square one.
Pre-existing mental health issues
Certainly, these times are making everyone feel a bit more anxious and depressed than usual, but those who have suffered in the past from serious cases of anxiety and depression might feel especially overwhelmed right now. Mental health services offered through telehealth are available but quarantining in your home may awake a different monster from within that you just aren’t quite sure how to deal with.
Lack of connection
Often times, loneliness is what drives people to abuse their vices. In times where we are unable to gather with our friends and participate in many of the activities that we love, the feeling of being cut off from the world and isolated in your home may be enough to trigger a relapse.
Whether you live with your family, significant other, or a roommate, your living situation may turn stressful when everyone is stuck inside together. Even the best of friends and the most loving partners are sure to have their quarrels while in quarantine.
Learning to live in recover and with someone in recovery is a challenge for anyone – the coronavirus is sure to amplify that challenge when there isn’t anywhere to escape to.
There is a lot of fear swirling around in the air these days. It doesn’t matter if a fear is irrational or rational, it usually has the same impact on your psyche. There’s a lot going on that is unknown and sometimes the fear of the unknown can be just unbearable.
On the flipside, there is so much information to process every day that is rapidly changing! Information overload can be even scarier than lack of information. It’s important to be able to find a healthy balance between keeping yourself educated and aware without overstimulating your mind and obsessing over negative news.
Coping mechanisms are used all too frequently when people are stressed out. It’s that, “I could really use a drink,” feeling that comes at the end of a long day. When days are coming and going without much to do and nowhere to go, every day might feel like a long day that you could use an escape from.
All too often, young people cite boredom as the reason for their addiction or relapse. When adopted into normal society, drugs and alcohol are a way to fill the time, plan events with friends, and connect to people. When you start to live a sober lifestyle, you might realize that you have a lot of extra time on your hands that you don’t know what to do with – you start distracting yourself with things like work and hobbies. When those things are taken away and you’re told to sit in your house for weeks on end, the bored feeling may start to creep and feel a bit triggering.
There is a lot of loss happening in the world because of the novel coronavirus. The loss of jobs, friends, relationships, income, and loved ones might feel like a stab in the heart – especially if they all happen to someone at once. Substance abuse is a common thing that people turn to when they experience loss because it numbs feelings or brings “joy” to an otherwise unfortunate circumstance.
Studies have shown that experiencing trauma can actually rewire your brain. In order to live a healthy post-traumatic life, it’s important to have regular therapy and a good support system. When COVID-19 disrupts the treatment that is necessary to live with trauma, it’s possible that feelings of trauma begin to resurface and dealing with them is not always easy.
Chapel Hill Detox
If you or someone you know has been struggling with one or more of these common triggers, give us a call. We understand that these times are difficult and would like to offer you the support that you need to stay on the path to recovery.