Those recovering from and struggling with Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) face daily challenges. With the unusual circumstances brought about by a global pandemic, these challenges are compounded by the isolation mandated by stay-at-home policies, subsequent job loss, financial fears, and anxiety over COVID-19. This can be a recipe for relapse.
On March 29, President Donald Trump declared to reporters; “You’re going to have massive depression, meaning mental depression…but you know what you’re going to have more than anything else? Drug addiction. You will see drugs being used like nobody has ever used them before. And people are going to be dying all over the place from drug addiction…”
Outbreaks can be stressful.
The outbreak of COVID-19 is stressful,but learning to cope with these feelings can make you and your family stronger. First, it is important to recognize that changes in mood may be linked to the onset of the pandemic. Some of the stress factors of this pandemic can include:
- Anxiety, fear, and worry about your health and the health of your loved ones
- Changes in sleep or eating patterns
- Difficulty concentrating or sleeping
- Worsening chronic health problems
- Worsening mental health conditions
- Increased use of tobacco, alcohol, or other drugs
In addition to feelings of anxiety and stress from the pandemic itself, others are facing the additional challenge of social isolation. While it is a unique circumstance today, quarantine is one of the oldest solutions to stopping the spread of a new virus. While this practice helps to prevent the spread of COVID-19, it is harmful to patients who are prone to depression, anxiety, or substance abuse and complicates physical recovery for those cut off from friends and family. It also changes our view of the outside world. While leaving the house used to offer solace, today it offers a different type of isolation due to social distancing practices. For now, quarantine has become necessary to stop the spread of COVID-19, but it comes at a terrible cost.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health: 18% of the population struggles with an anxiety disorder; and according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 7% of the population will have at least one major depressive episode. These statistics will only increase due to our current pandemic state.
5 Ways to Cope with Depression & Opioid Use Disorder
Fortunately there are ways to cope.
- Take a break from watching the news and reading articles. This includes social media. Reading about or listening to news regarding the pandemic all day is mentally exhausting. Give your mind a break and unplug. Staying constantly in-the-know won’t change what’s going on in the world, but it will affect your mental health and, likely, your sleep patterns.
- Take care of your health. Try stretching or meditating. Eat healthy, well-balanced meals, and exercise. Avoid the overconsumption of alcohol.
- Relax. Do some activities you enjoy, or try some new ones. Learn to play an instrument or practice a new language. Focus your mind on something else.
- Connect with others. Engage with people you trust and talk with them about how you are feeling, or just to chat. Zoom, Facetime, Facebook – it doesn’t matter – Reach out! Don’t be alone!
- Continue or Get Treatment: If you are currently in treatment for Opioid Abuse Disorder (OUD) , or need treatment, contact the medical professionals at NuHope. They are standing by with telemedicine, screening, and prescriptions to help aid you in a long and lasting recovery. Call 833.210.4673