COVID-19: Addiction and Relapse

By: Elyse Ganss

It is currently unclear how COVID-19 will affect addiction. As a result of the nature of the coronavirus and its’ effect on the lungs, people who smoke tobacco, marijuana, or vape are at an increased risk for getting the virus. Besides an increased risk for getting the virus, people who suffer from addiction may be negatively affected in other ways as well.

 Isolation can have negative effects on people who suffer from substance abuse, particularly for those who are in recovery. Isolation can trigger anxiety and depression and without proper coping skills, this can trigger relapse.

Social distancing has put a stop to people attending peer-support groups in person, which are typically very beneficial for people who are recovering from addiction. While there are online support groups, it is unknown how many people will utilize them. Similarly, while family support is still available through phone calls and texts, it is no longer available in person. These changes have the possibility to increase levels of addiction.

In some states, access to critical medications, like methadone and buprenophrine that allow addicts to wean off of opioids, have been severely regulated and almost stalled. This could increase self-medication of drugs and alcohol and cause drug overdoses to occur. Receiving treatment, like teletherapy, with a licensed mental health professional to discuss a treatment plan, coping strategies, and what your support network looks like could be extremely beneficial for those who are recovering or currently struggling with addiction.

If you or someone you know is looking for support, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit .


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