Increased Drug and Alcohol Use during the Stay at Home Order

By Eleanor Kim

The Coronavirus pandemic has left the whole world isolated with very little to do aside from school or work. As the stay at home orders continue, individuals have been forced to find other means of coping or simply passing the time. Some individuals have found coping mechanisms that have ignited newfound purpose during such bleak times; however, others have embarked on less than beneficial pastimes, turning to drugs and alcohol as a means of “getting through” the pandemic. Cases of substance use disorder, or SUD, have skyrocketed since the official declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic with cases of patients who have experienced overdoses and other complications related to substance abuse increasing as well. In a recent survey conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 13.3% of respondents stated that they have either started or increased substance use in order to cope with the stress and emotions caused by COVID-19 and the subsequent national emergency. With the world in such an unstable and worrisome state, it is not surprising to see individuals seek comfort in any way that they can, especially as those individuals face new and or preexisting stressors and anxieties through isolation.

As the pandemic continues, the surging mental health and substance abuse epidemics have shown to go hand in hand with one another. In fact, throughout the pandemic, there has been a 62% increase in worry, a 51% increase in sadness, a 51% increase in fear, and a 42% increase in loneliness. It was also revealed that within the past year, there has been a 32% increase for non-prescribed fentanyl, a 20% increase for methamphetamine, a 12.5% increase for heroine, a 10% increase for cocaine, as well as an 18% increase in suspected drug overdoses. These increases have not gone unnoticed. Those that already struggled with substance abuse or other mental health disorders have found stay at home orders increasingly difficult given the limited access to their usual treatment and support groups. Those who wish to begin receiving professional help with their substance use have had harder times finding adequate care given the decrease in in- and out-patient support and treatment over the past year. These limitations have fed into the increases in mental health struggles and SUD cases, leaving those who have been affected feeling desperate and out of control.

Substance abuse is not the answer to these difficult and isolating times. There is still hope for those who wish to seek other, more benevolent means of coping with the pandemic and for those who wish to begin treatment for their substance use disorder. Telehealth is one way that individuals with SUD, or other destructive coping mechanisms, can begin receiving professional help and therapy. Counselors and therapists are available to talk with you or anyone you know who may be dealing with substance use disorders during this time.

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, 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 http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

Resources:

https://www.drugabuse.gov/about-nida/noras-blog/2020/09/addressing-unique-challenges-covid-19-people-in-recovery

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7219362/

https://www.ehstoday.com/covid19/article/21139889/drug-abuse-on-the-rise-because-of-the-coronavirus

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6932a1.htm

Image Source:

https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/covid-crisis-exacerbating-lgbtq-alcohol-abuse-studies-find-n1257008

Addiction: Supporting My Adult Child Through Addiction

Addiction: Supporting My Adult Child Through Addiction
By Emma Yasukawa

Being a parent means that your children always come first and from a young age, you teach them to make good decisions because children form plenty of life decisions on their own. For example, there are plenty of adult children who make the decision on whether or not they will try drugs or alcohol; even after hearing all of the possible side-effects and risks of addiction. This decision ultimately has an effect on parents and may leave them second-guessing their parenting skills and whether or not they did something wrong as parents.

If you are a parent of an adult child who is not making good decisions and their future seems uncertain, this can be a heavy burden on you. You must take a deep breath and remind yourself that your child is no longer your responsibility legally, and that they inevitably chose this path. Though, there are a few ways that a parent can help their adult child dealing with addiction:

1. Adult children who are addicted to a substance tend to feel as if the whole world is against them and that they feel as if they ‘had no other choice.’ As a parent it is important to remind your child that it was their conscious decision that leads them to where they are. Ultimately, this can remind them that they always have a choice and that it is not too late to seek help.

2. As a parent, you will always want to support your child emotionally and financially if needed. It is a parent’s heart to want to always help, but sometimes you are causing more harm than good. It is important to offer assistance and support but only to the degree that you are able to, and knowing that it is actually bettering your child’s future.

3. Love your child. Love comes in many different forms and sometimes integrating tough love is the best kind of love. This means holding him/her accountable for their behavior, and possibly setting up an intervention if needed.

4. While it is easy for the addicted child to become the center of attention, it is important to not allow this to affect the rest of your family. Of course it will be on everyone’s mind but, it should not get to the point where it will split up a family.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, 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 http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com

Resources: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/lifetime-connections/201410/7-tips-mothers-adult-addicts

Image Source: https://vertavahealth.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Addictioncampuses.com-Getting-Help-For-An-Adult-Child-Addicted-To-Drugs-And-Alcohol.jpg
 

Alcoholism during COVID-19

By: Elyse Ganss

Alcohol sales have spiked during the coronavirus pandemic. According to Nielson, during the month of March alone, alcohol sales were up by 55%. Thus, it is clear that COVID-19 has caused an increase in alcohol consumption. This could have negative health effects as well as cause an alcohol dependency and subsequent addiction. Addiction can result in job loss, the disruption of relationships, and difficulties in performing normal, day-to-day functions.

Alcohol abuse causes chemical changes in the brain that create feelings of pleasure when consuming alcohol, which make an addicted person reliant on the use of alcohol. They must continually up their dosage to feel the same sensation of pleasure as tolerance develops. Risk factors for alcoholism include a family history of substance abuse, a mental health problem, binge drinking, high stress, and low self-esteem.

A mental health professional will aid the patient with creating a treatment plan. Usually a detox program will be created that includes medication to help the patient safely withdraw from alcohol usage. Unregulated withdrawal can cause seizures and other negative health effects. Therapy is typically recommended for addicted patients as it can help the patient work through the issues that may have caused them to turn to substance abuse. Finally, family or couples therapy may be recommended to repair relationships that may have been damaged because of addiction.

If you or someone you know needs support for alcoholism or substance abuse, 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 http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .

Sources:

https://www.healthline.com/health/alcoholism/basics#symptoms

https://www.healio.com/news/primary-care/20200416/alcohol-consumption-during-covid19-pandemic-what-pcps-need-to-know

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alcohol-use-disorder/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20369250

Image Source:

https://greatlakesrehabilitation.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Consequences-of-Alcoholism

Alcohol Use Disorder

By Samantha Glosser

Alcohol use disorder, more commonly known as alcoholism, is a pattern of alcohol use that results in impairment and distress in your daily life. Short term effects of alcohol use disorder include memory loss, hangovers, and blackouts. However, the long term effects are much more serious and include the following: stomach ailments, heart problems, brain damage, memory loss, liver cirrhosis, and cancer. Alcohol use disorder is also linked to increased chances of dying from automobile accidents, homicide and suicide, as well as increased rates of unemployment, domestic violence, and legal problems.

Cravings for alcohol, drinking in spite of it causing personal problems, an inability to stop drinking, and building up a tolerance to alcohol are common symptoms of alcohol use disorder. Alcohol use disorder can be diagnosed if two or more of the following are present in a twelve-month period (the severity of addiction is based on how many symptoms are present):

  • Drinking more or for a longer period than intended.
  • Feeling the need or trying to cut back on drinking.
  • Spending a lot of time drinking and recovering from the short-term effects of drinking.
  • Craving the use of alcohol.
  • Failing to perform responsibilities due to drinking.
  • Continuing to use alcohol even though it is creating relationship problems.
  • Ceasing participation in important activities to drink more.
  • Drinking before or during potentially dangerous activities (such as driving).
  • Continuing drinking despite its relation to physical and mental health conditions.
  • Developing a tolerance for alcohol.
  • Experiencing withdraw symptoms when reducing or stopping alcohol intake.

There are numerous treatment options available to individuals struggling with alcohol use disorder, such as detoxification, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), inpatient/outpatient treatment programs, and medication. There are also different methods to recovery, such as abstinence (completely quitting) or just cutting down on alcohol intake. Finding the right treatment options depends on the individual, which is why it is recommended to seek guidance from a trained professional.

If you or someone you know appears to be suffering from alcohol use disorder, the licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy can assist you. 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, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Source: Alcohol Use Disorder. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/conditions/alcohol-use-disorder