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

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

Addiction: How to Support a Spouse with Addiction

Addiction: How to Support a Spouse with Addiction
By: Isabelle Siegel

One hallmark sign of addiction is continued substance use despite interference with one’s interpersonal relationships. Addiction can take an immense toll on romantic relationships in particular, causing pain and suffering for both parties. The partners/spouses of people with addiction may feel as though they are helpless, unable to provide the support that is needed. However, there are steps that partners/spouses can take to support their partner/spouse and themselves.

Develop an understanding of addiction and how it manifests in your partner/spouse. Research “Substance Use Disorder” and its symptoms, taking note of which symptoms apply to your partner/spouse. It may be helpful to create a list of warning signs that your partner/spouse is using substances, as well as to learn what to do in the case of an overdose.

Support, but avoid enabling. Enabling entails making excuses for your partner’s/spouse’s addictive behavior, communicating to them that such behavior is acceptable and can be continued. Instead, stress the necessity of change while also practicing devotion and love.

Establish boundaries for your relationship. Many professionals suggest establishing a set of boundaries that must be respected. For example, you may want to tell your partner/spouse that he/she cannot use substances while in the house.

Be honest with your partner/spouse. Tell your partner/spouse how his/her behavior makes you feel. If your partner’s/spouse’s behavior is hurting you, tell him/her. It is normal to feel uncomfortable during these conversations, but they are important and even necessary for change.

Most importantly, take care of yourself and seek therapy. Understand that your partner/spouse is not the only one who needs support and never feel guilty for prioritizing your own needs. If you feel that the relationship is putting your physical or mental health at risk, it may be necessary to end the relationship. It can be beneficial to seek therapy or other support in order to take care of your own mental health and to work through difficult emotions.

If you or a loved one needs support, 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/

Alcohol Abuse: College Students

Alcohol Abuse: College Students

By Toniann Seals

For many, college is the first time in one’s young adult life that they are away from their families and on their own. Without direct supervision they begin to experiment, especially with alcohol. Unfortunately, some find themselves victims of alcohol abuse and have a hard time fighting the addiction.

Identifying Alcohol Abuse:

  • Missing important assignments, classes or meetings because of alcohol
  • Vomiting each time you drink alcohol
  • Not able to control the amount you drink
  • Drinking before or during class/work
  • Constant feeling of regret after a night out of drinking
  • Inability to control your behaviors while under the influence
  • Binge Drinking

Some may claim that they are just trying to have “fun” in college, however being a college student does not make a person immune to the detrimental side effects of alcohol abuse.

According to the NIAAA, “Approximately 2 out of every 5 college students of all ages (more than 40 percent) reported binge drinking at least once in the 2 weeks prior.” Drinking too much alcohol in a short period of time can lead to health problems, injury and even death. Fitting in is not worth what could potentially happen to you. If you are drinking because of stress, a traumatic experience or bad breakup, professional help could be very beneficial.

If you or someone you know is dealing with alcohol abuse speak with one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists. Contact us at our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 respectively to set up an appointment. For more information, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

Sources:

https://www.addictioncenter.com/alcohol/binge-drinking/

(Image) http://allaboutaddiction.com/addiction/college-students-binge-drinking/