The COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult on everybody, but active and recovering addicts face their own unique challenges. For active addicts, their substance of choice may be difficult to access, resulting in painful or even deadly withdrawals. For those in recovery, support systems may no longer be available, and daily routines may have been turned on their heads — both circumstances that can easily lead to relapse. On top of this, it’s easy to experience feelings like loneliness and isolation while social distancing — feelings that may have led individuals to their addiction in the first place.
In this blog post, I discuss the unique difficulties facing addicts during these trying times, as well as several tips for coping. I also share some resources for those struggling or recovering from addiction in the Austin area and beyond. I am a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in addiction treatment, especially love, sex, and porn addiction. If you or someone you love is struggling with one of these addictions during the coronavirus pandemic, I can help. I offer online counseling for individuals and couples in Texas. You don’t have to struggle in silence. Get in touch with me today to schedule an appointment.
COVID-19 and Addiction
For many addicts, coronavirus has added to the underlying mental and emotional issues that reinforce their addiction. Across the United States, an increasing amount of people are reporting symptoms like stress, loneliness, depression, boredom, and isolation, all of which are closely linked with substance abuse and other types of addictions. Although many addicts will find it more difficult to acquire their substance during this time, detoxification without medical supervision can be dangerous and poses an even greater risk of death than COVID-19.
On top of this, people suffering from substance addiction have a greater chance of getting coronavirus, as the individuals most susceptible to the virus are those with compromised immune systems. Apart from neuropsychological and pathophysiological responses, drugs can greatly affect an individual’s immune function and ability to fight off disease. Social practices associated with drug use such as sharing contaminated needles or pipes can increase the likelihood of catching COVID-19 as well. Smokers are especially susceptible to the disease, which primarily affects the respiratory system.
Effects on Porn Addiction
Porn addicts may particularly struggle with the current lock-downs because it is incredibly easy to access porn from the comfort of your own home. Furthermore, with many people being furloughed or laid off, there is not much to allay boredom apart from the Internet, which, of course, is a hub for pornography. Porn addiction can wreak havoc on any relationship, leading to symptoms such as sexual dysfunction, loss of intimacy, deeper loneliness, increased irritability, and more. When you only have a few people that you’re allowed to be in contact with, including your partner, you don’t want to alienate them through your disruptive behavior.
The good news for active and recovering addicts is that help is still available. Despite stay-at-home measures, rehab facilities are still open, and adamantly committed to maintaining a safe and sanitary environment for addicts to heal. While it might not seem worth the risk to enter rehab during a pandemic, the likelihood of COVID-19 infection is significantly less than the likelihood of your addiction severely affecting your physical and/or mental health.
Apart from rehab, there are many resources available online to help active and recovering addicts.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: (800) 273-TALK (8255)
- National Youth Crisis Hotline: (800) 442-HOPE (4673)
- The Trevor Project (LGBTQ): 866-488-7386.
- SAMHSA 24/7 National Helpline: 800-662-HELP (4357)
- Poison Control: (800) 222-1222
Online Support Groups and Meetings
- Austin AA: https://austinaa.org/online-meetings/
- Porn Addicts Anonymous: https://www.pornaddictsanonymous.org/members-forum.html
- The Tribe Wellness Community: https://support.therapytribe.com/addiction-support-group/
- In the Rooms: https://www.intherooms.com/home/
Win Your War Against Addiction
We’re all in this together when it comes to staying safe during these unprecedented times. If you or a loved one are currently struggling with addiction, my online counseling services may help. Get in touch today to schedule your first appointment. Stay safe, stay healthy, and remember that overcoming addiction is possible.