How to Cope with Quarantine: Addiction and the Coronavirus
Nothing heightens one’s anxiety quite like a disease epidemic that spreads around the globe like wildfire. It’s the threat of invisible viruses that you can’t see and that you can’t defend yourself against 100% beyond washing your hands and staying six feet away from literally everyone. This type of situation can peak a person’s panic level and, for addicts, trigger the possibility of a relapse. The Coronavirus has affected nearly everyone in the United States. Whether a person has gotten sick, had to start working from home, was quarantined on a cruise ship, lost their job, or had someone fall sick to Coronavirus, all of society seems to have been touched by it in one way, shape, or form. What worries me is what happens to the addicts and alcoholics who are still using or are newly sober and just got thrown a major curveball?
Drug users are most likely at a higher risk than the average public due to the lifestyle they live. When someone is compulsively using drugs and alcohol, it takes a major toll on their body. They wind up pumping large amounts of what are essentially poisons through their system, which makes them more vulnerable to diseases and other illnesses. The lack of a proper diet, nutrition, hygiene and housing greatly increases these risk factors. Many homeless drug users are unfortunately sleeping outside in parks or in homeless shelters where they’re either packed in like sardines or there’s no space at all for them to seek shelter. On top of that, hepatitis and other debilitating illnesses run rampant in this demographic, compromising their immune systems further.
Despite the physical issues and homelessness of some addicts that may further the spreading of the Coronavirus, drug users and those in recovery may be extremely triggered by what’s going on. Anxiety can be a huge factor in relapse and honestly, so can being quarantined with your family for weeks on end. With no support groups currently meeting as usual and most being switched over to online forums, it’s possible that relapse rates could temporarily rise as a result of this virus. It’s important that everyone has constructive ways of dealing with the stress of this situation. If you find yourself triggered, craving drugs or alcohol, here are a few things you can do to help yourself through it:
- Get some light exercise that can be done in your home whether it be exercise videos online, doing laps up and down the stairs, push-ups, crunches, etc.
- If possible, get space from the house and take a walk around your yard if you’re able to.
- Stay hydrated and well-fed. Nothing spikes anxiety more than being hungry.
- Get enough rest
- Take breaks from social media. There’s a lot of bad news right now and if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, put your phone, tablet, or laptop away for a little bit.
- Support your fellow recovering addicts and alcoholics. Stay in touch and be available by phone to talk one another through a tough moment or two.
- Take up drawing, coloring, or anything else that can help bring stress levels down.
- Keep your home clean and tidy. Messy and dirty living situations can increase mental and emotional discomfort.
It’s a horrible situation out there. The mass public is currently hysterical with fear, stores have been bought out of nearly everything, some unfortunate people have lost their lives, people are being strongly urged to quarantine themselves, and it shows no sign of calming down yet. It’s important to me that everyone stays safe out there. I hope the above suggestions gave some of you a couple of good ideas and stay strong, this too shall pass.