The Coronavirus Lockdown and Its Impact on People Struggling With Addiction

The COVID-19 pandemic has proved to be a major upheaval to people’s lives throughout these months, especially to those who are either addicts of alcohol, cigarettes and tobacco or in recovery mode. Addition to alcohol, tobacco, cigarettes, weed, marijuana or other drugs is seen as a choice of the people. However, at some point, this addiction becomes the necessity of the body and brain of the people who are addicted to these drugs. And, this whole pandemic and lockdown episodes made the lives of people more difficult who are in the process of recovering from such addictions. A lot of people, who are in recovering mode, are facing trouble as the counselling sessions and meetings are not allowed in person during the lockdown. We even hear the news of several people committing suicide in different parts of the country, majorly in the southern part of India.

The Negative Scenarios People Battling Addiction Are Facing During the Lockdown

The rehabilitation sessions influence and encourage people who are in addiction to seek the higher power and control their mind. However, the lockdown has been taking a huge toll on even normal people’s mental health. Many experts who deal with people who have such addictions express how much they are concerned about the mental health of their patients. According to many experts, these people require regular motivation, counselling sessions and strong will power to deal with their addictions. Though social isolation has been making it even more difficult for them to control their mind.

The recovery from such kinds of addiction requires people to connect with their peers, sharing their day to day experience of recovery, expressing the challenges they are facing and providing the solutions of problems they have overcome. These things can be done via digital platforms as well, however, the in-person connection makes a huge difference, say the experts. Other things that are making it difficult for the people who are recovering from addiction is the fear of revealing their identity. These digital video sessions often have the names appear on the screen whereas, in the sessions, you can stay anonymous. Another fear that a lot of people are facing is the fear of being recorded. Not many people like their confessions and the expression of the things they have been gone through to be recorded. Besides, it is important for people who are recovering from addiction to feel safe and not alone. Hence, in-person meetings and sessions are a very important part of being recovered from addiction.

The coronavirus lockdown has made it difficult for the people battling the addiction to access to the doctors and experts. On the contrary, the lockdown has been making the addiction more severe as now such addictive people have more things in life such as self-isolation, unemployment, uncertain future, and stress about family’s wellbeing and on top of that, an unending spare time that is adding fuel to their already worst situation. The feeling of being alone, both physically and mentally, is the major reason for alcoholism.

It takes weeks and sometimes months for severe cases to recover from the addiction. The people who are going through the recovery period require regular professional supervision of the medical experts. However, during the lockdown period, it is difficult for such people to get such professional help. In the absence of having the kind of care and attention they need, such addictive people are forced to go through the transition period alone at home, which is even riskier. It takes 6 to 24 hours from the last drink the addictive person have for alcohol withdrawal syndrome to start. The longer the person has been consuming the alcohol, the severe the alcohol withdrawal syndrome would be. It also depends on whether the person has shown any previous alcohol withdrawal syndrome or not. The people with alcohol dependence have higher risks of heart attack, low blood sugar levels and other life-threatening complications.

How to Deal With Addiction Alone During the Lockdown?

The people who are dealing with addiction must organise their day with a fixed schedule and make sure they do not have much idle time as it often leads the mind towards the thoughts of having alcohol and drugs.

You can replace alcohol with some regular and healthier drinks such as juice, milkshake, lassi or tea etc.

Since we have more time than we usually have during this lockdown, you can indulge yourself with physical and cardio activities, yoga and meditation to make yourself physically and mentally fit.

There is a huge importance of having a positive mind-set on your recovery level. Feed your mind with positive thoughts. Watch videos and movies that are good for your mind, talk to the people who make you happy and provide you with positive vibes.

Engage yourself with something or the other. Do not let your mind void even for a minute as it might fill your mind with negative thoughts or might take you towards your drinking again. Be busy with your family and friends. Play with your kids, spend time with your elders.

Indulge yourself with daily household things, decorating your home, play good online games, learn something new online that improves your skills and expertise. This way, you can do well in your professional career and life.

In a nutshell, distract yourself from anything that might lead you to your addiction. Create a scheduled sleep cycle and get some good sleep every day. Create a diet plan with the help of a dietician or nutritionist and follow it properly. Drink as much water as you can as it will help you hydrate yourself.

We understand that this is an unsettling time for every one of us. We all are having an emotional roller coaster right now. Having a positive mind-set, take a stronger approach and strengthening your will power are the only things that will be going to help us during this tough time of coronavirus and lockdown. Hence, we advise you to take care of yourself and your loved ones as this is probably the very time when we should stand together.