Even with the initial shock of COVID-19 behind us, its effects have spread deeply to almost every aspect of daily life: jobs, relationships, routines, recreation — almost everyone has experienced the impacts. The continuing stress and uncertainty have also affected mental health and feelings of isolation, both of which are known factors in the occurrence of substance abuse.
But, even though COVID-19 has made life more difficult for those struggling with addiction as well as those in recovery, help is still available. Understanding how the pandemic has affected addiction can help you overcome it, so we’ll look into why the pandemic has hit this group so hard.
How Much Has COVID-19 Impacted Substance Abuse?
The CDC found in June 2020 that 40% of U.S. adults were struggling with mental health and 13% began or increased their usage of substances due to COVID-19.  And tragically, there has been a nearly 27% increase in overdose deaths from 2019 to 2020 as well. 
Why COVID-19 Has Impacted Substance Abuse
Though COVID-19 cannot be blamed entirely for the increase in substance abuse, there is plenty of evidence — both researched and anecdotal — that it has played a major role in these spikes.
Increase in stressors: Loneliness, economic anxiety, grief, even boredom — these results of the pandemic also contribute to substance abuse.
Lack of outlets: Stressors were coupled with a lack of access to healthy coping methods and outlets, such as exercising at the gym or engaging with social groups.
Dangerous isolation: Abusing substances while alone makes it more likely for someone to overdose alone, which is extremely dangerous.
Reduced resources: Across medicine, there was a shift in resources to treating COVID-19, and the loss of mental health and addiction support made it harder for those suffering from addiction to get help.
A Pandemic-Friendly Solution: Telehealth IOP
Addiction recovery is a lifelong process that requires consistent effort, even when a pandemic has affected the entire world. Telehealth intensive outpatient (IOP) treatment has allowed addiction treatment clinics to adjust to the changing circumstances of care.
Clients can safely engage with staff and other clients in group sessions that help alleviate feelings of isolation, and offer a safe and healthy outlet for quarantine frustrations and boredom. Telehealth also grants access to services that may not have been available due to social distancing or busy schedules.
Clients only need internet access, a phone or laptop, and an email address. A good telehealth IOP is the same valuable, discreet treatment you’d receive in person, but safer in a post-COVID-19 world.
COVID-19-Conscious Addiction Rehab at The River Source
At The River Source, we understand that the stressors and realities of suffering with addiction don’t stop just because of COVID-19. The pandemic can make it even harder to find help and stay sober, which is why we’ve configured our telehealth services with these unprecedented concerns in mind.
We’ve identified the need to counter these new addiction triggers with frequent group work, honest conversations, and working to find healthy solutions and outlets that are safe in a pandemic. Even though we may not be able to be physically there with you, we are here for you, even during COVID-19.
When you contact us to start one of our telehealth options, the first step in the process will be creating individualized care tailored to your needs as an individual. We will build an online schedule to help support you in recovery, while remaining as flexible as possible. Take the first step towards reclaiming your life and contact us at The River Source today.