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Will the COVID-19 Pandemic Fuel a Wave of Addiction?

Will the COVID-19 pandemic fuel a wave of addiction? The 2020 pandemic is still a significant problem throughout the globe — especially here in the U.S. In addition to the physical issues associated with the virus, more research surfaces about the pandemic’s lasting mental health effects.

Unfortunately, many predict that mental health professionals won’t keep up with the number of people who need help with depression and anxiety due to this pandemic.

That means more people will undoubtedly turn to other coping mechanisms. As a result, we will likely see a wave of addiction in the coming months and even years.

Since February 2020, doctors and ER units nationwide have already seen an explosion in alcohol-related issues. Sales of alcohol have also consistently gone up throughout the pandemic.

Knowing this, how do we approach this wave of addiction?

The Mental Health Impact of COVID-19

COVID-19 has caused plenty of more issues than merely physical illnesses. People who once dealt with addiction are at a greater risk of relapsing. Those who feel as though they don’t have anywhere else to turn may look at alcohol or harder drugs like opioids for the first time.

What aspects of the pandemic are contributing to these mental health issues?

The biggest one, undoubtedly, is loneliness. Even if you consider yourself to be an introverted person, people are social, by nature. Feeling completely isolated and disconnected from others can make you feel alone, without any support. Studies show the negative impact of loneliness lasts for years. It can even impact your physical health.

Of course, it’s impossible to ignore the uncertainties of this entire pandemic. People have lost jobs, children run risks going to school, and even though places have started re-opening, many states still have mask mandates.

There is still so much anxiety surrounding COVID-19, and it only builds up with the upcoming (and volatile) presidential election. Feelings of anxiety combined with feelings of loneliness, are often a recipe for disaster.

How People Cope on Their Own

Because depression and anxiety are so prevalent, there are a variety of ways to deal with them. Some people take medication; others seek therapy. Sadly, far too many people find harmful ways of coping, including drug and alcohol use.

Pseudo Comfort

Since January of this year, for example, Texas has seen a massive rise in both alcohol and guns/ammo sales — which is a horrible combination. But, people are looking for ways to numb whatever worries they may be feeling. That goes far beyond alcohol into harder drugs. When you learn more about opiate addiction and the brain, you find that it can lead to euphoria feelings. Who wouldn’t be looking for that right now?

Unfortunately, the effects of drugs and alcohol don’t last, so people need more and more to get by.

Substance Abuse

Will the COVID-19 pandemic fuel a wave of addiction? Absolutely. But, there is hope for those feeling anxiety from the effects of this pandemic.

If you are feeling anxious, depressed, stressed, or overwhelmed, you are certainly not alone. Still, you also don’t need to turn to a substance that will only compound the issues.

Even if you can only reach out to someone digitally, do whatever it takes to make connections and find your support system. The times are still uncertain. Together we will see it through, and you don’t have to depend on substances to feel better about the state of the world.

Feel free to contact me if you’re struggling to get through this pandemic or visit my page on opiate addiction and the brainto learn more about how I can help. Together, we can work on more effective ways to work through your anxiety so you can manage your symptoms daily.

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Am I Drinking Too Much? – Learn 4 Early Signs of Alcoholism

Alcoholism is a term that gets thrown around quite frequently when we think people drink too much. But, there’s more to it than that. Genetics, family of origin and many other factors play a role. It can get confusing pretty quickly. So, what are the early signs of alcoholism?

When someone’s drinking gets to the level of what we call alcoholic, the “habit” of drinking turns into a disorder that harms their everyday lives.

There are also different stages of alcoholism, including the early stage, chronic alcoholism, and end-stage. Alcoholism also often comes with various symptoms at each of these stages. During the early stage, signs might be harder to see or more comfortable to brush off as something else.

But, the earlier you catch the signs of problem drinking, the better your chances are for recovery.

Let’s take a look at 4 of the early signs of alcoholism.

Drinking Alone

One of the early signs of alcoholism is drinking in private. Alcoholics are often social drinkers. However, if you find yourself drinking privately or trying to keep your drinking habits a secret, it could be a sign of an even bigger problem.

Isolating yourself from others so you can drink in secret indicates that you have some understanding that your drinking has become excessive.

Many people who have a drinking problem tend to keep drinking throughout the day (alone). Mainly because when they’re not drinking, they feel hungover or sick in some other way.

Making Excuses

Do you find yourself making excuses for your drinking habits? Maybe you tell someone you’ve had a long day, or that you just want to relax. Perhaps you even make excuses to yourself to justify drinking.

When you feel you have to make excuses for how often or how much you drink, it’s typically a red flag pointing to a bigger problem.

Another sign is if someone questions you on your habits. Do you become irritated quickly, or “snap” at them with your justifications? Alcoholics often isolate themselves from family members and close friends because they don’t want to face the reality of a potential problem.

Losing Interest in Other Hobbies

People who struggle with alcohol often lose interest in things that once brought them joy or things they were actively involved in. Drinking becomes your priority over almost everything else.

Have you started to make excuses not to do the things you once loved? Do you find yourself choosing to drink instead of going out and having fun?

Losing interest in your hobbies can be dangerous because you can eventually start to lose interest in any self-care. This approach makes it easier to fall down the spiral of alcoholism quickly.

Feelings of Guilt

One of the most notable early signs of alcoholism is guilt. When you have the wherewithal to know you’re drinking too much, pay attention to the way you feel. Do you feel ashamed of your habits? Do you ever think you should cut back on how much you drink?

Guilt is often a big reason why alcoholics drink alone or in secret. As you can see, most of these early signs connect in some way.

These early signs of alcoholism often go away as the disease takes over, and drinking becomes even more problematic. That’s why it’s so important to notice them early on, so it’s easier to recover and not let alcohol consume you.

It’s All Relative (well, maybe not all)

If there are heavy drinkers or others with addiction in your family tree, then you are at much higher risk yourself. That’s not to say that there are not other factors that weight in; of course there are. But genetic predisposition is high in family trees where others have struggled with addiction too.

If you’ve seen any of these early signs of alcoholism in yourself, or you’re worried about someone you love, don’t hesitate to get help immediately. Visit my alcohol addiction counseling page for details. This approach can help you to deal with the effects of alcoholism, even in the earliest stages.

You don’t have to wait until the problem completely takes over your life. Feel free to contact me for more information or to start getting help today.

 

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The Skinny on Meth Addiction: A Brain Function Beat Down

Meth is one of the most highly-addictive drugs in the world. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most dangerous. Meth addiction continues to plague the country. They are even often glamorized thanks to shows like Breaking Bad.

But, there’s nothing glamorous about the effects of crystal meth or what it can do to your mind, body, and life.

Getting high on meth impacts your body physically, but it also impacts the brain and neurological system. Meth addiction is actually categorized as a disease of the brain.

The earlier you can recognize the signs of addiction, the sooner you can seek out treatment and help for yourself or someone you love.

The Innocent Beginnings of Meth

Meth was originally developed in the early 1900s as a way to help people who struggled with breathing issues. Healthcare professionals still use it today for cases of ADHD, and even narcolepsy. But, its reputation has far surpassed its medical uses. Today, it is commonly referred to as a street drug.

What does meth actually do when you take it? It helps to boost your energy and can make you feel like you need to be more active and talkative. It gives off euphoric properties, especially when users inject it. Meth releases dopamine into the brain, which contributes to the high, euphoric feelings.

Unfortunately, that high doesn’t last long. That’s why it becomes so easy for an addiction to form. The user keeps wanting (and eventually needing) more for the high to linger.

What Are the Signs of Addiction?

Any type of stimulant addiction is dangerous. But when it comes to meth, the effects are downright scary. Some of the most common signs of an addiction include insomnia, poor hygiene, and even psychotic behavior.

Long-term use can make the effects of the drug worse. People who have dealt with addiction for a long time can develop severe psychotic problems, including delusions and paranoia that can last for several hours at a time.

An overdose of meth can create chest pains, difficulty breathing, and can even render someone unconscious and unresponsive.

How to Treat a Meth Addiction

The earlier you treat meth addiction, the better. The longer it goes untreated, the higher the risk becomes for severe psychological and physical issues.

Unfortunately, early withdrawal symptoms often make it difficult for people to stay in treatment. Withdrawal can put users in a severe state of depression. However, the process does get better for people who genuinely want to kick the habit and stop using.

There is no magic pill or drug that can fight back against meth addiction. Therapy is typically the best way to help someone quit the drug and take control of their lives once again. Many times, therapy will start at a medical or addiction treatment facility, especially if the addiction has been going on for a long time.

If you recognize the signs of addiction early enough, though, seeking help from a therapist on your own terms can help you to break the chains before you get in too deeply.

Typically, meth addicts need additional services after therapy. These help to keep users from relapsing. Most meth addicts have specific triggers, and having a support system in place during the recovery period will make it easier to manage triggers or avoid them entirely.

If you or someone you know is struggling with methamphetamine addiction, it’s never too late to seek out treatment. The lasting effects of meth addiction can be severe and life-threatening.

Don’t go one more day without making sure you, or someone you care about, gets the necessary treatment. Feel free to contact me for more information, or visit my stimulant addiction page to learn more.