Covid 19 is Causing People to Relapse
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As the coronavirus pandemic spreads across the world, lockdowns continue.
This has forced many people out of work and into isolation, which is terrible when it comes to those in recovery.
This has hit the group of people in recovery very hard.
When you are recovering from a substance use disorder, it can be hard to maintain sobriety already, but especially when you have nothing to do all day except to stay home.
This leads to a huge amount of people relapsing during COVID-19.
It is thought that relapse occurs because quarantine brings on feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and boredom.
Although this could have originally led many people to abuse substances already, quarantine only makes it worse.
Social support and family involvement are huge when it comes to staying sober.
When you are isolated and distressed, these can easily be triggers.
Connection Between Social Isolation and Addiction
The connection between social isolation and addiction has been shown many times.
This has proved that isolation is associated with poor sobriety outcomes.
This is typically why those in treatment do so with a social circle of peers.
In early recovery, it is essential to be connected to sober peers.
This allows you to learn how to live responsibly.
If you are in social isolation you are also at an increased risk of committing violent crimes.
Signs of Relapse
Relapse is very common throughout all alcohol and drug recoveries. There is actually an estimated 40% to 60% of people in recovery who have relapsed at least one time. This is before finally achieving sobriety. Some numbers have eleven estimated as high as 90% because not all relapses are documented.
During COVID-19 it has been shown that because many people are isolated, or even isolated with family, it can be harder to stay sober. Especially if you are trying to get sober but are living with someone who enjoys using substances, it can be even harder. Signs of relapse in someone you love might include:
- Bad eating habits
- Changed sleeping habits
- Declining hygiene
- Talking to past friends who still use drugs or who they once drank with
- Bottling up emotion
- Skipping virtual support meetings
Why Does Relapse Occur?
It can be a wonder why relapse would occur after maintaining sobriety for a long enough time. Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence, and many recovering addicts experience a temporary moment of weakness. Knowing the signs can help you to avoid your own relapse.
Signs that may predict that you will relapse include:
- Not making sobriety your top priority: If you do not commit fully to sobriety then you will most likely relapse. In order to be successful, you must continue to attend meetings, have a real sponsor, go to therapy, and attend counseling. You may also need to tend to other mental conditions such as depression and anxiety.
- Not having a support system: If you are newly sober then you especially need a strong support system. Aside from that, you will need to have a good support group regardless of your stage in recovery. Be sure to ask your family and friends to keep you accountable. You can even go to a religious gathering, practice meditation, or join sober groups.
- Wanting to quit for other people: If you do not want to quit for yourself, then this is a huge flag that you may easily relapse. If you are attempting to go to treatment for your family, then the chance for relapse is incredibly high.
- Not being prepared for life after treatment: After you leave treatment you need to create a relapse prevention plan. If you do not have this then you will not succeed. This might include avoiding toxic friendships, dysfunctional family dynamics, social isolation, and unhealthy daily routines. Identify triggers whenever possible to avoid them.
Keeping family and friends as a support group can keep you focused on healing yourself. Support can also provide a stable foundation and encourage the compassion that you need at that time. Especially in isolation, this is essential.
What to do if Someone You Love Has Relapsed?
If someone you love is close to relapsing then you need to understand why. Are they beginning to express their cravings for drugs or alcohol? They may also start talking about their substance use and how they may be able to control it next to them they use it.
These can all be signs of relapse. If you believe your loved one is going to or has already relapsed, you need to give them empathy. Helping them to go back to treatment is essential in this situation. Even during COVID-19, drug and alcohol rehab centers will still be open to provide essential treatment to those who need it. This is done in a safe manner with monitoring and tests as well.
Remind Them of Their Support
All you can do if someone you love has relapsed is to remind them you love them. They may be withdrawing from you and that is a sign. By supporting you will be able to show them a safe environment. You can show them that you have created a space for honest communication. Be sure to remind them that they need to be accountable, but also try to offer them encouragement There are always options when it comes to contact, even during isolation.
Meetings During COVID-19
Meetings are essential during all parts of recovery, but especially during social isolation, they are more important than ever. If you are recovering from alcohol and drug addiction, then you will need to find alternative ways to receive ongoing support. This might include Alcoholics Anonymous, known as AA, or Narcotics Anonymous, known as NA.
These support groups have virtual meetings that can become available online. This can also be done through social media, phone calls, or even email. Whatever you do, you need to stay connected to other sober people who can help with your sobriety.
Avoiding Relapse During COVID-19
If you are in recovery from a substance abuse disorder then you need to know you are not alone. There are so many people who are also having a hard time maintaining their sobriety. Be sure to focus on taking care of yourself, this includes:
- Getting proper sleep
- Eating a healthy diet
- Keeping in touch with friends and family
- Sticking to a schedule
- Maintain as normal of a routine as possible
- Staying virtually engaged
- Reading recovery books
- Praying or meditating
- Journaling thoughts and feelings
- Completing arts and crafts
- Being creative
- Living in the moment
Getting Back on the Road to Recovery
Whatever is going on in your life you must know that relapse happens for many people in recovery.
After a relapse, you may feel that you are no longer part of the sober community.
This can make you feel shamed or regretful. It is important never to give up the fight to become sober.
Use your relapse as a tool to get healthy.
Be sure to clarify your relapse prevention plan and understand what your triggers are.
At the end of the day, you need to understand why you relapsed, and work through that.
Lay a foundation of recovery to make sure you will be even stronger.
If you need help getting back into recovery, contact us at Resurgence Behavioral Health and ask us about our free insurance verification for treatment.