How COVID-Related Stress Will Impact People with Substance Use Disorders in 2021


COVID-19’s impact on the world in 2020 is undeniable. In the United States alone, 16.8 million people have tested positive for the virus so far and more than 305,000 people have died.

In addition to the global pandemic’s impact on our physical health, there have been economic and emotional ramifications, too, all of which have taken a toll on the mental health of millions of Americans. This added stress has been shown to worsen the conditions of people struggling with substance use disorders such as alcoholism or drug addiction. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 40 states have reported increases in opioid overdose fatalities since March this year.

If you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed this year, you’re not alone. There are many COVID-related factors that can contribute to stress and exacerbate a person’s addiction, including:

  • Self-isolation: Social distancing guidelines implemented to prevent the spread of the virus have prevented people from hosting or attending gatherings, visiting their loved ones, and engaging in other social activities. A key part of recovery from substance abuse is connection, as loneliness often fuels addiction and makes people feel like they have no one to turn to for help or advice.
  • Loss of financial stability: Millions of Americans have been laid off due to the country’s ongoing economic crisis, and many are still struggling to find employment when countless companies have imposed hiring freezes. People may be feeling stressed about their finances, especially if they’re on the verge of being evicted from their homes, and may turn to alcohol or drugs as a result.
  • Illnesses and deaths among loved ones: A person may also be stressed or experience feelings of grief when their loved ones become ill or pass away, whether from COVID-19 or some other illness. These feelings become even stronger when people can’t gather with family members or friends to say goodbye to someone who has died.

How Will 2021 Be Different?

There is a glimmer of hope as the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is now slowly being administered to Americans, starting with our health care workers and other essential employees. However, it’s important to know that we’re in for another few months of isolation in 2021 while the rest of the public awaits their turn.

People with addiction or who are in recovery and have felt the stress of 2020 are encouraged to continue practicing their healthy coping mechanisms and connect with others virtually, whether through FaceTime calls with friends or virtual therapy sessions. If you’ve relapsed or are fearful of relapsing due to stress, we recommend seeking professional help from a facility that can treat both your addiction and any mental health-related stress, anxiety, or depression you may have.

Offering Dual Diagnosis Treatment & More

Decision Point Center helps individuals with addictions heal and recover, including those with co-occurring disorders, or disorders that include both substance abuse and mental illness. If you have an addiction and a mental disorder, there is nothing to be ashamed of. In 2018 alone, approximately 9.2 million Americans experienced a mental illness and substance use disorder at the same time.

By treating both the addiction and the mental disorder, our team can give you the tools you need to reclaim your life and confront your stressors with confidence and a healthy mindset. Since 2004, we’ve been committed to developing individualized treatment plans so every person we serve has the chance to improve their lives.

Call Decision Point Center at (844) 292-5010, or contact us online to learn about our various programs and how our team approaches alcohol and drug addiction treatment.

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