The Impact of Isolation on Addiction

Isolation has become, in many ways, forced upon us. Between stay at home orders and mandatory curfews, living in solitude for the struggling addict is a life-threatening situation. Emotional and social loneliness has been directly linked to individuals with substance dependence disorders, making this subject even more important, during this time. (source: National Institutes of Health)

Drug & Alcohol Abuse on the Rise

Drugs and alcohol are used to fill a void caused by these isolating circumstances. Those looking for a quick fix often turn to substances and compulsive behaviors to appease psychological needs. The impact that these recent events has had on workforces most susceptible to addiction, cannot be ignored.

Industries at Highest Risk for Addiction during Isolation

  • Food Service – 16.9%
    • Unfortunately, with the closure of many restaurants, servers, bartenders, kitchen staff, bussers, hosts, and other dining staff have been left without income. This already high-risk industry is now faced with increased substance abuse issues.
  • Entertainment – 12.9%
    • Movie theatres, gaming establishments, indoor sports, and gyms have all been affected, leaving employees without jobs in these industries. Being without this social environment can put this group in a position to use drugs and alcohol more frequently.
  • Retail Shopping – 10.5%
    • Increases in shop from home and curbside pickup during this time has put brick and mortar retail in a tough position. These measures have stores reducing staff and for some even filing for bankruptcy. Having more idle time at home is never a good situation for the already struggling addict.
  • Transportation – 9.1%
    • Taxi drivers, bus operators, and ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft have been found to be an alternative source of income for many workers. Since April rides have dropped significantly, even causing Uber to close nearly 50 offices. (source: Uber Cuts 3,000 More Jobs As Pandemic Squeezes Ride-Hailing)

Social Distancing doesn’t mean be Anti-Social

To combat the emotional effects caused by job loss and economic strain, it is important for us, as addicts, to keep in touch with our support groups, friends, and loved ones. Maintaining this level of accountability is crucial to survival, especially during these difficult times. Using virtual face-to-face apps to communicate like; Facetime, Zoom, Skype, and other online or mobile platforms is a great way to ensure you are keeping tabs on yourself, through others.

Using Dating Apps During Isolation

Dating apps for many are a way for people to get to know each other. As an outlet for connection, dating apps can be positive for true friendships and relationships. There are positives and negatives to dating app use like, Tinder, Grindr, Bumble, etc. (read more on Addicted to Tinder or Grindr? What’s At Risk)

Where can it be an issue?

However, for some addicts, there is a dangerous and darker side to compulsive dating app use. For example, the sex addict, when active in their addiction, may use dating apps to hook up with multiple anonymous sexual partners and engage in destructive drug use (i.e. meth or crack). What once started off as a desire to fill the void of loneliness, now leads to the consequences of guilt, shame, and fear. Never before have these feelings been more pronounced, throughout all addictions, than during this time of pandemic and self-quarantine.

Isolation has become, in many ways, forced upon us. Between stay at home orders and mandatory curfews, living in solitude for the struggling addict is a life-threatening situation.

There is a Better Way

Prescott House is providing that community and structure away from the dark hole of active addiction. At the Prescott House, clients will be immersed in a healthy community, based around friendship and therapeutic support. It is a community focused on togetherness and recovery.

Additional References:

https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/report_2716/ShortReport-2716.html

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