The pandemic is stressful. Or, let’s be frank - it really sucks. People are working from home, not seeing friends and family and have been cut off from most/all engaging activities. Many have turned to substances to curb negative feelings or escape boredom. While isolation can be challenging, quarantine can actually provide an opportunity to spot and address any problem behaviors, especially if you're already concerned.
What are some signals that using substances to cope has gone too far? Here are some warning signs to watch out for, whether it be for yourself or a loved one:
You might think, I see those warning signs in myself or a loved one but, what is there to do about it? Here are some pandemic friendly resources you can access:
Staying inside and isolated from the world around you might feel safe, but it can be dangerous in various other ways, some of which are listed above. Be honest with yourself and be honest with those closest to you. Luckily, technology allows us to connect in ways that were not possible only a few years ago. Therapists like myself have had to transition to a hybrid online/in-person practice. While this has been challenging to get used to, for both myself and clients, it provides significant benefits such as not having to battle LA traffic to arrive late for your 50 minute therapy appointment or, arriving so stressed from sitting in traffic that it’s hard to settle and begin session, whenever you do happen to arrive. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a therapist or counselor, as having an unbiased viewpoint, having somebody caring about your well being, can serve a unique and valuable purpose during this time. That being said, try to avoid, “If it gets that bad, then I’ll consider therapy.” You have the opportunity to address any issues before it has to get worse. Addressing any problem is easier to do the sooner you decide to face it.