Mental health during the coronavirus has been strained for each and every one of us, for one reason or another. We can’t go where we want to go, we can’t do what we want to do, we can’t see who we want to see and we’re stuck in a reality-distortion field where we don’t really know what and who to believe about our very survival. The daily grind of existence caused by this pandemic is testing the mental health of even the most emotionally centered, and it’s creating particular risk for those struggling with co-occurring addiction and mental illness.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that nearly eight million American adults suffer from a dual-diagnosis disorder (co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorder). Ongoing treatment for these types of conditions requires simultaneous care for both the addiction and mental health issue, whether it’s depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder or anything else. Any disruption in the continuity of progress, whether it’s isolation-related depression, health-related anxiety or the inability to interact with their care team how used to, can lead to relapse in both conditions…one follows the other.
We’ve already seen rising rates of drinking during the pandemic and the forecast of widespread relapse, due to logistical and mental health issues associated with the pandemic; it’s more important than ever that you or your loved one take matters into your own hands to preserve mental health if you struggle with a dual-diagnosis issue. Here are some tips to start:
Make A “Covid” Care Plan
The first thing you need is the peace of mind of knowing that you can still see your care team and get treatment. This just means adjusting expectations of treatment accessibility, knowing how your therapists and doctors are dispensing care during social distancing and knowing how to access them in times of crisis. One of the main risk-drivers of poor mental health during the coronavirus is uncertainty as to how to see your doctor; doing this little bit of research and knowing that you’re not entirely on your own can make all the difference.
Media and Mental Health During the Coronavirus Don’t Always Mix
Information is coming at you on your phone, tablet and TV at 450 miles per hour (really, we checked…just kidding, but you get the idea) and some of it is just not true. Even the parts that are true can be incredibly upsetting, and there’s no reason why should have to live in that world 24-7. Being informed is not the same as being consumed; news is not the same as noise. Try limiting media consumption to an hour or two a day and fill the rest of your days with the things that make you happy.
Challenge yourself to learn and do new things and reward yourself when you do it. Spend some time curating playlists of your favorite music; Zoom, Skype or “Hang Out” with friends and family; learn how to cook something yummy and maybe get outside a bit. If there is one remotely positive aspect of mental health during the coronavirus pandemic, it’s that it’s “allowed” us all to slow down a bit, regroup and find new ways to pass the time. For many, this means doing things they want to do, but don’t always have time for.
Don’t Let Strained Mental Health during the Coronavirus Pandemic Give Way to Addiction
Whether or not you’re in recovery, pandemic-related stress can easily create circumstances that trigger substance abuse. If you or your loved one are struggling, Recovery Unplugged is ready to help. We offer multiple locations across the country providing all levels of care, and we’re ready to help you regain your control and peace of mind during this uncertain and scary health crisis.