Since early March, communities across the United States have been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. While many people have gotten sick, many more have found themselves in the midst of a “new normal,” working from home and social distancing as much as possible. Though these strategies work to help curb the spread of the virus, they can also contribute to unexpected difficulties. For those who struggle with addiction, the uncertainty of the present moment and spending extended time alone can be a dangerous cocktail. If isolation and loneliness during the pandemic are challenging for you, there are some healthy coping strategies you can use to stay connected.
Loneliness During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Before the coronavirus swept across the world, the idea of social distancing was foreign. This practice involves putting physical distance between individuals to help keep the virus from spreading as quickly as it otherwise would. Many cities and communities used the language of “safer at home” to describe social distancing–remaining at home instead of going out to parties, stores, restaurants, and other gathering places. While these practices have helped keep communities safe, this new reality has also changed the way we live. For those who are used to spending time with friends and family and enjoy connecting with others, isolation coupled with uncertainty can be difficult.
Tips for Coping With Loneliness and Isolation
If isolation during quarantine or working from home have caused you to feel anxious, depressed, or more likely to turn to drugs and alcohol to cope, consider the following strategies to deal with these feelings:
- Reach out to loved ones – Even if you can’t be physically present, talking on the phone or over video chat can help you feel connected again
- Exercise regularly – Walking, running, stretching, or doing an online workout can help relieve stress
- Take advantage of telehealth services – Many addiction treatment centers and therapists are currently offering virtual sessions
- Find a 12-step meeting – Virtual or socially-distant meetings can provide the accountability and support you need to maintain sobriety
- Stay on a regular schedule – Make it a priority to get enough sleep, eat regular meals, and take care of yourself
If you are feeling anxious or depressed due to loneliness during the pandemic, don’t hesitate to reach out for help.
How Isolation and Addiction Are Linked
While social distancing and quarantining have helped to slow the spread of the coronavirus, these practices have also contributed to feelings of stress for some individuals, which can be a trigger for substance abuse. Addiction can feed on isolation, as many people who struggle with addiction try to hide their habits from friends and family. And for those who have worked to overcome addiction issues, they have likely utilized in-person therapy sessions and group meetings for accountability and support. Without these treatment options, some individuals might feel like they don’t have support in recovery.
However, many addiction treatment centers are offering telehealth options so that patients can continue treatment while socially distancing. If you are struggling during quarantine, you are not alone, and finding a support group can help.
Addiction and Isolation Help in San Diego at Soledad House
At Soledad House, we provide addiction treatment services for women in the San Diego area. If isolation and loneliness during the pandemic have been difficult for you or a loved one, we can help. Although isolation can make addiction recovery challenging, our team provides the support and interventions that you need to recover. Through our outpatient addiction treatment services, you’ll discover how to live without drugs and alcohol. And in group therapy, you’ll find a network of support that will help you feel less alone.