A: The stress of the pandemic and isolation may increase stress and increase the risk of substance use for many people.
Still, even in this pandemic, we are inspired by the dedication of many who continue providing resources and supports. We have noted some in our previous post: 1-Virtual groups, 2-Therapy, 3-Medications for opioid use disorder, 4-Collaboration with your primary care provider for treatment or additional resources, and 5-Access to Narcan (Naloxone) to help reverse the effects of overdose. Previous post linked here
*Not sure if you are struggling with substance use? You could take this simple screener to guide.
While this is not meant to diagnose you, it may help you to understand more about whether or not substances are making it difficult for you to function in your daily life.
*And for those struggling, it may help to consider these principles as you are seeking support:
1-Start with your goals. Are you ready to reduce use? Or are you ready to stop? It is important to be realistic about where you are.
2-Consider the potential effects of your current use. What would you like to be different? Focus on one area of change at a time.
3-Notice what may be influencing your ability to stop using a substance. Are you struggling because you are alone, for example? It may be worth considering pairing with a trusted friend who can support you in your goals. Are you struggling with anxiety? Recognizing anxiety and working on alternative coping strategies may be beneficial.
4-Decide what will work for you. How can you make a virtual format feasible (as most supports are virtual right now)? Do you need to schedule appointments or meetings multiple times per week to ensure you are accountable? Make a plan that is best for YOU.
5-Focus on what you can control at this time. This may be sleep, nutrition, or even scheduling. You can remove triggers or unsafe items from the home (such as prescription medications or alcohol). There are many uncertainties, but shifting focus to things in our control can help to reduce anxiety and stay in the moment.
6-Seek connection. That may mean texting, calling, or even joining an online exercise class at your local gym. Isolation can be a major trigger for substance use.
Finally, we want to highlight that tomorrow is the National Prescription Take Back Day in the United States. You can safely and anonymously turn in both prescription and non-prescription medications without questions. You can find more information here alongside additional treatment resources.
The stressors are real and the times are challenging. But taking even one action towards reducing substance use can make a difference.
Those Nerdy Girls