In the addiction recovery community there is a saying that goes “the opposite of addiction is connection.” While the coronavirus has caused us to take many important social distancing measures to protect our physical health, we must also understand the mental health impacts of social isolation. People in our community are feeling anxious and overwhelmed and are increasingly turning to drugs and alcohol to help cope with the stress.
According to a recent study from the Kaiser Family Foundation, 45% of adults in the United States report that their mental health has been negatively impacted due to worry and stress over COVID-19. It was further stated in the study that, "[d]uring this unprecedented time of uncertainty and fear, it is likely that mental health issues and substance use disorders among people with these conditions will be exacerbated."
Between the middle of February and mid-March this year, anxiety, depression and sleep medication prescriptions jumped 21% across the nation. And Ohioans in March this year purchased 1.38 million gallons of liquor, nearly 25% more than March 2019.
As a community, we must understand that when anxious feelings become overwhelming to you or a loved one, leading to irritability, insomnia, inability to concentrate and increased substance use, it could be a massive warning sign to take extra steps to focus on mental health.
Ohioans have demonstrated our ability to come together during this coronavirus pandemic. In order to minimize the mental health risks this pandemic presents, it’s more important than ever to stay connected and supportive and talk to your loved ones about the dangers of prescription drug misuse. For more information, visit dontliveindenial.org
About the Ohio Opioid Education Alliance
The Ohio Opioid Education Alliance is a coalition of business, education, nonprofit, civic and government organizations formed by the Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health (ADAMH) Board of Franklin County to educate and prevent young Ohioans from misusing and abusing opioids.