Stress from the Coronavirus Could Cause Relapse

April 1, 2020

Stressful times can often lead to stressful situations. If you’re in recovery, you likely know this. Stress can be a major trigger for relapsing into substance abuse and addiction. Sometimes you can minimize the stress you experience, but there are also times when stress comes from areas outside our control. As one might expect, the coronavirus pandemic has caused many a great deal of stress.

Luckily, there are ways to overcome the stresses caused by the coronavirus and continue living a life free of addiction.

Coronavirus Stress and Relapse

doctor explaining how coronavirus stress and relapse can be managed

Let’s face it: there are not many people in the United States who have experience with pandemics. The last one to affect the nation with in the 1910s. The surprise of having one now has caused a great deal of confusion, panic, pain, and stress. The stress from having the virus should be obvious. In this case, it’s important to follow the advice of medical professionals. If a loved one has coronavirus, stress can come from uncertainty.

Additionally, those who are uninfected are in a position where they are social distancing. Some are entirely quarantined until the pandemic has passed. This is a different form of stress, one caused by isolation and a disruption of daily routines. Human contact is suddenly less frequent. For those in recovery, this means less interaction with your support network, less regular shifts at the office, and more stress. This disruption can easily pave the way for a relapse.

Self-Care in a Time of Quarantine

With your usual coping mechanism for stress disrupted, it’s going to be important to find new coping mechanisms in order to avoid a slip or relapse. These methods can be largely holistic. For example, taking time to meditate or reflect can be a good way to detach from stress and consider things in perspective.

It may also help to get into a routine. Even during a quarantine situation, you can abide by a schedule. Waking up and going to bed at the same time can be a good way to minimize stress through getting adequate sleep. This routine can also help replace old routines that have been thrown off balance, such as a work routine. Work is good for people in recovery as it provides daily structure. But during a quarantine, work may have to be done remotely or may not get done at all. Sticking to a routine and filling the time spent working with other productive activities can help make coronavirus stress more manageable.

Destress by Talking to Someone

Oftentimes one of the best ways to overcome stress is to talk to another. This human contact can come in many forms, but most likely you’ll reach out to somebody in your support network. While social distancing guidelines may impede meeting with somebody, you can still reach out through phone or video calls.

Additionally, many who are in recovery may seek to attend Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings. While this is perfectly fine during normal times, during times of pandemic large gatherings are discouraged. To continue helping people in recovery many organizations are now offering virtual support meetings. Much like standard aftercare group meetings, people are able to call in through their computers and participate with their peers in a recovery group.

Stress and Support at AAC

man on video call to manage coronavirus stress and relapse

American Addiction Centers (AAC) is dedicated to providing crucial addiction treatment during this time of pandemic. Yet, we also want to assure our alumni that we are here to help conquer coronavirus-related stress. Our alumni network spans the nation, connecting individuals in recovery. AAC is hosting virtual support meetings, that are free for anyone to join. If you’re struggling with stress during the quarantine, know that help is just a call away.

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