We continue to help South Floridians rebound during the Coronavirus pandemic. It’s touched just about every corner of life and that includes people dealing with addiction.
“We’ve seen memes online about quarantines, and we’re seeing an uptick in that and anecdotally I’ve seen it with my friends as well,” said Joshua.
The quarantine has forced millions of people to stay home and many are increasing their alcohol consumption during this time. According to a study by Nielsen, alcoholic beverage sales shot up 55% in the third week of March compared to the same time a year ago.
Joshua Joseph, Clinical Mental Health Counselor at South Florida Integrative Medicine, says isolation can negatively affect those with substance use disorders.
“It’s not just an issue with people who are using substances falling into a gradual or developing dependency or an addiction. There’s also an increased risk in people, who are already in the stage of maintenance and not using substances, relapsing,” said Joshua.
COVID-19 has shut-down in-person support group meetings, stripping the community from human interaction, but Joshua says there are organizations that are offering virtual meetings.
“There are other organizations that one can type in their zip code and come into contact. There are hotlines that the National Institute of Health has for free that a person who doesn’t have insurance can take part in and get pointed in the right direction,” said Joshua.
Larry, a 29-year recovering gambling addict, says the 12-step program for addiction recovery saved his life.
“My first meeting, I listened to 12 or 13 people talk, this was back in ‘91. Everyone was talking about me. And I realized for the first time in my life that 'wow, I’m not alone',” said Larry.
Larry says the daily phone and virtual meetings, especially during the pandemic, continue to help through his recovery and he highly recommends it for those who are struggling during this difficult time.
“It’s the first step, going to, whether it's about drugs or alcohol, AA, NA, GA, SA whatever it is. If you have a problem, there’s a program for it. And that’s what’s important. They're all listening. There’s people that want to help people,” said Larry.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, Joshua recommends to reach the SAMHSA hotline at 1-800-662-HELP or visit PsychologyToday.com to find a counselor near you.
For the Gamblers Anonymous hotline, call 1-855-222-5542.