Avoiding a Relapse During Social Isolation

  • Addiction experts are worried that the isolation required to combat the coronavirus pandemic can trigger a relapse for those who struggle with drug and alcohol use. Our youth are no exception.  

    One major factor in substance abuse recovery can be the relationships and connections formed in therapeutic sessions and support meetings. The increased likelihood of relapse may be because folks in recovery do not have access to in-person meetings or counseling, or isolation can exacerbate mental health issues that lead to drug and alcohol use.

    Here are some helpful tips for avoiding relapse during social isolation due to COVID-19. 

    1. HALT: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired
      Check in with yourself. Are you hungry, angry, lonely, or tired? These are high-risk situations for those in recovery. When you bring awareness to these feelings you can be vigilant in preventing yourself from entering those states.
    2. Stay Active 
      Stay active by going for a walk each day our doing a full workout every other day. There are tons of tips online for working out without weights or equipment if you don't have any at home. Try a fun YouTube video or download the Couch to 5K app and build up your running stamina. Whatever you do, stay active. 
    3. Avoid Over-Confidence
      Being over-confident about the state of your recovery can cause complacence which puts you at risk for a relapse. Practice humility and help those around you as much as you can. And remember that you suffer from a chronic disease and can never have "just one". 
    4. Mind Your Mental Health
      Mental health disorders can be a major trigger for relapse. Make online or phone appointments with your doctor and therapists and be honest about how you're feeling. Make sure you do not run out of prescriptions by planning ahead. Ask for help where you need it. Making your mental health a priority will go a long way in avoiding relapse. 
      Here are some resources if you need them: 
    5. Relationships
      Stay connected to others. Text your friends. Call your grandmother. FaceTime your cousin. Make sure you take time each day to stay connected to others. Reach out and ask how they're coping. 
    6. Get to an online meeting
      There are many online resources for meetings.