Some of the most significant risk factors for addiction include economic insecurity, social isolation, and stress. COVID-19 brought all those in extra portions, wrapped up in a giant bundle of uncertainty. No wonder, then, that women who were struggling with addiction before the pandemic are now finding it even harder to stay sober, and so many women who were not previously addicted have now turned to drugs and alcohol to cope with the stresses of the global pandemic have created. More women than ever are in need of treatment for substance use disorders.
The Risks Created by Global Economic Insecurity
When COVID-19 shut down the world, very few people were not affected economically. For those with stability and plenty of savings, this may have meant making changes and sacrifices. Others may have had family or friends to help them out. However, for the majority of women in America who were living paycheck to paycheck, having no income or losing jobs altogether was devastating—not knowing if and when they would be able to return to work and bring in income made the situation that much more stressful. This was an unprecedented global economic crisis.
For some women who had the resilience, emotional resources, and support to reach out to family, friends, church, or other groups, or access to therapy via telehealth, dealing with such immense stress due to economic insecurity may not have been as emotionally devastating. For many women, however, in addition to economic insecurity, they lack the emotional resources to cope with this level of stress alone. So many women developed anxiety or depression as a result. Many of these women chose to self-medicate to try to cope.
Paying the Price for a Pandemic of Social Isolation
Human beings are social creatures. While we learned to use technology to create ways to replicate social interaction during the pandemic, the loss of being able to look one another in the eyes, walk hand in hand, and hug each other created a void that was impossible to fill. Being isolated for so long from one another on such a global scale was also something we have not seen before in our lifetimes. The sheer loss of life with so many families unable to mourn or get closure was also devastating. This level of loss and social isolation has created mental health issues that we have not yet even fully realized yet.
The price for this isolation has been heavy, with demands on mental healthcare overwhelming the system and many more people reporting that they are unable to access healthcare. In conjunction with the economic insecurity, too many women have been left paying the price for their mental wellness, unable to afford or access the care they need to heal. Instead, many of them turned to substances in an effort to escape the pain of loss and isolation from COVID-19.
How COVID-19 Increased Stress Levels for Women Worldwide
While the pandemic increased stress levels for everyone astronomically, women were often the most impacted. It was women who took on the extra household responsibilities of having everyone at home 24 hours a day, seven days per week. Moms had to figure out how to be caregivers, teachers, and employees simultaneously, all from home.
There was no daycare, no maids, and no elder care. There was no one to help working women who had to figure out how to do their jobs from home and run a household simultaneously. No one to help single moms who were already stretched thin mentally. All of this stress needed an outlet, and many women, turned to drugs and especially alcohol to try to relieve some of that stress.
The Way Women Have Coped in a World of Uncertainty
With so many new and increased stressors during COVID-19 and so much unstructured time, substance use went up significantly during the pandemic. Women who were already struggling with addiction relapsed, and women who did not previously abuse substances developed addictions due to extensive or heavy drinking or drug use. This is how the women of the world coped in a world of uncertainty, and this is how the number of women with substance use disorders grew so significantly during this time.
As the world continues to find some sense of normalcy again as the pandemic has become less deadly and isolating, women with addiction have found that they need treatment. The Ho Tai Way – Recovery for Women continues to help women find their way back again, finding the root causes of their addiction in order to access complete healing. Despite the uncertainties that we are still facing, you can begin your recovery journey now so that you are better equipped to manage whatever comes your way.
COVID-19 created a perfect storm of risk factors for addiction and co-occurring mental disorders such as anxiety and depression. Between the economic insecurity, the social isolation, the stress, and uncertainty, women were often challenged beyond their emotional resources. Using drugs and alcohol to cope with the stress of a global pandemic created an unprecedented number of women with addiction. The Ho Tai Way – Recovery For Women can help find the root cause of your addiction through detox and residential treatment. Our trauma-informed treatment can also help you with co-occurring disorders such as anxiety and depression. Our Costa Mesa, California facility is a calm, peaceful refuge from the stress of a global pandemic. Our staff are compassionate and non-judgmental and are here to help you find your way again. How can we help you find wellness after COVID-19? Call us today at (714) 581-3974.