Pandemic stress and loneliness are making addiction more common

Substance use, from alcohol to opioids, is on the rise, as are behavioral addictions, such as gambling, overspending and binge eating. Getty Images

(Daryl Austin/ Today) — The pandemic shuttered small businesses, caused a bevy of product shortages and has taken the lives of nearly a million Americans. It has also contributed to increased substance abuse as a way to cope with the stresses and losses of COVID-19, according to the American Medical Association, Centers for Disease Control, American Psychological Association and recent studies.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve observed a significant rise in mental health problems including depression, anxiety and  addiction,” said Dongju Seo, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine. 

Chris Foresta, a recovering heroin addict from Las Vegas and author of “Redemption Bridge: My Story of Addiction and Recovery,” said he has witnessed pandemic-related addictions firsthand. “So many of my friends have relapsed during the pandemic,” he said. (…)

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