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The effects the coronavirus pandemic can have on those suffering from addiction and battling mental health


The effects the coronavirus pandemic can have on those suffering from addiction and battling mental health

The effects the coronavirus pandemic can have on those suffering from addiction and battling mental health

The coronavirus global pandemic has claimed 36,042 lives in the UK so far. The invisible killer virus forced the country to be put in lockdown with strict measures confining people to their homes. But what are the effects?

The pandemic is expected to have a massive knock-on effect on peoples mental health, causing worry about how they can pay the bills, job security, depression and the possibility of slipping back into the trap of addiction.

For some people, the current high stress environment can be a domino effect adding further pressure to their day-to-day lives.

Addiction can be very easy to slip in to, or in some peoples case, back in to. Whether it’s from recreational drugs such as Cannabis, nicotine, caffeine and alcohol, to medically prescribed opioid drugs or even food.

JLDN spoke to Chris Hill at Beat My Addictions to find out some of the effects lockdown is having on those suffering from addiction or mental health: “People are over-eating with food, drinking alcohol, some have turned back to recreational drugs when they’d actually stopped.

“We have very busy lives, and when everything stops, addiction or mental health are the voices in the head.

“When you stop being busy, and the mind stops being busy, all you’re left with is the remanence of the things you may be addicted to.

“You can’t switch it off, or you don’t know how to switch it off. So sitting indoors with nothing to do, the mind’s just saying to them, get another drink, lets go do some online shopping or gambling. It has had quite a detrimental effect on a lot of people.”

Dr Marianne Trent, a clinical Psychologist backed up what Chris was saying: “In terms of our window of tolerance we think about reaching for substances as a way of coping when we cannot tolerate the thoughts or feelings we are having.

“We reach for substances in order to change something.”

Chris and his organisation which he set up after tragically losing his brother to a drug overdose as well as fighting his own addiction, aims to help those fighting the same battles he has faced.

Chris has seen an increase in people contacting Beat My Addictions during the pandemic: “At the beginning it was quite quiet, everything sort of shut down, but now at the latter stages the phone has not stopped.

“The problem that we’ve got now is as were coming out of lockdown you’re going to start to see a rise in conditions like PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), phobias and all of these other things.”

Coronavirus will undoubtably have an effect on peoples mental health, and it’ll be the job of the government health services as well as independent services to ensure that there is sufficient support networks for people to go to if they need help.

Another cause for concern is the detrimental effects that the current crisis can have on mental health which could push people towards taking their own life.

According to the BBC, just over half a million people took part in an online course aimed at training people to spot someone who may need help.

We have sadly already seen some take their lives during the current crisis, Dennis Ward was 82 when he tragically committed suicide.

Dennis is just one case out of many who have suffered at the hands of the virus which forced many like himself to stay inside his own home, isolated from friends and family.

Everyone is having to make sacrifices during this crisis, but one thing is for sure, and it’s that we will beat it.

Key workers are working hard to make sure the country doesn’t come to a grinding and catastrophic holt as well as caring for patients who are currently battling coronavirus.

With all that’s going on, don’t be afraid to reach out for help, but also offer it to friends and family, even strangers if you feel they need it.




Student journalist studying at London South Bank University, with a love for writing and a passion for sports and politics.

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