Has Uncertainty Around Covid-19 Fueled Addiction?

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Ever since the first few months of the Covid-19 pandemic experts have seen more people dealing with depression, substance use disorder, and a range of other mental illnesses. Despite the increased difficulty of providing medical care during a viral pandemic, the best drug and alcohol rehabs in Florida, including our facility in Panama City, have seen an increased need for treatment capacity the last several years. On this blog we covered the myriad added difficulties that people with addiction or alcoholism would likely face because of Covid-19, and all those worries have come to fruition. We may have even underestimated some of the most serious ill-effects the pandemic would bring. According to Medline, uncertainty about the future during this current Covid-19 pandemic has a major influence on drug addiction, suicidal ideation, and clinical depression,

“Findings show that uncertainty facing the COVID-19 pandemic had a direct and significant influence on negative emotional states and a significant inverse effect on resilience; in the trajectory, drug addiction and alcoholism, and suicide ideation are explained.”

We will go into more depth about the effect uncertainty is having on individuals during the pandemic, which is currently worsening again as the newly discovered Omicron variant spreads across the globe.

Pandemic Uncertainty in Negative Emotional States

Many of the best drug and alcohol rehabs in Florida, including rehabs like Florida Springs in Panama City, will have experiential data regarding increased depression, anxiety, and drug and alcohol use during the last year or two. The study I found for today’s article brings more clarity to this important issue and discusses the specific downsides of the uncertainty brought to people’s lives by this viral pandemic.

The scientists behind this study used a process known as equation modeling to determine the effects of uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The things they wanted to study included both resilience (as a mediating variable) as well as drug addiction, alcoholism, and suicidal ideation. They studied over 5500 cases in the northern parts of Mexico, including Baja California. They sent an email questionnaire to these 5500 patients, and looked at various hypotheses related to uncertainty, resilience, and negative emotional states like depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders. Findings showed that uncertainty from the COVID-19 pandemic had a direct and significant influence on negative emotional states and a serious negative effect on resilience in the face of those consequences as well. Resilience is an important factor to look at when discussing mental health disorders which include suicidal ideation, because an increase in depression and suicidal thoughts and a decrease in resilience can lead directly to more deaths and injuries from suicide and attempted suicide. The authors made this statement on the importance of resilience,

“Resilience is defined as the ability to recover from adversity when faced with a traumatic situation, a loss, or a catastrophe, and strengthening resources, competencies, and emotional connection after the experience [[32]]. It is also understood as a dynamic process that involves resisting, building, and self-affirming [[33]]. Resilience has been a topic of study for more than four decades since noting that children in hostile or highly-violent environments were able to develop characteristics of great strength and resistance, living an everyday life.”

In the discussion section of the study the authors note that patients with character strengths including higher optimism and resilience dealt better with this current pandemic crisis and the uncertainty that goes along with it. The authors also postulate that worsening sleeping and eating habits could be partly to blame for increases in negative side effects from uncertainty, as most of the side effects looked at in this study are strongly associated with sleeping and eating habits. The best drug and alcohol rehabs in Florida and across the country must be aware that patients are at an increased risk from uncertainty during this pandemic, and things as simple as sleeping and eating habits can actual help patients deal effectively with the pandemic. Drug and alcohol treatment centers should also remain focused on building resilience and optimism, as well as positive self-image, as these traits are very useful at all times, but especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.

By T.A. Cannon (Contact me at TACannonWriting@gmail.com)


“Influence of COVID-19 Pandemic Uncertainty in Negative Emotional States and Resilience as Mediators against Suicide Ideation, Drug Addiction and Alcoholism.” Garcia-Rivera et al. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. December 7, 2021.