Addiction can affect many people in many different ways. Often, when we think of addiction – we might think of gambling, drugs, alcohol or smoking. However, you can be addicted to almost anything. As lockdown continues, many people are finding the conditions and restrictions incredibly difficult. Managing an addiction during this time can add to the anxieties that many people are currently facing.
It could be that you have only just realised that you are addicted to something, because the lockdown has prevented you from accessing whatever it is you’re addicted to. Perhaps you have been addicted to something for a while, and you feel the lockdown is forcing you into an involuntary detox. Maybe, you have been in recovery for a while, and the lockdown is either triggering or preventing you from accessing your usual support. Finally, it may be that being in lockdown and having more time and accessibility to different things is actually increasing an addiction – for example, being addicted to video games or online gambling.
Whatever your experience of addiction is, there are some steps that you can take if it is something that is impacting you now:
- Stay in touch with your support. If you already have support in place – get in touch with the service that offers you this. It may be that they can offer this support over the phone, or virtually. Although meeting online is not the same as face to face – keeping connected with counsellors, or peer support groups can be incredibly beneficial for your wellbeing.
- Look for places to turn. If you do not have support in place, or are looking for other places to turn – it might be worth looking at the Helplines Partnership website. They have a list of helplines and you can search by themes – you can access this by clicking here https://helplines.org/helplines/
- Don’t forget the things that help. Sometimes, people may be prescribed medication to support them with an addiction. If you need help to pick up prescriptions because you are self-isolating – get in touch with your local council, or pharmacy to find out what support they are offering near you. Most areas now have volunteer teams that are offering to do this for people.
- Medical professionals can still help you too! If you are detoxing, or want any advice about withdrawal symptoms – we encourage you to seek medical advice. Your GP may still available during this time for telephone appointments. Get in touch with your local GP surgery to find out more about what they are offering.
- Be kind. Be kind to yourself – remember you are living through a pandemic, and it’s ok to feel the way you are feeling. It’s new territory for everybody, which means using new coping mechanisms and distraction techniques, if the ones we usually use are not available, or no longer working.
- Stick to routine. If your addiction seems to be worsening due to the restrictions enforced by lockdown – please follow the advice above. Something that could also help, is trying to stick to a routine and have focuses throughout the day. This will help to keep your mind occupied and to include a bit of normality into these unprecedented times.
If you are experiencing thoughts of suicide – remember, you are not alone. HOPELINE247 is open Monday-Friday 9am-10pm and weekend and bank holidays 2pm-10pm. We are ready to listen to you and help you to keep safe from suicide. To reach out for this support you can either:
Telephone: 0800 068 4141
Give yourself the permission to seek the help that you deserve with your suicidal thoughts, and get in touch with HOPELINE247.