In recent years, the nation has seen a rise in “microdosing” which involves the use of small amounts of psychedelic drugs to improve mood. These tiny doses may only make up one-tenth or less of an average recreational dose.
As the pandemic continues to make headlines, less attention is given to the rise in addiction-related deaths. The American Medical Association Advocacy Resource Center recently reported, “The AMA is greatly concerned by an increasing number of reports from national, state and local media suggesting increases in opioid- and other drug-related mortality
Addiction is sneaky. It begins as a way to feel better, relax or to party a little with friends. As time passes, it begins to take a little more to feel the same way a little used to make you feel.
People in the throes of addiction sometimes behave in ways that are contrary to social norms. When they lie or steal to get the substance needed to prevent their painful withdrawal symptoms, or when their behavior is aggressive or paranoid because of their substance use, people who know and love them sometimes have difficulty maintaining compassion and sympathy.
On September 14, 2020, the National Institutes of Health released a disturbing report showing that individuals with substance use disorders are more likely to get COVID-19 and suffer more serious complications from it.
Statistically, people are living longer and healthier lives. But the changes both physically and mentally, and even how medications, alcohol, and other substances are processed in the body do occur with aging.
Mental health experts and substance abuse treatment practitioners have long been concerned that the COVID-19 pandemic and associated mitigation activities such as physical distancing and stay-at-home orders would lead to increases in depression, trauma, and substance abuse.
Another thing that can lead to relapse is Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome or PAWS. PAWS isn’t the same for everyone, with some people experiencing no symptoms of PAWS, while others may have varying symptoms that decrease with time, but can continue for as long as two years.
The American Psychological Association defines trauma as an emotional response, yet we know that our bodies suffer physical symptoms as well. Indeed, a trauma-inducing event can wound all of our systems. It can affect our thought processes, sleep, digestion, immune systems, outlook on life, and how we feel about ourselves and others.
While Pysciatry.org indicates that “one in 11 people will be diagnosed with PTSD in their lifetime,” it is important to remember that such numbers, as high as they are, fail to take into account undiagnosed PTSD cases. There is an untold percentage of sufferers who have never seen a doctor, never gotten help, and perhaps attempt to “self-medicate” as a way to cope with the pain.