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.
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.
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.
As a mental health issue, PTSD is not confined to servicemembers and veterans. It can affect any person who has gone through a significant and terrible life event. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “anyone can develop PTSD at any age.”
Alcohol and drug use spiked, but not only among those who already faced problems. For many Americans, they suddenly found themselves developing a problem they didn’t have before.
Substance abuse can sometimes be an attempt to self-medicate an issue such as anxiety or depression. Often, they occur so closely together it is hard to distinguish which came first. Like the chicken or the egg, did the substance abuse cause anxiety or depression or did the depression and anxiety lead to substance abuse?
Five Obstacles to Substance Abuse Treatment–Shame is often at the top of the list of reasons people don’t seek help for an addiction problem. Another reason people sometimes don’t go into treatment is that they have feelings of guilt over things they may have done while addicted, as well as guilt over the people they may have hurt.
Psychological trauma is literally damage done to an individual’s mind. The damage can be caused by an event or situation, one so stressful and overwhelming that the brain loses some control over the body. The person then experiences physical symptoms as outward manifestations of the anxiety within.