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Jun 30, 2020

Addiction and COVID-19: How the Virus Affects Those with Existing Addictions

Submitted by The Discovery Institute

COVID-19 can already affect a healthy human body. If you’re suffering from addiction, you’re at higher risk for developing even worse coronavirus symptoms.

This sudden disruption of daily life can be devastating for people who are recovering from addiction, people who depend on routines to stay sober. Discovery Institute breaks down how COVID-19 affects addiction, as well as any virtual mental health resources that can help people during this time.

Addiction wreaks havoc on the body. Addiction weakens the immune system and destroys internal organs. Methamphetamine can damage blood vessels in the brain and heart, tooth decay and respiratory problems, while excessive alcohol consumption can cause cirrhosis of the liver, brain damage and cancer. Opioid use disorder can result in pulmonary damage. Smoking marijuana can also put pressure on the lungs, weakening them.  Contracting COVID-19 while suffering from an addiction can further accelerate the impact of the virus on the body.

COVID-19 can also affect the mental health of not only seemingly healthy individuals, but those suffering from addiction.

A sudden disruption in routine is already hard enough for healthy people, leaving them depressed, anxious and stressed. For those recovering from an addiction, this change can be especially surprising and confusing. Those recovering or suffering from addiction might already deal with mood disorders, which results in co-occurring disorders. They usually self-medicate to deal with depression or bipolar disorder, and this can make their mental health symptoms worse.

Visit the Discovery Institute’s website to learn more about coronavirus and addiction.