Managing Substance Use and Addiction During COVID-19

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Emily Kumlien
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UW Health COVID-19 Resources

Madison, Wisconsin - Recent data suggests alcohol overuse has become a rising problem in the Dane County area during the COVID-19 pandemic. In recent months there has been a 37.9 percent increase in ambulance calls for people with substance-related emergencies compared to the same time frame in 2019.


This can stem from challenges managing addictions due to disruptions in professional help or in-person peer support activities such as Alcoholics Anonymous groups, or simply due to increased stress and isolation. It can also stem from use by people who might not have an addiction but are using alcohol or other substances as an unhealthy coping mechanism during COVID-19, according to UW Health addiction experts.


UW Health wants the community to know that while physical distancing remains of the utmost importance to prevent the spread of COVID-19, it is also very important not to completely isolate yourself from others. If you or someone you love is struggling to manage an addiction or using alcohol to cope with extended isolation and stress, reach out to friends and family for phone or video conversations and stay connected. Seek social support and practice self-care. There are also several resources available to help, many of which can be done online or via telehealth. AA groups are increasingly meeting virtually, for example. Contact your care provider or mental health professional for support or to request a counselor. UW Health offers Addiction Services including the UW Health Behavioral Health and Recovery Clinic and the Adolescent Alcohol/Drug Assessment Intervention Program.


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Date Published: 05/18/2020

News tag(s):  coronavirusdaily update

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