An article published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine titled “Benzodiazepine Misuse: An Epidemic Within a Pandemic” states:
“COVID-19 had deleterious effects on patients with mental health problems and several studies have shown a spike in the rates of depression, insomnia, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Anxiety and insomnia rates have also increased among both the general public and health care professionals. Benzodiazepines are some of the most commonly used drugs in the treatment of anxiety and insomnia. However, benzodiazepines are also misused, abused alone, or abused in combination with other drugs. Lockdowns and social distancing have also had negative consequences on patients with mental health problems.”
Increased rates of benzo addiction during the COVID-19 pandemic can be largely attributed to this perfect storm of related issues. People are developing anxiety disorders and sleep disorders as a result of COVID-19-related stressors, and medical professionals are prescribing benzos to help combat these issues. However, because people have limited access to additional mental health resources like intensive behavioral therapy, support groups and a range of stress-reducing activities, they are beginning to abuse their medications at higher rates. Additionally, people who have struggled with a substance abuse disorder in the past and who have entered into a program of recovery might be having a more difficult time staying on track. Many in-person recovery meetings have been moved to virtual platforms, for example, and peer support is an important component of most recovery programs. If you or someone you love has recently started abusing benzos or has experienced a relapse after a period of sobriety, CuraWest is available to help.