In the midst of this pandemic, there is a lot of talk about people who are more at risk for COVID-19 than others. Medical professionals encourage elderly people, people with underlying respiratory conditions like asthma, people with autoimmune diseases, and several others to be even more cautious than the average person regarding exposure. However, a recent study has found that there is another group of people to add to that list. That would be people who have addiction disorders. According to HealthDay News, the study consisted of, “analyzing the health records of more than 73 million patients in the United States. People with addiction disorders accounted for just over 10% of those in the study, and nearly 16% of COVID-19 cases.” 1 If you suffer from substance abuse, reaching out to an addiction treatment center could help with additional protection against COVID-19.
Tobacco and Opioid Addiction and COVID-19
COVID-19 was found to be especially common in people with tobacco and opioid addictions. This is presumably because of the respiratory issues that often come with frequent smoking and opioid use. Smoking can also cause lung cancer, and we already know that people with cancer or other dangerous illnesses face serious risks when it comes to contracting COVID-19. These preexisting conditions along with COVID-19 can be lethal. A recent study showed that people with addiction were more likely to require hospitalization or die from COVID-19. 1
Social Aspects of Addiction and COVID-19
Another factor contributing to the dangers of COVID-19 and addiction disorders is the fact that people with addiction are often marginalized and stigmatized among their communities. This prevents them from learning about the necessary precautions to take against COVID-19. In addition, people with addiction disorders often come from low-income areas or are homeless. This is often a barrier them from being able to afford or have access to necessary medical help. 2
People who are homeless face an even greater risk. Their greater exposure to public places and to possible transmission of the virus is significantly higher. This is even more prevalent for people in prison who are current or former drug users. Unfortunately, we are beginning to see an increase in the spread of COVID-19 in prison populations where access to healthcare may not be adequate for the increased need. The close quarters and shared space of people in prison don’t help this situation.
The HealthDay study also found that black people with a recent opioid use disorder diagnosis had more than four times the risk of COVID-19 than white people. High blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and kidney disease — all risk factors for COVID-19 — were more common among black patients than whites with opioid use disorder.” 1
Addiction Treatment Center See a Rise in Substance Abuse During the COVID-19 Pandemic
In addition to addiction disorders causing greater risk for COVID-19, it is also causing addiction rates to spike. Addiction disorders are often worsened when a person is alone and isolated. Stress, anxiety, and depression may also worsen addiction. These co-occurring disorders often lead to a greater desire to drink or use drugs. Unfortunately, these mental health concerns are even more prevalent among many Americans in 2020.
Get Help From a Top-Rated Addiction Treatment Center
All of this said it is most important to stay aware of how addiction can affect your risk level for COVID-19. Of course, the best way to reduce your level of COVID-19 risk due to addiction is to reach out for help from an addiction treatment center. If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction disorder, contact Ocean Hills Recovery today.
About the author:
Greg opened his home and heart to alcoholics and addicts in 2003. He is a Certified Addictions Treatment Counselor (CATCI). Starting in 2009 Greg has fostered the growth of Ocean Hills Recovery into one of the most respected and effective treatment centers in the area and has been working with people with addictions since March of 2001. Greg believes in a holistic approach to recovery. His focus is on drug alcohol addiction treatment with a combination of 12 Step work, therapy and counseling, and the rejuvenation of the body through healthful eating and exercise. He has designed his program to foster a family-like atmosphere and believes that people in recovery are just beginning their lives. He encourages the people he works with to learn to enjoy life in sobriety. Greg is married to Nicole; they have two adorable sons together and an energetic yellow Labrador Retriever.