The Coronavirus and its Impact on People with Addiction

If someone in your family is teetering on the edge of needing professional help for their addiction problem, the Coronavirus outbreak and the corresponding media blitz may be the final straw.

Governments and healthcare professionals around the world are warning people to avoid public gatherings and consider working from home. All based on the fear of contracting or spreading the Coronavirus. Businesses are banning non-essential travel and stores are sold out of nonperishable food and supplies.

For people already struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, these warnings are a license to isolate and also double down on drug use. Isolation and disconnection from other people are the lifeblood of addiction.

People who suffer from addiction may also display symptoms of depression, anxiety, OCD, trauma, compulsive behaviors, hypochondria, and a variety of other mental health issues. Addiction and mental illness often present similarly, making it difficult to tell them apart.

Leaving a person with these health issues home alone, with their drug-of-choice and around the clock news coverage from CNN and Fox News to keep them company, is a recipe for disaster. Add in the never-ending cycle of political prognosticating and you have a recipe for an addiction binge.

If the afflicted person suffers from a process addiction, such as binge eating, gambling, gaming, online shopping or pornography, the result can be even worse than somebody with chemical addiction, if their employer has mandated a temporary work from home policy.

If someone in your family is one of these people and you have been considering getting them help, now may be the time to act. I can’t imagine an addicted person not being negatively impacted by the Coronavirus.

Traumatic events like September 11, 2001 or an outbreak can intensify an already fragile person’s situation if they’re struggling with addiction and mental illness. Don’t forget they found their addictions in the first place because they were trying to alleviate uncomfortable feelings.

Marc Kantor is the founder of South Florida Intervention which helps families struggling with the devastating effects of addiction. He can be reached at