The Worst Is Yet to Come!
The ripple effect of the COVID-19 global pandemic on addiction and mental health will be enormous. If things are not already bad enough there are more psychological hurdles coming our way:
- Many governments are withdrawing their financial support programmes for businesses and individuals over the next few months which will create further unemployment-debt-depression-rioting and addiction related disorders.
- For those businesses and individuals who borrowed money to survive they are gradually going to be squeezed for their repayments also creating more psychological pressure and possible addiction problems.
- Borrowing money was perhaps made to easy and the consequences for some families may be dire! Already tenants are being removed from houses and flats that they cannot pay their rent. Some rental agencies have assisted tenants with reduced rents, but many agencies and private landlords have not, insisting on ‘full’ rental payments!
- Homeowners are at risk of not being able to pay monthly mortgages (bonds) as ‘payment holidays’ draw to a close. Some mortgage payment holidays have been extended plus interest and so yet again has this really helped? Perhaps in the short-term?
- Emirates Airlines have refunded over 90% of their clients due to the pandemic but it is not certain if all flight and travel companies have been as responsible. Whether families have been refunded or not, the reality is that many families had to cancel holidays and may be left wondering when they can afford to go on holiday again?
- There are reports of people stopping drinking or smoking cigarettes during lockdown, but these people are heavily shadowed by the amount of people who increased medication use-drinking alcohol and substance abuse.
- The newly sober are at risk of relapse due to mass unemployment and recovery agencies, especially subsidised services cannot cope with the demand. Economic decline is strongly linked to drug and alcohol abuse. Alcohol remains ridiculously cheap and easily accessible!
- There are a great number of people who have lost family members and friends during the lockdowns who, in some cases may feel angry and resentful. Especially those who had no opportunity to visit or say goodbye to loved ones before they died, this is highly traumatic.
- There is also no shortage of people who have NOT followed the rules regarding COVID-19 and whether these people have contributed to prolonging this pandemic or not, they will surely be blamed on some level! A pandemic is a great time to breed scapegoats!
- The level of global corruption is mind-blowing with no shortage of stories of people in privileged positions lining their own pockets and putting more people’s lives at risk.
- Food prices have risen dramatically creating more pressure on those living on a budget.
I have noticed that ‘pandemic’ specific therapists and coaches are a new trend which does highlight the seriousness of the pandemics overall impact. What is happening politically, especially amongst alleged superpowers is embarrassing and undoubtedly adds to general unrest. It was reported on television very recently by a prominent figure that the world is experiencing trauma on a scale that is impossible to accommodate and assimilate cognitively. The COVID19 pandemic crisis is but one crisis amidst many other crisis’s that are piled on top of one another.
David is the Clinical and Development Director of Twin Rivers Rehab in South Africa and a UK Accredited Addictions Therapist with the Federation of Drug and Alcohol Professionals UK. Articles/Blogs are written with the assistance of researchers and other specialists in the field of addiction and the recovery process