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Pandemic-Related Concerns Associated with Substance Use

The findings, which appear in Psychiatry Research, suggest the pandemic could adversely affect mental health for years to come. 

(This article originally appeared in Medical News Today)


A study of 160 people in the United States finds associations between worries around COVID-19 and substance use. The authors warn that the pandemic may increase the risk of substance abuse in some people and advocate for specific interventions to protect mental health.

Beyond the physical effects of the novel coronavirus, the onset and continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic have dramatically affected people’s mental health in the United States and worldwide.

recent study highlighted how levels of depression in the U.S. have tripled during the pandemic. Symptoms of anxiety may also be on the rise, according to recent trends in Google searches.

Understandably, the pandemic generates fear in many people, as the world finds itself in an unprecedented situation filled with uncertainty.

People manage uncertainties in different ways, but there is a risk that the stress the pandemic causes may trigger an ongoing mental health problem in some people.

Stay informed with live updates on the current COVID-19 outbreak and visit our coronavirus hub for more advice on prevention and treatment.

A recent study led by the University of Houston, TX, finds that worry about COVID-19 may be a risk factor for substance use, which could, in turn, lead to misuse in some people.

The findings, which appear in Psychiatry Research, suggest the pandemic could adversely affect mental health for years to come.

COVID 19 Concerns

This study explored worries and fears about COVID-19 among three groups of people: those who do not use substances, people who were substance users before the pandemic, and people who started to use substances during the pandemic.

The substances in question included alcohol, cigarettes, cannabis, e-cigarettes, stimulants, opioids, and other drugs. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, these are among the most commonly used substances in the U.S.

In total, 160 people took part in the online study between April and May 2020.

The survey took around 30 minutes to complete and included questions about COVID-19 exposure and diagnosis, fears and worries about the pandemic, and a series of questions about substance use, including when and how people used substances and why they did so.



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