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Article: Growing Addictions

Growing Addictions
medicine

Growing Addictions



I was an Addiction Medicine Register dealing with heroin intravenous drug use and general substance misuse (whether that be drugs or alcohol) in Sydney, Australia. When I returned from Australia I also continued dealing with substance misuse in London prescribing opiate substitutes along with other addictions.

Covid-19 has caused us to become socially isolated. I have seen and heard:
Alcohol and drugs (also known as SUD - substance use disorders)
Social Media
Mobile phone use
Gambling

These are some of the things people turn to when people are suffering. This is not a new phenomenon, people often tend to revert to addictions when there is stress in their life, however it has become more exaggerated. There is also a collective suffering of nations who have to endure two waves of covid-19 especially in Europe.

What I have found that helps and I often do this with my patients is to look at their past when they used to have a hobby, whether that be painting, running or reading. Try to look back and focus on something you use to enjoy and make the most of it. I am not saying it will substitute things but it will start helping improve your general wellbeing.

During times of stress try to enforce this by promising yourself one thing you could do e.g. draw a painting/sketch, go for a run or read one chapter. Start with it once a week and I promise you it will start becoming more enjoyable.

Task - what is one hobby you use to enjoy? Try to spend some time thinking about it and allocate 30 minutes a week to try it out. 20 minutes to do the hobby, 5-10 minutes to reflect on the activity.

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