We are the collective creator of our own agony. It is time for a re-awakening of consciousness when we recognize the best in ourselves and overcome the worst. ~Lawrence Overmire Americans are increasingly housebound and left to their own devices as the Covid-19 quarantine stretches into months. Measured reactions to the stress, boredom, and loneliness reveal that people are drinking more booze, vaping more cartridges, toking more weed, watching more porn, and smoking more cigarettes. Self-medicating is all the rage. Online alcohol sales in the United States rose 243% in the week ending March 21st, according to the market research firm, Nielsen. Responding to the need, Instacart offers delivery of alcohol in 14 states and Washington, DC. Drizly an alcohol distribution website advertises beer, wine and liquor delivered in under 60 minutes. According to Flowhub, sales of cannabis in California, Colorado, Oregon, and Alaska increased by 50% from March 16th to March 22nd. The virtual sex-trade that profits from human trafficking, isolation, and addiction has also gotten a lift from the pandemic. Pornhub.com, the leading adult entertainment website, saw a 12% increase in global traffic from February 24th to March 17th. Social distancing is also proving profitable for makers of vibrators. Sex toy sales in the United States were up 75% since the first week of March.
Comfort eating is again in vogue. Surveys from several New York State Whole Food Markets during the beginning of the lockdown revealed that snack foods were the first to sell out. Popcorn, chips, doughnuts, and candy were flying off the shelves in the first three weeks of quarantine. Nestle boss, Mark Schneider, remarked that the $310 billion candy maker was struggling to keep snacks in markets. Current behaviors may temporarily alleviate the anxiety, worry, and monotony of the stress of lockdown, but at what costs to our future health? As we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic with pornography addiction, liver disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease, the long-term impact is not lost on market predictors. Porn Hub and the makers of Novo Nordisk, the world’s biggest diabetes treatment, stand to benefit well from the virus. We owe it to ourselves to pause and think about how the pandemic is affecting us individually. Some of my clients report giving themselves a “pass” to engage in unhealthy behaviors during the quarantine. As a mental health and addictions counselor, that presents a troubling solution that can lead to addiction and hard habits to break. The best predictor of the way we respond to triggers and temptations tomorrow is the way we are responding today. Reaching out for help during this difficult time may be the best way to insure a healthy future. Below are resources for online and telephonic help. Each group has a website and listings of meetings:
- Moderation Management moderation.org
- Smart Recovery smartrecovery.org
- Celebrate Recovery celebraterecovery.com
- Overeaters Anonymous oa.org
- Gamblers Anonymous gamblersanonymous.org
- Sex Addicts Anonymous saa-recovery.org
- Sexaholics Anonymous sa.org
- Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous slaafws.org
Crisis Text Line or Text 741-741 If you or someone you love is struggling with unhealthy coping skills, there is help. You can prevent a problem from developing into an addiction. Please call 703-646-7664. Therapists are available for in-person, telephone, and video sessions.
Nancy Kirk, LCSW, CSAC, CSAT-Candidate is a therapist with Insight Into Action Therapy. She specializes in both chemical and process addictions, specifically sexual. She is available in both the Ashburn and Fairfax locations. You can reach Nancy at 703-646-7664 or [email protected]