1 in 5 Arizonans treated pain with alcohol or drugs during the pandemic, reveals study

A Shot to Numb the Pain?

  • 1 in 3 actively avoided seeing a doctor or dentist during lockdown out of fear of contracting Coronavirus.
  • 22% say they have tried to treat their anxiety with alcohol or non-prescription drugs since the start of the pandemic

With the coronavirus pandemic causing chaos, instability, economic stress and panic, most people have had to adjust to a new kind of lifestyle. For many, this means living with a heightened fear of public spaces due to fear of contracting the virus. In addition to the fact that many have lost their health insurance, is it possible that Arizonans have been self-treating their medical conditions to avoid seeing a medical professional in person?

RiverOaksTreatment.com, a quality drug and alcohol addiction treatment center, conducted a survey of 3,650 adults (aged 21+) which revealed that over 1 in 5 (22%) Arizonans admit they have used alcohol or non-prescription drugs to treat pain since the pandemic began.

Broken down across the country, this figure was lowest in Wisconsin (3%) and, worryingly, highest in West Virginia with 29% of respondents admitting to drinking alcohol or using drugs in an attempt to numb their pain, whether it be toothache or a bad back.

View this infographic for results across the US

Even with many states slowly beginning to ease stay-at-home regulations, some people are still afraid to be out in public for fear of contracting the virus*. However, staying home could be just as dangerous, given that more than 1 in 3 (38%) admit they actively avoided seeing a doctor or dentist during lockdown out of fear of contracting the virus.

The survey by RiverOaksTreatment.com also found that more than 1 in 5 respondents (22%) say they have tried to treat their anxiety with alcohol or non-prescription drugs since the start of the pandemic. In fact, nearly half (42%) of those polled say they would take a sleeping pill to get through the night in the event that they had no medical help to treat the pain they were experiencing.

“Drinking, or taking any substance in order to avoid pain is not only a bad idea, but it can potentially make a medical condition even worse,” said Sharon Sabb-Oce, director of nursing at River Oaks Treatment Center. “Continuing to use a substance to numb pain will eventually lead to greater consumption, so not only are you ignoring the initial complaint, but you may have caused another issue to arise. For those concerned about the risks of an in-person doctor’s clinic, contact your primary care provider or a local clinic and inquire about their telehealth services. Many providers have transitioned to virtual appointments and there may be a more reasonable option to receive care.”

*https://www.webmd.com/lung/news/20200505/as-society-reopens-not-everyone-is-ready

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