It’s safe to say that 2020 has been a year full of twists and turns. Amid the coronavirus, the United States has also undergone a presidential election. The normal stress and anxiety that accompanies this event have been amplified by the pandemic and further social divides that have become more prominent within the past few years. With the social divides and pandemic, many people have turned to substance abuse to cope.
As a drug rehab in Pennsylvania, we know that people often resort to drug or alcohol abuse to relieve any negative thoughts or emotions they may be experiencing. However, a few drinks a day can quickly turn into alcoholism. Once a person develops an addiction, they may require professional help to get sober.
How Elections Affect Substance Abuse
The effects of the election on addiction are more prevalent than you may think. Even though the elections are important for our nation, the connection between the elections and substance abuse is concerning. Politics have always been a stressful topic of conversation. Many family dinners have been ruined by conversations about the presidential elections. However, the stress of elections has proven to go beyond the dinner table.
A poll conducted by the American Psychological Association in 2016 shows that 57 percent of Americans identified the presidential elections as a significant source of stress. And nearly 49 percent felt the same way regarding the results of the elections.1 Managing this anxiety is difficult because of the influx of politically related advertisements, commercials, news, social media posts, and conversations during elections. Many individuals who suffer from anxiety disorders or severe stress often turn to drug or alcohol abuse to manage their symptoms.
The effects of the election on addiction may also persist if the individual has a history of drug or alcohol abuse. Several studies have shown that individuals exposed to high levels of stress or anxiety are more likely to engage in substance abuse or relapse — especially if they’ve previously undergone a detoxification treatment.2 Stress is one of the main causes of relapse in people who have received addiction treatment. Regardless of the length of time an individual has been sober, stress is always an underlying threat to their recovery. Because the individual likely began abusing drugs or alcohol to self-medicate, they may associate their addiction with comfort. In times of emotional stress and discomfort, they may begin to crave their substance of choice once again.
How to Manage Election Season and Addiction
At Clearbrook Treatment Centers, we know how difficult it can be to manage the stress brought on by politics. As time progresses, the presidential elections and substance abuse have been further linked to each other. Regardless of whether you have a history of drug or alcohol abuse or you’re trying to find a temporary solution to your worries, substance abuse is never the answer. Addiction is a disease that can completely change your life. Although there are various programs for different substance abuse disorders, the best thing you can do for yourself is to find healthy ways of coping with the effects of presidential elections.
There is a variety of things you can do to manage your stress during elections:
- Limit your social media use
- Limit your television time
- Practice self-care (yoga, meditation, bubble baths, etc.)
- Avoid drugs and alcohol
If you do fall into substance abuse, our Pennsylvania rehabilitation center offers programs including our residential treatment program that offers individuals with addictions professional treatment and a safe place to recover.
If you or someone you know is struggling to quit an addiction, get help now by calling us at 570-536-9621.