Coping After COVID: Dealing with Addiction During a Pandemic


Dr. Robert Baillieu discusses how the COVID-19 pandemic has specifically impacted patients dealing with addiction problems.

Episode highlights

0:21 Intro
2:14 Short-Term Impacts
3:22 Long-Term Impacts
5:17 What Can Be Done?
8:23 Hindsight
10:34 New Addiction Patients
12:40 Different Types of Addiction
13:55 Biggest Issue Then and Now
14:40 Advice for Doctors and Patients

An increase in clinical addiction for recreational drugs, alcohol, and opioids could emerge as 1 of the biggest byproducts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Missed treatments appointments, financial stress, and health concerns for friends and family members are all reasons to believe addiction problems may have been made worse by the events of the last 18 months.

Individuals who engage in more illicit activities are also at an increased risk of contracting COVID-19.

There is also the chance that more and more individuals have developed addiction problems over the course of the pandemic.

But there is some hope that doctors can reverse this tide and continue to treat patients dealing with addiction problems.

On the heels of International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking 2021 held on June 26, this month’s episode of Coping After COVID: Navigating Psychiatry After a Pandemic will focus on addiction patients.

I was joined by Robert Baillieu, MD, MPH, Physician and Senior Clinical and Practice Advisor, Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, SAMHSA, to talk about some of these issues.

Baillieu discussed how damaging the pandemic may have been for this patient group, what can be learned by the circumstances, and what the government is doing to curb some of the addiction problems that arose.

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