Substance Abuse & Mental Health Consequences of ‘Shelter in Place’

Although necessary for the greater good, the ‘Shelter in Place’ order imposed by Illinois, among other states, may have unintended effects on many of our clients and others with past drug or alcohol dependency.

The closure of bars, restaurants and other gathering places along with the social distancing recommendation encouraged by the government and media is resulting in a higher degree of isolation. The inability of the average person to socialize with others may result in the onset of anxiety, loneliness and depression. As a consequence, those individuals susceptible to such feelings may attempt to ‘self-medicate’ through the consumption of alcohol or drug-use. These feelings may make it even more difficult for those with pre-existing alcohol or drug problems who are in recovery to avoid relapse.

Recent media reports have indicated that there has been a substantial increase in alcohol and marijuana purchases during the current COVID-19 health crisis. Liquor stores and cannabis dispensaries are both deemed essential businesses and remain open. Bars and restaurants still have the ability to sell alcohol to customers through delivery as well as curbside pick-up.

Our attorneys and staff are increasingly concerned and encourage our clients in need of help as well as the community at large to take advantage of available resources. Support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, have begun providing alternatives to in-person meetings such as online gatherings.

If you need to speak with a therapist or mental health professional, phone and online meetings have made it easier than ever before to get the help you need. Helpful contact numbers include:

Alcoholics Anonymous – (773) 235-1534

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA) National Help Line – (800) 662-4357

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – (800) 273-8255

If you are facing legal troubles, many law firms, such as ours, are allowing phone and video consultations with our attorneys without the need for an in-person office visit.

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