What is Substance Use?
Substance use refers to excessive, continued use, or misuse of substances, such as alcohol, drugs, or prescription medications. It can lead to adverse effects on the individual's physical health, like weight gain or weight loss; mental health, like mood swings and depression; and changes in social and professional lives.
National data indicates large increases in many kinds of drug use in the United States since March 2020, the start of the pandemic.
For example, there have been large increases in alcohol sales in the US, based on sales data from liquor stores, and the emergence of online sales and home delivery of alcohol.¹ In a large survey of 832 participants, 60% reported increased drinking compared to the years before Covid.²
Addictive behavior is used to:
- Escape mental suffering
- Numb trauma symptoms
- Change one's mental state
In addition, substances like alcohol and marijuana are often used to address trauma related sleeplessness and anxiety.
Survey conducted by the Nielsen Company - Pollard M.S., Tucker J.S., Green H.D. Changes in Adult Alcohol Use and Consequences during the COVI
Source: Grossman ER, Benjamin-Neelon SE, Sonnenschein S. Alcohol Consumption during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Cross-Sectional Survey of US Adults. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Dec 9;17(24):9