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Addictions during COVID-19

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The COVID-19 outbreak is a stressful time for all of us. It can be particularly difficult for those struggling with addiction or those who have a relative or close person struggling with addiction. During the pandemic, supplies of alcohol and drugs may be more difficult to access. Withdrawal symptoms can occur that may require medical attention.

Call your local CMC or one of the helplines below if you think that you are going through withdrawal symptoms or if you feel anxious and distressed.

By keeping yourself safe you can also keep your family and loved ones safe!

What to avoid

  • Mixing alcohol and drugs
  • Sharing bottles, cigarettes, joints, vapes with others
  • Gathering in groups and not respecting the physical distancing rule

What you could do to stay safe

Watch for symptoms of COVID-19 such as fever, cough, and difficulties breathing or feeling more tired than usual; inform your local clinic or call a helpline.

  • Be aware that some symptoms of withdrawal can be similar to symptoms of COVID-19
  • Practice safe drug use; wipe all material such as bags before using
  • Follow the simple but effective rules of washing your hands often with soap and warm water, not touching your face, coughing in your sleeve or a tissue and keep a physical distance of 2 meters or 6 feet from others.

How do you know you have withdrawal symptoms?

Alcohol withdrawal

Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include: shaky hands, nausea, vomiting, faster heart beat, sweating, nightmares and high blood pressure. Alcohol withdrawal is possibly an urgent medical problem and may need to be treated with medication.

Cocaine withdrawal

Symptoms of cocaine withdrawal include: Feeling nervous, irritable, depressed and mentally and physically weak. When stress levels are high, your withdrawal symptoms can get worse. You may feel more depressed or even have suicidal thoughts.

Amphetamine withdrawal

Symptoms of amphetamine withdrawal include: Shaky hands, excessive sweating, fatigue, headaches, dizziness, blurry vision, muscle tension or aches, nausea and vomiting, insomnia and restless sleep, oversleeping, difficulty breathing, apathy or depression, irritability or anxiety, difficulty concentrating, mood swings, strong cravings, hallucinations (seeing and hearing things other don't), paranoia. 

Cannabis withdrawal

Symptoms of cannabis withdrawal include: Irritability, difficulty sleeping, loss of appetite, restlessness,
nausea and abdominal pain


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