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Treatment for Anxiety and Substance Use Disorders During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Challenges and Strategies

: The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to exacerbate existing anxiety and substance use disorders (SUDs) and increase vulnerability among individuals previously free of these conditions. Numerous pandemic-related stressors-coronavirus infection fears, social distancing and isolation, activity restrictions, financial insecurity and unemployment, caregiving or childcare responsibilities-place a substantial burden both on the general population and on many health care providers. Anxiety symptoms such as worry, tension, irritability, difficulty concentrating, and sleep disruption are increasingly prevalent. For individuals in SUD treatment, anxiety can complicate efforts to achieve treatment goals. In this commentary, we outline the potential impact of anxiety on substance use problems during the COVID-19 crisis and describe key behavioral, pharmacological, and digital health treatment considerations. We highlight populations of special concern due to heightened vulnerability and challenges accessing services, strategies to support health care providers, and directions for future research.

Authors: Satre, Derek D; Iturralde, Esti; Ghadiali, Murtuza; Young-Wolff, Kelly C; Campbell, Cynthia I; Leibowitz, Amy S; Sterling, Stacy A

J Addict Med. 2020 12;14(6):e293-e296.

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