The trauma of the coronavirus pandemic could cause a nationwide spike in substance abuse

  • Substance use disorder researchers told Business Insider that the trauma of a pandemic may cause a spike in addiction.

  • A 2008 analysis published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the hospitalization rate for alcohol use disorders rose 35% in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

  • "9/11 and Katrina were still kind of geographically limited," Dr. Lorenzo Leggio, of the National Institutes of Health, told Business Insider. But with COVID-19, "it's everywhere pretty much at the same time."

  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Runs on liquor stores and a surge in alcohol deliveries demonstrate that many are turning to an old form of over-the-counter anxiety relief amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Who hasn't at least considered reaching for a bottle? And that, experts tell Business Insider, could lead to a sharp rise in substance abuse.

Past crises suggest that the trauma of this moment will be with us for years, the ways we cope with it potentially serving as another source of grief — and another stressor on a tottering health care system.

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