Promiscuity and substance abuse among Covid-19 stressors

Director of the Family and Social Services Division, Feona Charles-Richards (file photo)
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By Shermain Bique-Charles

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Early on, experts revealed that limitations to do with the Covid-19 pandemic have had substantial unintended consequences on the patterns of alcohol consumption among Antiguans and Barbudans.

But now we are hearing that the restrictions are also driving some residents into a culture of promiscuity, as a negative way to deal with the stressful climate.

“Promiscuity, is another aspect we see happening. Persons may have random sex with other persons unprotected, with a combination of utilising substances,” said the Director of the Family and Social Services Division in the Ministry of Social Transformation, Feona Charles-Richards.

Charles-Richards who, was a guest on state television earlier this week, said this kind of behaviour is a recipe for disaster because “not only is the person having unprotected sex to give them a risk of STDs but it also increases the aspect of addiction.”

Public health protocols, such as social distancing, are necessary to reduce the spread of Covid-19, but they can make people feel isolated and lonely and can increase stress and anxiety.

The family life director explained because the human brain is designed for protection, and once “the brain feels there is going to be pain or something bad is going to happen, it seeks pleasure”.

There have also been reports that domestic violence has been identified as a Covid-19 stressor.

“That has been happening for a while, but it is compounded by Covid-19,” she added.

Eating disorders, according to Charles-Richards, is one of the most under-reported issues in dealing with the stress brought on by Covid-19.

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