Background and Objectives: The COVID‐19 pandemic and control measures may have increased the risk of abusing addictive substances as well as addictive behaviors.
Methods: We present an initial online survey in 6416 Chinese about the relation between the COVID‐19 pandemic and addictive behavior in China.
Results: During the COVID‐19 pandemic, 46.8% of the subjects reported increased dependence on internet use, and 16.6% had longer hours of internet use. The prevalence (4.3%) of severe internet dependence rose up to 23% than that (3.5%) before the COVID‐19 pandemic occurred, and their dependence degree rose 20 times more often than being declined (60% vs 3%). Relapses to abuse from alcohol and smoking abstinence were relatively common at 19% and 25%, respectively. Similarly, 32% of regular alcohol drinkers and 20% of regular smokers increased their usage amount during the pandemic.
Conclusion and Scientific Significance: These three coping behaviors (internet, alcohol, and smoking) during this COVID‐19‐ related crisis appear to have increased the risk for substance use disorders and internet addiction.