The Coronavirus and COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, has changed the way that many Americans live their lives. From devastating effects on people’s health, to the impact on the economy, the virus has taken a heavy toll on us. The uncertainty and anxiety that comes with the fear of the virus has had a varied impact on each person depending on their specific circumstances.
Social distancing guidelines, curfews, and fear of acquiring the virus have affected people’s ability to get their hands on their drug of choice. While at first this sounds like a good thing, it is actually a very dangerous situation for some people.
The physicals and mental symptoms associated with withdrawal can be life-threatening. Most addiction treatment experts recommend going through withdrawal in a medical treatment center that can reduce the impact of a person’s withdrawal symptoms. But with COVID-19 many people are having to withdrawal at home. Not only is this dangerous to the person’s physical well-being, it also does not do anything to treat the underlying causes of their addiction.
On the other hand, those that can acquire drugs find themselves isolated and bored while confined in their home, with little desire to do anything other than get high. This can raise the person’s potential for an overdose substantially.
For people in recovery, these uncertain times have caused a countless number of Americans to relapse. The isolation, loneliness, and boredom associated with “stay at home” orders have always been linked with substance use since before the pandemic.
Now is the Right Time to Seek Help for Addiction
Many people with addiction tell themselves it is not “a good time” to get the help they need. Work, classes, family, and other responsibilities are often given as reasons the time is not right. During this pandemic, most businesses are closed, many people cannot work, and anxiety is at an all-time high.
We are here to tell you now is the right time to seek help for your addiction. Without normal day to day tasks getting the way, you can be free to focus your energy on bettering yourself by attending treatment.
If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that life is precious and should always be protected. By limiting our movement and exposure to the virus, we are protecting the most vulnerable people in our society from becoming infected. Often, people suffering from addiction can be some of the most vulnerable to the virus. Drugs and alcohol can compromise your immune system, making it more likely you can become infected. By attending treatment, you can get back on the path to physical and mental wellness, limiting your exposure to COVID-19.
The Coronavirus Can Cause People in Treatment to Relapse
Relapses can be a normal part of the drug and alcohol recovery process. It is estimated that about half of people in recovery have at least one relapse before they maintain lasting sobriety. However, a relapse should be discussed with your therapist or addiction counselor right away. It is important to learn from each relapse and grow in recovery. While these times are challenging, it may end up teaching you about how you handle stress, providing you with a better understanding of yourself.
During this pandemic, some people have been isolated at home with family members who are in recovery. We urge those of you living with someone in recovery to pay special attention to their behavior and look for any warning signs that a relapse may occur. If you see any of the signs, encourage them to get back on track.
Some signs of a relapse include:
- Not attending treatment virtual support meetings
- Poor hygiene
- Mood swings and depressed demeanor
- Poor sleeping habits
- Poor eating habits (either not eating or eating to excess)
- “Romanticizing” past use
- Communicating with people still using
The bottom line, the COVID-19 pandemic should not be a excuse stop working a program. There are many online resources including virtual NA/AA meetings, telemedicine, and therapists that can help you or a loved one maintain sobriety during these challenging times. In addition, there are also other options to stay connected with your peers in recovery on social media. We encourage you to seek out these methods of support.
What to Do If A Friend or Family Member Relapses During COVID-19?
If you think your loved one has relapsed, make sure you encourage them to take steps back towards their recovery. Returning to treatment is always the best option. Rehabilitation centers are considered essential medical services that are open during all phases of planned reopening.
Is It Safe to Go to Rehab Before A Coronavirus Vaccine is Available?
Rehab centers like Pride Recovery Center are taking extra steps to ensure that every patient’s exposure to the virus is minimal. Rehab centers are regularly testing existing patients and new admissions for COVID-19. Treatment centers have been changed to comply with social-distancing guidelines set forth by the CDC. Handwashing and surface decontamination are regularly performed.
With these new guidelines in place, we believe the risk of not seeking treatment is a bigger threat than going to treatment during the Coronavirus.
You may feel that now is not a good time to deal with your addiction because of the threat of infection. We do not believe that. If you have a problem with drugs or alcohol, every day you avoid treatment can have a lasting negative impact on your life. If finding the time away from work or school to get the help you need was difficult before the pandemic, now is the perfect time. Without the distractions of work, school, and your social life, you can get the help you need to live a better life.