The Coronavirus pandemic has emerged as a devastating challenge to both developing and the developed countries. It has shaken the global economic, social, and healthcare systems around the world. Until the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine, self-quarantine and social distancing are the only prescribed remedies to limit the spread of the virus. This health care crisis extended much further beyond people being infected by the virus. Addiction recovery in covid times was faced with many obstacles and became much more difficult. Drug addiction recovery is more difficult now than ever before.
America has had a substance use disorder problem for a long time, but statistics show that COVID-19 is making it worse. Public health officials across the US reportedspikes in deaths due to drug overdose during the COVID-19 pandemic, with more than 30 states reporting increases in opioid-involved overdose deaths. These statistics are challenging for people in recovery as they pose an adverse effect on the struggles of people trying to quit an active addiction altogether.
In the wake of the latest coronavirus pandemic, alcohol sales have increased and substance abuse has become more prominent. Based on a study by the CDC, fifty-seven percent of Americans will use drugs or alcohol for stress relief during times of high anxiety. America’s COVID-19 response has resulted in increased deadly disease addiction. A recent nationwide study reveals that drug addiction among homeless people is also rapidly increasing.
Challenges for Drug Addiction Recovery in Covid
The unique situation created by the coronavirus outbreak in terms of quarantine and self-isolation to curb the spread of COVID-19 and limit contact with people resulted in various undesirable outcomes concerning mental illness and wellbeing. The impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on vulnerable groups like patients going through drug addiction recovery is tremendous; it is specifically difficult for people in addiction recovery therapy since the COVID-19 related life changes can lead to or increase susceptibility to substance misuse, addiction, opioid use disorder, and relapse.
Drug and alcohol addiction is considered a disease of isolation and/ or abandonment. Substance abuse treatment aims to return the person to a drug-free life through family support, socialization, and behavioral therapy. Lockdown, isolation, loss of a job, financial burden, stress, depression, anxiety, and availability of plenty of free time altogether has proved to be the perfect storm of conditions for relapse and addiction. The undeniable social triggers and lack of access to addiction treatment providers in this difficult time have been a major challenge for people with substance abuse problems.
If you have a loved one who is on their path to recovery from addiction,it’s imperative to provide support and look out for them through these hard times. You can become their go-to person as they may be struggling to find a person they can confide in. Be sure to remove all the triggers from your surrounding that can instigate or encourage a relapse for people with addiction. What starts as a temporary relief for a few hours can cost you a major part of your physical and mental health.
Health Concerns in Drug Addiction Recovery
People with active addiction are at higher risk for pulmonary infections due to compromised immunity, cardio-respiratory and metabolic damage caused by drug abuse, and inadequate access to health care; failure of rehabilitation treatment programs due to minimal social interaction puts them at even higher risk. Staying at home in self-isolation puts people with substance abuse problems under physical and psychological pressure to fall back into chronic alcohol and drug use.
Alcohol and drug consumption leads to a significantly higher risk for contracting bacterial and viral lung infections, including COVID-19. An already compromised health condition and damaging effects of drugs/ alcohol misuse on the cardiovascular system further increases the fear of contracting the virus and the risk of death associated with COVID-19.
During COVID-19 epidemic, the constant flow of stressful news may lead to feeling anxious, helpless, and miserable while also making you vulnerable to a host of cardiovascular disease. Many people have begun self-medicating with drugs or alcohol during these times. Although turning to drugs may help you feel better temporarily, the long-term effects and damage you are causing actually make everything worse.
What is the First Step in Addiction Recovery?
The first step in recovery from addiction is being honest and admitting you have a problem. Once you admit you have a problem, you will be more open to the idea of accepting help. The disease of addiction thrives in secrecy, so if you’re feeling a strong urge to consume alcohol or drugs, talk to somebody. Family, friends, professionals, etc… any of these people will be able to assist you in getting treatment for substance abuse problem. Recovery resources are still available throughout the pandemic, so don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Relapse prevention is a crucial part of opioid addiction recovery; during these tough times, it is important that use your relapse prevention skills to help alleviate stress/anxiety/depression and distract your mind.
- Participate in healthy physical activities
- Take a break from the news and social media
- Watch a comedy or movie
- Catch up with loved ones
- Read a book
Know Your Resources
Online mutual support programs,online counseling, and virtual meetings with the addiction treatment center could be effective in helping individuals with alcohol and opioid use disorder when in-person treatment options are not available. Even though we are in the middle of a pandemic, resources for a person in recovery are still available
- Support Groups
- AA Groups
- 12-Step Meetings
- Narcotics Anonymous
- Inpatient Services
- Outpatient Counseling
All of these services are offered by rehab facilities eitherin person or virtually still, so call your healthcare providers and ask for services as needed.Pacific Sands Recovery Center still offers in-person services and inpatient counseling. Use this period of time to prioritize your mental health issues and sobriety, come live with us for a period andcome out on the other end of this pandemic as a better person.
Our COVID-19 addiction treatment program is here to help you fight addiction issues by providing you with a structure for sobriety. With our telehealth services like weekly online meetings, counseling services, group therapy, and other resources, we can help give you the tools you need to beat the addiction crisis in your life.
You can also call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) FindTreatment.gov and 1-800-662-HELP (4357) to connect to one of the thousands of state-licensed addiction treatment providers who specialize in treating individuals with substance use disorders, addiction, and mental illness.