The Continued Challenges of COVID-19 and Addiction
There is one thing we know for sure: COVID-19 is changing everything. School closures, business shutdowns, and mandatory stay at home orders are in place. People wearing masks in public, social distancing, and working from home are now a strange new norm. Similarly, hospitals and clinics are full, the economy is suffering, and to top it all off, there is no toilet paper.
It seems like nothing is in its proper place right now. This pandemic is truly affecting every human on the planet in a huge way. As we adapt, our social behaviors are changing drastically. Likewise, our mental and emotional states are being challenged.
Although this may only be a minor inconvenience for most people, for those struggling with addiction, it can be more like a nightmare.
Mentally and emotionally, sufferer’s minds can be fragile as they are forging their path to full recovery. Although they may be doing their best, Coronavirus puts them in a vulnerable position.
Being in social isolation, and not having the support they may need, is hard even for the average person. Along with this, they might be at a higher risk of contracting the virus itself.
However alarming these facts may be, there is still hope. Part of getting through this difficult time is knowing what challenges might be in store for you.
According to many addiction specialists, the disease is an “illness of isolation”. Frequently, this is because those who suffer will alienate the people they love by choosing to remain untreated.
This isolation tends to be the very last thing someone struggling with addiction needs. As a result of this isolation, recovery can take a huge step back, causing despair and frustration in the sufferer.
Anyone in recovery will tell you, isolation is something that should be avoided. However, with the new restrictions put in place around the country, individuals who act as support may be cut off from those struggling.
To say the least, this situation requires everyone to remain in isolation for safety from infection. But there is a difference between physical distancing and social distancing. Dr. Peter Grinspoon of the Harvard Blog wrote:
“It is important to remember that experts distinguish between physical distancing and social distancing, and actually emphasize that we keep physical distance, but make extra efforts to maintain social bonds during this time of enormous stress and dislocation. The social isolation that is so critical to preventing the spread of coronavirus prevents people from attending peer-support groups, which are such a vital source of emotional and spiritual support to people struggling to stay in recovery.”
Ultimately, isolation will take a toll on each of us. Even if someone does not have an addiction. Talking with a family member, friend, or colleague every day is crucial to our health.
However if addiction is part of the equation and you’re in recovery, this principle is taken to a whole new level. Having a support system and people to connect with in person is so important in recovery.
Health Risk of Contracting COVID-19
Unfortunately, there is a higher risk to those struggling with addiction of contracting coronavirus. In general, sufferers may be living in poverty or even homeless due to their affliction. This situation is not uncommon.
Likewise, it is not uncommon for those struggling to suffer a relapse. Due to this relapse, they may venture outside in search of substances. As a result, they may come into contact with someone carrying the virus unknowingly.
It is important to note that those suffering from methamphetamine addiction need to be careful. According to research done by the National Institute of Drug Abuse:
“A history of methamphetamine use may also put people at risk. Methamphetamine constricts the blood vessels, which is one of the properties that contributes to pulmonary damage and pulmonary hypertension in people who use it. Clinicians should be prepared to monitor the possible adverse effects of methamphetamine use, the prevalence of which is increasing in our country, when treating those with COVID-19.”
Considering these challenges, as well as treatment support plans being broken up, sufferers must stay vigilant.
Luckily, there are some great ways to prevent these challenges. Above all, hope is the most important thing to have right now.
How to Handle These Challenges
There is no need for one to walk away from this feeling hopeless. We have many tools available to get through these challenges. However, the solution may require a little bit of effort.
In regard to isolation, treating social interaction as a medication is the way to handle feelings of loneliness. Dr. Howard J Shaffer recommends:
“Activate supportive social networks. This might involve greater use of reliable social media sources for staying connected with apps such as FaceTime, Duo, and Skype, or just using the telephone. Make your needs clear to yourself and identify people who can help with those needs.”
Along with this, Dr. Shaffer mentions doing activities that help you maintain your distance, but quell urges.
“Rely on your escape and avoidance skills by identifying alternative activities that respect social distancing, but conflict with addictive behavior. Such activities might include practicing mindfulness and relaxation, getting exercise, learning new skills, and communicating your goals and activities with loved ones and people who support you.”
Certainly, following this advice during quarantine will help tremendously. However, don’t forget about healthy habits, like washing your hands, maintaining your exercise routine, and eating well.
Finally, following these guidelines will bring you the best chance of recovering during this time.
Hope For Sobriety During COVID-19
The road to full recovery is hard enough. Therefore, adding COVID-19 to the mix is like fueling an already burning fire. To put it simply, it will not be the easiest time.
However, the hope for tomorrow is still bright. Throughout all of history, nations and countries, including ours, have come face to face with extremely difficult challenges. As a result, we have grown stronger individually and as a community network.
Similar to the bodies of people, single individual bodies are just as resilient. The human body, as well as the soul within, is capable of withstanding the harshest trials.
We are stronger than we give ourselves credit for. We dispel anger in honor of forgiveness, choose to help when there is nothing in it for us, and empathize with those in suffering. Although we might be divided, the human spirit remains alive.
There is, in fact, a big change coming. Remarkably, there is currently more understanding of addiction and the recovery process than ever before. Moreover, the amount of people wanting to help is increasing every day. Every day, more people are understanding the intricacies of addiction.
In conclusion, there is no reason to worry about if a relapse will happen, but if there is help. Most importantly, we need to remember the help available to us at all times if we choose to ask.
Rather than ask “Why is this happening?”, respond with “What can I do to help?”
The Most Helpful Environment
A Better Today Recovery Services is always willing to lend a helping hand. We will connect you with a treatment center that specializes in addiction and co-occurring disorders. Likewise, we know what to do when any situation arises.
The most important evidence of this is our dedication to helping break the cycle of addiction. Knowing your individual struggle is of the utmost importance to us.
Also, we consider finding the right individual treatment plan as being crucial. It is the most important aspect of assisting someone reach their fullest potential.
At ABTRS, we connect you to a treatment center that will provide you with care, consideration, and community. After all, having the support of people who have been through similar things is the key to finding understanding.
There is no need to stay bound in the misery of addiction. Contact us today.
Get Addiction Treatment in Phoenix
Quarantine or not, there has never been a better time to seek the help you need. Call us today and we will set you up with an specialist who will analyze your situation and suggest the best treatment center possible. Call us today to feel the warmth of compassion and sincerity.