Addiction is prevalent and continues regardless of the current climate of the world. Due to the changes in our everyday life, the risk factors for developing an addiction now may increase. Social distancing, lack of access to resources, and disruptions to everyday life can cause many people to seek comfort through the use of substances. While it may provide temporary relief, substance use can exacerbate physical and mental health problems, leading to worsened overall health. During the COVID-19 outbreak, this can put many people at an increased risk for contracting the virus and create greater difficulty recovering from it.
The Dangers of Addressing Addiction Alone
The coronavirus should not stop you from seeking help with addiction. During this time, addiction can be especially dangerous as people are self-isolating and may be more prone to copious use. Some of the biggest problems associated with addiction, especially now, include:
Addiction can put you at risk for getting sick: Substance abuse compromises physical health which can put you at an increased risk for contracting the virus. Many people struggle with a compromised immune system, respiratory problems, and damage to vital organs. If the coronavirus is contracted, this can lead to life-threatening complications.
Isolation affects addiction: Feelings of loneliness can greatly impact mental health. For those struggling with addiction, it can cause them to turn to substances as a means of coping. Many people with addiction also have co-occurring mental health disorders that are compounded by substance abuse. Self-isolation can increase feelings of anxiety, depression, and restlessness, which are also triggers for use of drugs or alcohol.
Detoxing alone can be dangerous: Detox is a pivotal moment in recovery that can be challenging. While withdrawal symptoms alone can be uncomfortable, in some cases, they can be life-threatening. For those without access to their substance of choice, withdrawal symptoms can begin to manifest quickly and spiral, putting a person at increased risk for serious health complications or death.
Many treatment centers have begun to implement new practices to address concerns surrounding the coronavirus outbreak. With trained medical staff available on-site, a treatment center can provide safety and care for those who are most vulnerable. Because of the risk factors associated with addiction and contracting the virus, now may be one of the best times to begin engaging in treatment.
Treatment Practices During Coronavirus
Much like other forms of treatment, changes have to be made to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Addiction treatment utilizes various forms of therapy to address the underlying causes of substance abuse. For this reason, many therapy models have adapted to provide treatment through the use of technology. Group therapy can be provided using video conferencing and individual sessions can be held using video or phone services. Staying engaged in therapy is vital to success and while the shift from in-person to remote sessions is not without challenge, it is still possible and beneficial for those in need.
During these unprecedented times, treatment facilities are still equipped to handle the needs of clients. Screening those entering treatment for symptoms of COVID-19 is important to prevent the spread of the virus and ensuring facilities are maintaining cleaning and disinfecting of all surfaces is part of this process. While this is an especially challenging time for those looking to enter treatment or those who are already involved in recovery, many treatment programs are adapting to address the needs of their clients and ensure their safety.
Making the decision to enter treatment is not always easy and there are challenges everyone faces in recovery despite what is happening in the world. While COVID-19 introduces a unique set of obstacles to overcome, it is more important than ever to prioritize your health. Addiction can make you more vulnerable to the effects of the coronavirus should you contract it. Choosing to start treatment now can help your mind and body recover from the effects of substances abuse and can allow your immune system to recover.
If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, Nexus Recovery is here to help. We’re open and providing people with outpatient treatment in Los Angeles. Learn more about mental health and sobriety during the COVID-19 outbreak by clicking here.