As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to spread across the nation, treatment centers are having to adapt to vital social distancing guidelines in order to protect patients from contracting the virus. Many rehab facilities are having to shut down all outdoor activities and limit patient-to-patient contact. As a result of social distancing practices, many patients in rehab facilities have reported feeling an increase in depression, anxiety, and loneliness.
Addiction is widely known as a disease of isolation. Therefore, keeping patients at addiction treatment centers isolated from their peers can pose an array of issues. However problematic, social distancing is a must in order to protect the patient’s health. Therefore, treatment centers are beginning to develop new procedures in order to maintain their patient’s physical and mental health throughout the duration of the outbreak.
How COVID-19 is Affecting Addiction Treatment Facilities
Oftentimes, stressful situations cause recovering addicts to relapse. Currently, many individuals in the addiction recovery community are dealing with the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak. Many individuals are taking care of sick loved ones, dealing with the loss of their job, or even stressing out about being isolated in their homes. Whatever the case may be, the uncertainty of what comes next seems to be causing an influx of relapses. According to Fox News, various addiction treatment centers across the nation are dealing with a rise in patients as a direct result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
While treatment centers begin to fear that they will reach capacity, they are also having to redesign the way they allow patients to interact with one another. Like many other treatment centers across the nation, Agape Treatment Center has begun to suspend outside activities and community support efforts. This means that patients will not be able to partake in outside activities and treatment centers may not receive the outside support they need. Additionally, treatment center directors will have to alter the way patients receive peer support and group therapy sessions.
Is Residential Treatment Safe During the COVID-19 Pandemic?
While going to a treatment center during a pandemic may sound risky, it is still statistically safer than continuing to use drugs or alcohol. People dealing with active addiction are more likely to expose themselves to others – increasing their likelihood of developing COVID-19. As a result, residential treatment centers remain available to provide patients with proper healthcare, therapy, and professional addiction support. In addition, many addicts and alcoholics have failing livers or kidneys, breathing issues, and compromised immune systems due to long-term substance abuse. Consequently, contracting COVID-19 could be life-threatening for these individuals. Therefore, being in residential treatment may be safer for people who suffer from addiction and are worried about the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 may not be treatable as of yet, however, addiction and alcoholism are. In fact, the NIDA reported the following in relation to addiction treatment success:
- Reduces drug use by 40-60%
- Reduces drug-related crimes by 40%
- The risk of HIV infection is significantly reduced
- Increases employment rates among the addiction community by 40%
Additionally, if addicts and alcoholics avoid going to treatment due to COVID-19, they could experience a drug-related injury or health complication that lands them in the hospital. Being in the hospital during a pandemic would exponentially increase an individual’s risk of contracting the virus. Also, hospitals currently need nearly every bed they have in order to respond to the influx of patients experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. Therefore, avoiding addiction treatment during this pandemic is dangerous for your sake and your loved ones’. It may take up beds that are desperately needed.
Tips to Maintain your Mental Health during Social Distancing
Whether you are in an addiction treatment facility or at home, there are many things you can do in order to maintain your mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Washing your hands, cleaning surfaces often, and keeping a safe distance from others are all extremely important in order to stop the spread of the virus. Since isolation is difficult for recovering addicts and alcoholics, here are a few ways to maintain your mental health during the pandemic.
In order to remain safe from COVID-19, you must also continue to maintain your mental health. This includes attending vital addiction treatment therapy, video calls with your psychiatrist, or even remaining active in online recovery support groups. According to the CDC, anyone with preexisting mental health conditions should continue to receive treatment while remaining aware of new or worsening symptoms.
Many people who are currently social distancing (in treatment or at home) are struggling with boredom. Instead of anxiously checking the news all day, beginning a new exercise routine could put an end to your boredom. Not only does exercising give you something to do, but it also helps improve your overall health – which is extremely important during a pandemic.
Talk About Your Feelings
Many alcoholics and addicts struggle to open up with others about their fears or anxieties. While this is common, it is also extremely dangerous for an individual’s sobriety. If you are feeling lonely or stressed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, make sure you communicate with your loved ones or with a counselor about your fears and worries. In doing so, you are ensuring that any irrational negative thoughts you are having will not turn into action.
Addiction Treatment during a Pandemic
Just dealing with addiction alone is an extremely scary and difficult thing to go through. However, being in the midst active addiction during a global pandemic can be even more terrifying. If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction, do not let the COVID-19 outbreak prevent you from going to an addiction treatment center. Rehab facilities like Agape Treatment center are continuing to provide help to suffering addicts and alcoholics while following all CDC guidelines in regards to the COVID-19 outbreak. Call us today.