COVID-19 vs Addiction - Disease of Isolation?

September 22, 2020

Addiction Treatment

COVID-19 vs Addiction - Disease of Isolation?

Many health professionals view addiction as being "the disease of isolation." Because of the enforcement of social distancing across the country, COVID-19 could be a contender for that title. 

Data shows the preventative measures—likewearing masks and maintaining a distance of six feet others (social distancing) can minimize the spread of the virus. However, those cautious measures for protection have also proven to be a means of encouraging more social isolationthan what is already experienced by those with addiction and substance use disorder (SUD). 

Isolation Caused by Addiction and Reinforced by the Coronavirus 

Executive orders for shelter-in-place, stay-at-home, quarantining, and social distancing reinforces isolation. In doing so, it has brought about the psychological fallout of consequences that accompany separation and seclusion like social anxiety, depression, and loneliness—not to mention the onset of physical health issues such as Type 2 diabetes. As Harvard health blog contributor, Peter Grinspoon, MD, points out, "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."  

Staying Connected, Getting Help and Living with the New Normal

Thankfully, the pandemic hasn't made treatments like alcohol detox and inpatient rehab impossible. Although it's still a challenge in new ways and restrictive, the health crisis has made providers more creative and smarter with the way they provide care. Fortunately, we have the vast technology we do at our fingertips. Interventions such as telehealth, telemedicine, smartphones, and tablets keep the continuity of care and can help you stay connected to the people in your support team. 

Perhaps, by holding on to their deprecating habits, users grapple with the only thing that is familiar and routine—especially when so much is unknown and what we know is changing rapidly all around. For example, there has never been a more pressing need for opioid users to get help from a prescription drug rehab. According to the Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program (ODMAP), with only raw data submitted, fatal overdoses of opioids have increased by 11.39% from last year. 

Practical Ways to Distract from Addiction and Cope During the Pandemic

During this stressful time of isolation and COVID-19, you might want to try some of these constructive activities: 

  • Meditate or pray. 

  • Do some stretching, especially at the start or end of your day.

  • Have fun doing something you've always enjoyed doing or spend time in nature like at a park.

  • Write in a journal the things you are grateful for each day to help you think positively and keep a sense of hope.

  • Exercise.

  • Practice playing an instrument, sing, or listen to music or discover new songs or new artists. 

  • Read an exciting book or magazine.

  • Pick up a new hobby or learn a new language.

  • Help a friend in need to divert your feelings of loneliness.

  • Stay accountable to at least one other person (i.e., therapist, loved one, sponsor, or friend) to make sure you have someone capable of guiding back to the course if you go astray. 

Distractions alone may not be enough for many people with addiction issues. Many people may need professional help from a rehabilitation center. As a rule of thumb, the sign of a decent rehab center is whether they focus on all areas and aspects of your addiction, which highly trained professionals do by using a holistic approach to treatment. In this way, you'll have the care and support necessary for inpatient recovery and a plan for your return to society after drug detox.

Discover Wish Recovery. We are a luxury rehabilitation facility that believes in a holistic approach to recovery. We offer a wide variety of treatment modalities that we personalize for you—no matter if you need help getting back on track after a relapse or seeking treatment for the first time. Contact us today online or by phone (844.222.8808) to receive a free, confidential consultation. 

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