Finding Drug Rehab During COVID-19
Making a life-changing decision is challenging, stressful, and can be incredibly difficult. The recent global COVID-19 pandemic caused a surge in stress and anxiety. Many have lost jobs, loved ones, and a sense of security. Individuals also suffering from substance use disorders may experience higher rates of substance misuse or abuse. Reaching out for help during a global pandemic can be terrifying, yet reaching out for help during this time is one of the most important things you can do.
Substance Use Disorder During COVID-19
According to the CDC, 81,000 people died of overdoses between 2019 and 2020, the highest number of overdoses recorded during a 12 month period, and a survey from Baptist Health recorded higher rates of alcohol abuse to cope with stress, boredom, and mental health issues.
While social isolation, boredom, stress, and increased mental health issues can contribute to risk factors of substance use disorder, those who have lost employment and have suddenly found a lack of structure within their daily lives. Individuals now have free time in which they can use substances without any severe consequences, which can lead to addiction at a faster rate. At the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic, alcohol sales rose by 55% with concerns of heightened substance misuse issues.
While sheltering in place, staying home, and a lack of social connection have made things increasingly difficult, it does not mean that it is impossible to find help. Fortunately, with today’s technology, there are ways that addiction treatment centers have been able to provide safety, social distancing, and protection for all individuals and staff.
Is It Safe to Go to Rehab During The COVID-19 Pandemic?
Fortunately, alcohol and drug rehabs are considered essential services, so those who are in need of addiction treatment can receive the help that they need. Most facilities have released COVID-19 infection control procedures and are taking extra precautions to ensure the safety of clients and staff. Some of these precautions should include:
- Screening all staff and clients before they enter the facility and throughout the duration of a client’s stay
- Maintaining social distancing during sessions and groups
- Ensuring mask wearing within staff and clients
- Reducing the number of individuals to group therapy size
- Increased sanitation procedures.
Traveling to Drug Rehab During COVID-19
Recently, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) created protocols to ensure safety and decrease COVID-19 exposure for those traveling through airports. Travelers are required to wear face coverings and TSA agents are expected to wear gloves, face coverings, and at some airports, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Throughout security checkpoints, signage to remind individuals to social distance are displayed and barriers separating travelers and TSA agents are placed for social distancing. In addition, sanitation stations are placed throughout the airport and there is an exemption that allows passengers to now bring a 12-ounce container of liquid sanitizer onboard flights.
No matter if you decide to enter treatment locally, or decide to travel out of state, it’s important to take certain precautionary measures. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also released guidelines on how individuals can protect themselves from COVID-19 when traveling via car, bus, train, and other modes of transportation. These include hand washing, covering up sneezes, coughs, and cleaning surfaces, practicing social distancing, and wearing a mask.
Virtual Treatment & Telehealth
In addition, many treatment facilities have offered tele-health and virtual addiction services to those who are still in need of help but choose to remain home during treatment. Depending on the facility, some rehabs are able to offer group therapy, individual therapy, and psychiatrist appointments, and support groups online. Before assuming that a facility has tele-health or virtual rehab, it’s important to contact the facility directly and understand all of your options.
Recovery requires connection, and with the new societal and behavioral changes within the global pandemic, the isolation that we’ve experienced can leave us in a dangerous situation for a heightened risk of relapse. During the global pandemic, there are a number 12-step and alternate recovery groups that have paused from meeting in person and have created all their meetings via web. Below is a list of resources for online support groups and help for those that may be struggling.
A trusted source for online counseling for mental health issues.
An online recovery meeting offering support groups, recovery coaching, and more.
A virtual 12-step meeting space for those in recovery from substance use disorder, gambling, and more.
The World Health Organization’s Campaign for information on how to manage mental health and wellness during COVID-19