COVID-19 has shut down non-essential businesses across the country, including some outpatient addiction treatment centers. However, addiction treatment is considered essential and life-sustaining in most states. You might be concerned about entering treatment during the outbreak. Is it safe? Should you wait until there is a cure or vaccine for COVID-19? Here are some things to consider when deciding if it’s safe to enter treatment right now.
How Severe Is the Addiction?
If your addiction is putting you in danger, then it’s essential to seek treatment. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Am I risking exposure to coronavirus so I can obtain more drugs or alcohol?
- Are there other risks I’m taking, such as using unclean needles or buying unknown substances that could be harmful?
- Do I experience withdrawal symptoms when I’m not using?
- Am I concerned about running out of drugs or alcohol and going into withdrawal?
- Do I have to increase the amount I’m using to get the same effect?
- Have I overdosed recently? Am I at risk of overdosing again?
If you answer yes to any of these questions, seek help immediately. These behaviors put you at risk of serious harm or death.
COVID-19 Is More Dangerous for Those with Substance Use Disorder
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, COVID-19 has more severe effects for those using drugs. This is because COVID-19 attacks the lungs, and many drugs impact the respiratory system. For example, smoking and vaping damage the lungs.
Most illegal substances have a wide range of negative health effects that could leave individuals vulnerable to COVID-19. Therefore, it’s important for you to decrease your risk by entering a treatment program and safely detoxing from substances.
Isolation Threatens Recovery
Addiction thrives off isolation. Individuals will frequently withdraw from family and friends and use drugs or alcohol in secret. Right now, the entire country is experiencing isolation. If you’re living alone, you’re at risk for a relapse into substance use. When you factor in the increased stress coronavirus is causing, the risk of relapse is even greater.
The best way to combat isolation is to connect with a treatment provider and peer support resources. This can be difficult with stay at home orders in place. Luckily, many providers are now offering teletherapy services to help you maintain or start your recovery from home.
Treatment Centers Are Taking Precautions
If you are concerned that seeking treatment will expose you to the virus, know that inpatient and residential treatment centers are taking extra precautions during this time. They are increasing sanitation protocols, providing masks, teaching about disease prevention, and screening clients and staff for COVID-19 symptoms daily. They are also screening all new clients for potential exposure, and quarantining them for 14 days as a safety measure. With all of these precautions in place, you can feel confident that your health and safety are protected when you seek treatment for a substance use disorder.
Teletherapy Is Available
Many addiction centers now offer teletherapy so you can receive treatment through a secure video conferencing platform. This eliminates the risk of exposure and lets you safely get help from home. Teletherapy may not be right for every situation. If you haven’t safely detoxed yet, then you will need to seek treatment at an inpatient facility that can help you through the detox process. Still, teletherapy is a good option for those at the outpatient level of care.
Rehab After Work offers teletherapy for the state of Pennsylvania. No matter where you live in the state, you can work with our counselors. Call (610) 644-6464 to speak with an admissions counselor today.