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Struggling with addiction? Don’t let COVID-19 pandemic get in your way: Experts say you need help now

It doesn’t have to be daunting! Telemedicine can help – don’t delay your treatment

A person standing near some water.
A person standing near some water. (Lukas Rychvalsky/Pexels stock image)

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Living through a global pandemic is proving to be challenging at times, not to mention incredibly stressful.

How long will the coronavirus situation last? When will life feel familiar again? No matter where you are in life, we ALL have those questions weighing on the back of our minds.

Despite the fact that some states, including Texas, have started to gradually reopen, things are still far from normal.

If you’ve been drinking more, or crutching on any substance to get you through these uncertain days, know that you’re not alone. Although it’s likely too early to have any hard numbers or data, it seems many adults are imbibing more than usual. But that doesn’t make it OK, especially if you’ve struggled in the past or you’re questioning how much is too much.

Do you depend on a substance such as alcohol?

Alcohol-use disorder continues to be the primary substance abuse treatment issue facing the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that alcohol kills about 88,000 Americans per year through direct and indirect causes, including acute medical diagnoses, accidents due to impairment and other types of injury. If you’re living with alcohol-use disorder, you might have started experiencing the hazards of excessive drinking and alcohol dependency. You don’t want that for yourself.

The time to start fighting back is now, said the experts at Recovery Unplugged, a center for addiction treatment and drug rehabilitation.

Recovery Unplugged is a cool concept: It’s a little different from other rehab facilities. They can help you overcome struggles with drugs, alcohol, opioids specifically, sleeping pills or other stimulants -- but it all comes down to music-based addiction care.

Combining traditional elements of treatment like detox and counseling with proven and innovative musical therapy techniques, the center helps people reclaim their lives. It’s the first and only addiction care organization to fully integrate music into its treatment model. Music is truly the medicine here, and it’s used as a healing art form to engage people on an emotional and physiological level.

The center also acknowledges that addiction is a chronic mental illness that needs everyday care-after treatment. In fact, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that the relapse rate for addiction is between 40% and 60% without proper support. So let’s get you that support.

People who go through Recovery Unplugged don’t have to be a part of that statistic. They are discharged with a new-found confidence and tools to help them achieve long-term sobriety.

It’s not too late

Don’t think that it’s too late, or you have to wait until the COVID-19 risk has subsided, to get help.

The center has made coronavirus prevention a top priority.

“Recovery Unplugged will take all necessary precautions to keep current clients and staff, as well as admitting clients, at low risk for contracting the virus,” the group said online. “Coupled with our already stringent infectious control policy and procedure, we are following every federal and local government recommendation.”

That includes:

  • Screening all potential patients prior to admission.
  • A thorough cleaning and sanitation of facilities and supplies.
  • Asking all staff to remain home if they exhibit any signs or symptoms.
  • Monitoring of all patients’ and staffers’ health for signs of COVID symptoms on a daily basis.
  • Implementing social distancing to reducing the amount of close contact between individuals.
  • Reducing the number of outside contacts by discouraging outside visitors and vendors.
  • Telehealth, to reduce face-to-face interactions between provider and patients.

Telehealth, by the way, has been a really important resource throughout the pandemic. If you have a phone or a laptop, you can participate. Telemedicine just refers to seeing a specialist or provider virtually.

It’s the same help, the same resources and the vital care you might really need: it’s just not in person. But it’s still proactive -- admitting you need a hand and reaching out for assistance.

When it comes to drinking, considering the threat of COVID-19, a person with problematic alcohol behaviors may face:

  • Anxiety.
  • Loneliness; this can be brought on by the need for social distancing and being instructed to remain in our homes.
  • An alcohol-related decrease in immune system health and the potential for increased susceptibility to certain infectious processes.
  • Drastically restricted access to alcohol, which may lead to symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.

During this time, it’s important to acknowledge and understand these challenges that you may face in order to avoid using alcohol (or drugs) to self-medicate, potentially increasing certain COVID-19-related risks, alcohol.org said.

Why wait?

There are nearly 21 million Americans who meet the criteria for substance use disorder, and only around 10% get treatment for it.

Just because we’re in the middle of a public health crisis, doesn’t mean you have to be a victim of addiction or let a loved one suffer.

Your safety and that of others in your house has to come first.

Recovery Unplugged has helped thousands of families come together to help those with addition.

“Our interventionists and care providers have rallied even the most seemingly dysfunctional families to help them guide their loved ones toward treatment for a better future," the center said. "If you’re living with an addicted loved one during mandatory self-isolation, the stakes have never been higher to get them into treatment. Our locations are open nationwide, and we’re standing by 24-7 to help.”