In the wake of the pandemic outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), millions of people across the globe are facing hardships as a result of health effects from the virus, quarantine or isolation efforts, and financial consequences of being absent from work.
In some cities, coronavirus infections are causing hospitalizations at rates higher than many hospitals are equipped to treat. The virus poses a threat to immunocompromised individuals in particular, some of whom include those who have long struggled with addiction.
With some hospitals overwhelmed by treatment efforts aiming to manage mounting cases of the virus, day-to-day treatment of other conditions may become difficult as some states see increases in newly infected cases each day.
The very best addiction treatment centers will work hard to make sure addicted individuals are not marginalized during the coronavirus crisis and that they receive the care they need to reach sobriety and maintain lasting recovery.
While social distancing is necessary during this time, the most reputable rehab centers will follow the most up-to-date protocol issued by their home state and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to ensure the continued health and safety of clients while in treatment.
For these reasons, it may be beneficial to seek addiction treatment during the coronavirus outbreak, rather than avoiding or putting off treatment:
1. It’s The Perfect Time For Out-Of-Work, High-Functioning Addicted Individuals To Get Treatment
As of this article’s publication, 46 states have issued mandates closing restaurants, bars, and other businesses that promote social gatherings in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. This has left many employees without work, with state and federal recommendations prompting voluntary, self-quarantine.
Even during a deadly virus outbreak, it’s important for addicted individuals to get the help they need. Abuse of many substances leads to a number of adverse side effects, ranging from mild to life-threatening. Poor decision-making skills, for example, could lead addicted individuals to ignore the strict protocol regarding safety measures for avoiding contracting and spreading the virus.
For those with severe addictions, high-stress times such as these could lead to increased substance abuse, which in turn increases the risk of other consequences, including overdose.
While it’s important for anyone with severe addiction issues to get addiction treatment now more than ever, this outbreak and its social impact may have created the ideal time for individuals who have mild to moderate addiction issues to seek treatment.
Statistics from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration show that the service and accommodations industries have some of the highest rates of alcohol and illicit drug abuse in the last decade. Due to business closures prompted by the COVID-19 outbreak, many individuals in these industries are now out of work.
Many people who struggle with substance abuse are “high-functioning,” meaning they can maintain a job, personal responsibilities, and other obligations while struggling daily with addiction. With jobs reserved and mandatory work absence, the coronavirus quarantine could be the break many individuals need to get away and focus solely on recovery.
2. Younger Addicted Persons Are Statistically More Likely To Die From An Opioid Overdose Than COVID-19
It’s important to take the outbreak of COVID-19 seriously, but being informed of your risk of contracting or suffering serious consequences or hospitalization due to the virus is equally important.
As of the CDC’s most recent report, only 20 percent of all coronavirus deaths are among those ages 20 to 44. Yet this group is shown to be the most at-risk of dying from an opioid overdose, with 18-to-25-year-olds showing most past-year non-medical use of opioids and those 26 and up showing greatest use of prescription opioids.
Opioid use can rapidly lead to addiction and dependence, which can sometimes occur even when used as directed. When a person abuses opioids, they are at risk of overdose, as the drugs can build up in the system over time or lead to stopped breathing from repressing the respiratory system.
In fact, a person in 2017 has a greater chance of dying from an accidental overdose—1 in 96—than the 1-in-103 chances of dying from a motor vehicle crash. These odds are currently higher than that of the death rate attributed to COVID-19.
Further, opioids are responsible for thousands of deaths every year, with nearly 70 percent of overdose deaths in 2018 involving an opioid. Quitting use of these highly addictive drugs is extremely difficult without help.
Addiction treatment helps individuals stop the use or taper off use of opioids, learn to manage addictive behaviors that lead to substance abuse, and implement important coping methods to prevent relapse.
3. Stimulus Relief, Supplemental Unemployment, And Other Financial Aid Can Provide Financial Security During The Outbreak
Those who may have been considering addiction treatment prior to the outbreak of coronavirus may be halting their plans due to financial concerns. However, new federal developments may provide aid to those affected by business closures.
On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed legislation to implement a multibillion-dollar emergency aid fund.
The primary aim of this fund is to provide:
- paid family and sick leave for Americans affected by job closures due to the coronavirus outbreak
- relief for those who must self-quarantine due to contracting the virus
- relief for those who cannot find child care due to state-wide school closures
After passing Congress, the stimulus relief funding was set to provide a payment of up to $1,200 for each adult and $500 for each child under age 16, for single adults with an adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less.
As of the end of April 2020, more than half of eligible Americans have received their stimulus relief funding, or nearly 90 million citizens, with many more projected to receive their payments in the upcoming weeks.
In addition to providing relief funding, other efforts to aid Americans include waived interest on federal student loans, suspending foreclosures and evictions on FHA mortgage loans, and small business loans to help pay employees during statewide lockdowns.
Addicted individuals who need treatment will not need to worry about losing their home, job, or financial security while in a rehab program, allaying many of the fears associated with going to treatment.
4. Getting Sober Will Improve Your Immune System And Overall Health
Abuse of any substance may weaken the immune system for a number of reasons. Intravenous drug use, for instance, leaves a person with skin lesions and exposes them to infectious diseases on a regular basis.
Addiction robs a person of their ability to focus on anything but getting and using a certain substance. Because of this, they may neglect their health, forgetting to eat, sleep, care for their hygiene, and more.
Recovery is focused on improving a person’s overall health, which in turn bolsters the immune system. The very best drug and alcohol rehab programs provide well-rounded treatment approaches that aim to heal all aspects of a person’s health.
As the new coronavirus strain sweeps the nation, improving a person’s health, and especially their immune system, is a more urgent need now than perhaps ever before. Having a working immune system ensures a person is able to fight off communicable infections like coronavirus.
5. Drug And Alcohol Rehab Centers Are Taking Utmost Precautions To Mitigate Risk Of Transmission
When choosing an addiction treatment center for you or a loved one during this crisis, pay careful attention to how the facility is handling safety protocols regarding health.
The biggest difference being made in most healthcare facilities is implementing social distancing or a series of actions designed to stop the spread of infection. For addiction treatment centers, this may mean keeping treatment group numbers small (a practice that is typically already in place), limiting or prohibiting visitors, and restricting recreational outings.
In addition, many healthcare facilities are doubling down on sanitation efforts, aiding in hygiene regulation (handwashing) for clients or patients, and may begin providing testing as it becomes available for current and incoming patients to ensure the virus is contained as much as possible.
If you’re considering addiction treatment during the COVID-19 outbreak, protect your health and your recovery by choosing an alcohol or drug rehab center that takes health and safety protocols seriously.
What To Do If You Relapse During The Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak
If you can’t make it to addiction treatment right away, it’s still important to safeguard against relapse during the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak. This is a high-stress time, and stress can be a trigger for substance abuse for many addicted individuals.
People in active recovery may be unable to go to support meetings, meet with counselors, see sober sponsors, and engage in other important ongoing recovery efforts.
Fortunately, many activities are being moved online. Alcoholics Anonymous announced on March 16, 2020, that many support groups were moving to online formats. Counselors may offer services via telephone, video chat, or other digital formats. Sober sponsors can keep in touch through a number of messaging apps or through phone calls as needed.
If you experience relapse, it’s important to understand that you are not alone. Stress of this magnitude is difficult for anyone, but it is grueling for those facing addiction.
If your normal recovery activities are not enough to keep you aligned with your recovery goals, consider entering treatment again. The most effective rehab centers understand that relapse is often a part of ongoing recovery and help build individualized treatment plans to meet clients at their level of recovery.
Getting To Addiction Treatment Amid The Quarantine
Seeking addiction treatment during the coronavirus outbreak may be the best decision you can make for your health and your recovery. If you’ve relapsed, going to treatment at this time can be a way for you to stay on track, without feeling as though you are missing out on work or other important events.
With large events canceled and many jobs shut down or moved online, time is freed up for many Americans. There is no time like the present to improve your life by overcoming addiction and breaking your dependence on substances.
We can help you figure out the safest way to get to treatment during the crisis with travel restrictions and help you find a rehab center that offers an individualized treatment plan that meets your specific healthcare needs and keeps you safe and protected.
Don’t let the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak keep you from seeking the care you need for your addiction struggles. Contact us today for an addiction assessment and more information on the best alcohol and drug rehab centers in the U.S.
Addiction Resource aims to provide only the most current, accurate information in regards to addiction and addiction treatment, which means we only reference the most credible sources available.
These include peer-reviewed journals, government entities and academic institutions, and leaders in addiction healthcare and advocacy. Learn more about how we safeguard our content by viewing our editorial policy.
- Alcoholics Anonymous—Updates on Coronavirus, March 16, 2020
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—Severe Outcomes Among Patients with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)—United States, February 12-March 16, 2020
- CNBC— Here’s what you need to know about coronavirus and your health insurance
- CNN—Here’s who’s still waiting for stimulus money
- Forbes—Addiction Treatment Facilities: Are They Prepared For The COVID-19 Coronavirus Outbreak?
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: U.S. National Library of Medicine—Trends in Opioid Use, Harms, and Treatment
- STAT News —New analysis breaks down age-group risk for coronavirus—and shows millenials are not invincible
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration—Substance Use And Substance Use Disorder By Industry
- Today—Which states have closed restaurants and bars due to coronavirus?
- USA Today—Stimulus checks: What we know (and don’t)
- World Health Organization—Information sheet on opioid overdose