The pandemic has changed everyone’s lives irrevocably. For many, those changes have involved existing substance abuse issues being inflamed, new substance use disorders developing, or roadblocks in the detox and recovery process due to complications accessing treatment.
Concerns about shared spaces and interacting with others as well as lockdowns and social distancing measures created significant challenges for drug and alcohol rehab centers looking to connect those in need with the addiction treatment they need. Fortunately, the many restrictions triggered by the global pandemic led to a sharp uptick in addiction treatment facilities offering virtual therapy.
Stress and isolation can cause people to make unhealthy and self-defeating decisions such as drinking more alcohol or taking drugs. To compound this issue, the pandemic complicated access to resilience-promoting activities like social interaction and physical activity. Stripped of coping mechanisms, many socially isolated individuals self-medicated with addictive substances during the pandemic. So, while the pandemic may have contributed to a substantial increase in addiction in the United States, there has never been a better time to engage with treatment at whatever level of intensity is needed, whether face-to-face or virtual in terms of delivery.
Virtual addiction treatment works similarly to traditional face-to-face treatment. Clients will have access to the same counseling and psychotherapy sessions as they would find at an outpatient or inpatient treatment facility. The key difference is that instead of attending face-to-face therapy sessions, they will instead connect with licensed specialists using a video conferencing platform like Skype. Not only are more treatment centers, like Renaissance Recovery, offering virtual treatment, but most insurers have also lifted restrictions on engaging with telehealth addiction treatment.
CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) reported that 13% of U.S. citizens reported starting to use substances or increasing substance use in response to the stress and emotions triggered by COVID-19 in June 2020. The impact of social isolation on substance abuse is nuanced and often involves many different factors. Substance abuse can be influenced by genetics, mental health, past experiences, and environmental cues. Many studies suggest that isolation is among the strongest risk factors for addiction in the form of substance use disorder or alcohol use disorder. During the first year of the pandemic, almost 92,000 people died from drug overdoses in the United States, representing an increase of almost 30% from the previous year, according to CDC and NIDA.
Struggling with addiction problems following the events of COVID-19 can be difficult, but reaching out to a Malibu rehab facility today.