Connection is the opposite of addiction, says addiction author Johan Hari, but connecting with other people is a bit difficult at the moment. We’re in the middle of a global health crisis that requires social distancing and self-isolation to contain the COVID-19 outbreak.
This is a major challenge for people with substance use disorder on many different levels. 12-Step facilitation—a major pillar of addiction treatment—became much more complicated this month. Meeting with other addicted people in person is currently to be avoided after the federal government issued the advice that “events of 10 or more people should be canceled or held virtually.” Many 12-Step meetings have closed for the time being; some have moved to online platforms.
At the same time, the general level of anxiety across the nation has increased dramatically, another challenge for many people in recovery many of whom used to self-medicate their anxiety and depression with psychoactive substances. The coronavirus crisis has had a major impact on the economy, cutting people off from their work colleagues or worse making them unemployed. Experts warn that isolation and loneliness, combined with the stress of dealing with a pandemic, are dangerous triggers that may increase the risk of relapse or substance misuse.
People in active addiction are now facing tremendous risks. Their substance misuse is potentially life-threatening by itself but they also engage in drug-seeking behavior that does not necessarily prioritize washing their hands, social distancing, or self-isolation. They need treatment more urgently than ever.
While many people in recovery are struggling with the disruption of their support network and a climate of anxiety, many treatment centers had to adopt new and unprecedented precautions to make sure clients are not exposed to people infected with the new coronavirus. That goes for The Farley Center as well.
The health and safety of patients and staff members have priority at Farley. Virginia Governor Northam’s declared state of emergency due to COVID-19 and CDC recommendations require Farley temporarily to suspend visitors from coming to the campus. In addition to family members, this visitor modification includes all community programs, such as AA, that regularly meet on campus.
The Farley team will continue to help people with substance use disorder to the best of their ability under these unprecedented circumstances. People in active addiction ready to go into recovery should not delay seeking treatment for their disease.
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance misuse but you are unsure what addiction treatment services are available at the moment, please contact The Farley Center at 800.582.6066 to find out about your options.