Author: Lisa Downing
The truth is anyone can become an addict whether they are a hero working on the front lines or a teen who succumbs to peer pressure. Risk factors make addiction more likely to take place in some people. It is a combination of biology and environment that make some people more susceptible to addiction.
When caught in the midst of addiction, it can often feel like you are on a roller coaster. The ups and downs are extremely disruptive and difficult to control. For many trapped in the addictive cycle, it can seem nearly impossible to exercise real self-control. Intense emotions in response to any number of situations quickly lead to using again, regardless of how much you may want to stop. It is often this cycle of using, trying to quit, failing, and using again that leads people to seek out professional help in the form of rehabilitation.
Admitting you have a substance abuse problem and seeking treatment takes courage. The ideal treatment option depends on your age, physiology, medical history, and whether you have other pre-existing mental or physical health conditions. Before treatment, you should understand the ABCs of choosing a treatment plan, plus what to expect from your clinician and from yourself. The primary objectives of addiction treatment include education, detoxification, and developing positive coping strategies.
Pain takes many forms including minor aches, temporary bouts of sharp pain, or chronic pain. For those pains beyond the norm, doctors may prescribe medication that is stronger than typical over-the-counter pain relievers. Opioids are a class of prescription painkillers that help blunt severe pain and can be very helpful for those recovering from physical trauma including surgery. Opioids, such as methadone, have also been used to treat those with an opioid addiction. However, using any opioid medication may also carry risks.
No one can argue that what we are facing, collectively as a society, seems like the entire world has been turned upside down. Indeed, life doesn’t resemble much of what we all enjoyed just a month or two ago. While this shift has been faced all over the world, it can seem oddly personal. Sometimes, for those facing addiction, it can seem like the mounting pressures, mandates, and uncertainties are heightened and increasingly overwhelming when added to the daily challenge of sticking to sobriety.
We are often told to find the silver lining in life’s complications, but this pandemic is something none of us have ever experienced. When you don’t know how something will turn out, it can be tough to stay positive…and on track.
Never have our front-line medical professionals been subject to such high levels of stress on the job, which can affect their ability to function both at work and in personal relationships. The link between stress in the medical field and addictive behavior is clear. However, addictions can come in many forms, and non-substance abusing habits can often be destructive as well.
Stress management is an important issue in our modern world, and some occupations are more acutely associated with stress than others. First responders like our EMTs nurses and doctors, especially with the current COVID-19 crisis, face enormous levels of stress daily. Without optimum stress management, these frontline medical professionals are vulnerable to the effects of stress, which can be extremely damaging to their physical and mental health.
Clients and families alike often wonder about the best course of treatment for themselves or their loved one. This is especially true if they haven’t had experience with addiction treatment before. With many levels of care, from residential, down to outpatient, the options can seem overwhelming. In this article, our goal is to offer some guidance in understanding the different levels of care, but ultimately it is with the assistance of the facility’s admissions department as to the most appropriate care for a loved one.
One item to note is that if the substance abuse is involved, a detox regimen of up to 10 days may be necessary to medically supervise the elimination of drugs and/or alcohol from the client’s system. Withdrawal from certain drugs can actually be dangerous, beyond being very uncomfortable and therefore clients should be supervised by appropriate medical professionals and should not try to detox alone.
Times of crisis can easily lead to feeling out of control and it can even lead to difficulties in your recovery. Whatever that means for you being anxiety, depression or even craving, taking a few proactive measures can help you stay grounded and add some stability to see you through hard times.
Each day, or even more often if needed, pause for a few minutes to take stock of where you are emotionally.
Ask yourself two important and very simple questions:
- What am I feeling?
- What do I need?
While the coronavirus has yielded staggeringly high infection numbers around the world and even in the United States, the death rate has remained in single digits for most people and extremely low for healthy younger individuals. However, for the elderly and those with immunocompromising conditions, the risk of severe complications and even death is exponentially higher. While we are still early on in the epidemic, and we don’t know much, it is very clear that those with medical problems are at the most risk.
To that end, it is extremely important that substance abusers and their loved ones prioritize recovery and abstinence in the form of appropriate medical and therapeutic treatment as soon as possible. Research performed on substance abusers show a strong correlation with abuse and complications associated with flu and other infectious diseases. We expect this is no different with coronavirus. Ultimately, the problem rests in the fact that drugs of abuse and alcohol can suppress the immune system, making the body less able to fight off infection.