While business begins to return to normal within the next few months, we must continue to be cautious. Though restrictions are slowly lifting from the pandemic, its effects are still coming to be understood. A recent survey conducted by Harvard, Rutgers and a variety of other universities across the nation has found that twenty seven percent of people in the United States are exhibiting signs of moderate to severe depression, three times the amount that showed signs before Coronavirus. As healthcare professionals, this is extremely concerning for us.
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.
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.
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.
With coronavirus and related shutdowns dominating the headlines over the past few weeks, it can be difficult to see past that and remember that many of the societal crises that were top of mind just a couple months ago, still exist. One of these is the extreme rise in opioid addiction and overdose that the United States has been experiencing for the past few years. As we refocus on this new and exotic medical threat to our society, the substance abuse and addiction has taken a backseat. Well there’s no doubt that the coronavirus pandemic needs to be dealt with immediately, ignoring the very real and continuing scourge of addiction is at our own risk.
With the continuing spread of Coronavirus / COVID-19, we understand the concerns you have about your loved one and their treatment. We also recognize the important need for continued addiction and mental health treatment. Delaying treatment for any reason can result in catastrophic circumstances.