COVID-19 Update: May 2021
Nearly half-way through 2021 the pandemic has changed in some key ways throughout the world. The largest change has been the distribution of vaccines, 260 million doses already administered in the US. The prospect of immunizing at risk individuals and then the general population promises a return to some form of normalcy.
- US COVID Deaths: 581,000
- Percent US Population With 1 Vaccine Dose: 46.6%
- Percent US Population Fully Vaccinated: 35.2%
Alongside the vaccine efforts, doctors are working to understand the details surrounding “long COVID”. As the name suggests, people report a host of symptoms but over a much longer timespan than the usual COVID sickness period. Effects related to COVID are reported like issues with smell and taste, brain fog, and chronic fatigue. Some of the symptoms are less commonly associated with COVID like reports of significant muscle and bone pain. An investigation into treatment at veteran’s centers found that doctors were prescribing these people opioids at higher rates than normal. In a country still struggling with the opioid epidemic, a wary eye on opioid prescriptions could go a long way in helping people avoid the disastrous side effects of opioid pain management.
While treatment facilities and rehabs have been open throughout the pandemic, the safety and peace of mind provided by vaccines could help struggling people commit to treatment. COVID has created a mountain of stress on people and some turn towards substance use to cope. Research found that financial stress and loss of a loved one associated with COVID drove up substance use, especially among vulnerable populations of people with PTSD and anxiety. These disorders already predispose people to substance use, but the addition of COVID stress drives that risk even higher. Overall, studies found that drug use in the US rose between 13% and 18% during the pandemic.
COVID-19/Coronavirus and Drug and Alcohol Rehab
COVID-19 has caused unprecedented changes in the way that we live our lives. It has stopped a tremendous amount of personal and economic activity, at least in the short term. However, COVID-19, also known as coronavirus, has not put a stop to addiction, nor has it put an end to the need for drug and alcohol rehab.
What Is COVID-19/Coronavirus?
COVID-19 is a highly infectious respiratory disease that is caused by a new Coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China. The majority of those who are infected with COVID-19 either are asymptomatic or they develop mild symptoms. However, some individuals become incredibly ill and require hospitalization. In many cases, COVID-19 in its complications prove fatal.
How Has COVID-19/Coronavirus Impacted Addiction?
COVID-19/Coronavirus has impacted many aspects of addiction. For example, because of enforced social distancing guidelines and curfews, it is very difficult for many to acquire drugs. Similarly, the closing of bars and restaurants has limited the opportunities for many to drink socially, although alcohol is still available in most places.
Although COVID-19/Coronavirus may have put some obstacles in the way of acquiring a substance, it has not treated the underlying causes behind substance use, nor has it put an end to substance abuse. In fact, these obstacles may even add to the desperation of an addict who is unable to acquire their substance of choice.
For many, COVID-19/Coronavirus has added to the underlying mental and emotional issues that underlie their addiction. For example, stress, loneliness, depression, boredom, isolation, and more are becoming issues for many as a result of the impacts of COVID-19, all of which often are closely linked with substance abuse. COVID-19 and its fallout may trigger many to drink or use.
How Has Addiction Impacted COVID-19/Coronavirus?
Addiction has a significant impact on the spread of COVID-19, as well as its progression. When individuals abuse substances, especially alcohol, their decision-making and judgement are often impaired, as is their ability to properly gauge risk. For this reason, they may not follow social distancing guidelines and contribute to the spread of the virus.
Men, especially in countries like Italy and China, have a significantly higher rates of hospitalization and fatality than women. However, it appears that men and women are infected at roughly equal rates. It has been widely theorized that one of the primary factors at play is that men demonstrate significantly higher rates of smoking than women in these countries.
It is believed that the long-term long and respiratory damage caused by smoking weakens them and leaves them especially vulnerable to COVID-19/Coronavirus. It is unclear whether this applies to other smoked drugs such as Crack Cocaine, Marijuana, and Meth, but it is very likely.
Additionally, intravenous drug use, such as shooting Heroin or other opioids, is known to dramatically increase the risk of heart and other pulmonary infections, which also make an individual more susceptible to the worst consequences of COVID-19-Coronavirus.
Is Drug or Alcohol Rehab Still Open?
Yes, rehab is still open because rehab for drug and alcohol addiction is an essential service, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. For many people, the risks of alcohol poisoning or a drug overdose are more dangerous and urgent than the risk of coronavirus, so rehab cannot stop. Like the medical professionals in America’s clinics and hospitals, the treatment providers who work in rehab centers are dedicated to helping the community during these uncertain times. Across the country, rehab centers remain ready and available to provide high-quality treatment to anyone who endeavors to overcome substance abuse.
Is It Still Safe to Go to Drug or Alcohol Rehab Despite COVID-19/Coronavirus?
Yes, rehab is still safe. Right now, rehab centers are taking preventive measures to ensure that their facilities remain coronavirus-free. More specifically, rehab centers are regularly testing patients and potential patients for COVID-19, adapting their programs to comply with social-distancing guidelines, and making sure that their facilities have adequate supplies of hand sanitizer at all times.
Should I Still Go to Drug or Alcohol Rehab Despite COVID-19/Coronavirus?
You might feel that now is the time to stay home and worry about your addiction later, but today is always the best day to start recovery. In fact, isolation and loneliness may worsen your substance abuse. If you’re already stuck at home, why not take this pandemic as an opportunity to improve yourself and get better? After all, before the pandemic started, you may not have been able to take time off from your job, classes, or social life to get treatment, but now you can.
Find Drug and Alcohol Rehab During COVID-19/Coronavirus
If you or someone you know struggles with drug or alcohol addiction, please call the number on this website to talk to a treatment provider and learn more about how rehab works, how you can pay for it, and where you can go to get started.