Ongoing battles: Addiction and COVID

Does it really matter why a person has become addicted to something harmful to the human body? Isn’t the important thing when they reach out for help because they want recovery, to have their lives back? They live tenuously. Relapse is a very real possibility on any given day. But these days, there is another enemy that has entered the picture, a factor to be reckoned with.

Everyone under orders to stay home is trying to cope with the stress of isolation. Those who are at higher risk of serious illness, the ones that are most in need of protecting, are tiring of the four walls that surround them, but their families and friends and neighbors insist that they stay home. Those folks do the grocery shopping and any other business the highest at risk need done.

“I’ve been self-quarantining for going on six weeks,” said a friend, “and I’m OK with it …”

But there are the little things like doing your own shopping. You can’t even go out to a store to buy a refill for your pen. Or a crossword puzzle book. Or new curtains for the kitchen. You can’t get things done the way you want them because you don’t feel safe going … out there.

Now, thinking about your stress, can you begin to imagine how much greater is the stress for someone who is in treatment for addiction, a huge battle in itself? Then add the battle against COVID-19 because the virus attacks the lungs and the immune system that has been battered by substance misuse and is weaker, according to www.drugabuse.gov.

When you are hanging on from one appointment to the next and suddenly learn that access to your care just became more complicated, how do you feel? What do you do? Where do you go? Who do you call?

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides a PDF document that offers helpful information to help those with substance use disorders and are fighting for their lives. Online search for “Your Recovery is Important: Virtual Recovery Services.”

You don’t have to go through this alone. As an essential business, professionals in the field are using technology and innovation to continue to be there with help when you need it while keeping you and them safe. Agencies like Family Recovery Center are there to walk you through the challenging times even when things appear to be more like obstacles to drive you back where you were instead of challenges that urge you forward, keeping to your goals. Don’t give up the skip. Keep fighting your fight.

Thomas A McLellan, Ph.D., writes in an article at the U.S. National Library of Medicine within the National Institutes of Health, “‘Addiction’ is qualitatively different from substance use and is now best understood as an acquired chronic illness, similar in many respects to type 2 diabetes – illnesses that can be managed but not yet cured.”

If you are struggling to work through issues, Family Recovery staff is available to walk you through some of it, 330-424-1468.

Addiction has no address, but Family Recovery Center does. For more information about the education, prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse and related behavioral issues, contact the agency at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or e-mail, info@familyrecovery.org. Visit the web site at www.familyrecovery.org. Family Recovery Center is funded, in part, by United Way of Northern Columbiana County.


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