COVID and Addiction Rates

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Coronavirus Consequences
The Pandemic’s Effect on Addiction Rates

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a unique set of challenges. People in every demographic are being faced with high stress levels and persistent uncertainty in many areas of life. Rates of substance abuse and addiction have been skyrocketing throughout the country as a direct result. Not only are rates of addiction on the rise, but people who regularly abuse chemical substances are at a greater risk of contracting COVID-19 and experiencing more severe symptoms. At Guardian Recovery we believe in the importance of delivering accessible and effective addiction treatment services. Since the pandemic began we have been striving to increase the accessibility of every level of clinical care while taking the health and safety of each individual client into careful account. If you or someone you love has been struggling with a new or worsening substance use disorder, we are available to help. Contact us today to learn more.

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COVID-19 & Rates of Addiction

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 13 percent of Americans have reported an increase in substance use since June 2020 due to heightened stress levels and emotional distress directly related to the pandemic. Rates of drug-related overdose have also been on the rise. The American Medical Association reports 40 states have seen an increase in opioid-related overdose deaths, and ODMAP, a commonly employed Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program, suggests drug overdose deaths have increased by roughly 18 percent since around this time last year. Researchers have observed that people are generally using drugs more frequently and in greater quantities since the pandemic began.

Many people have also transitioned from one chemical substance to another, seeing as some drugs have become more difficult to obtain. Of course, because in-person interviewing and data collection has also become more difficult, tracking the exact number of Americans who regularly engage in drug use is no small feat. One thing is for certain, however: drug addiction rates are on the rise, and people are in need of accessible addiction treatment options. At Guardian Recovery we strive to keep our treatment services as accessible as possible to people of all ages and in all demographics, while consistently prioritizing their health and safety. If you would like to learn more about the COVID-19 related safety precautions we have been taking or if you would like to get started with our simple and straightforward admissions processcontact us today.

The Relationship Between COVID-19 & Addiction

While the COVID-19 pandemic can be held partially accountable for the nationwide increase in drug addiction, it is important to acknowledge addiction rates have been on the rise for quite some time. Over the course of the past decade rates of heroin abuse, addiction and overdose have been steadily increasing, and as new, designer drugs are being constantly introduced to the market the health-related consequences of drug addiction grow more and more severe. However, there is a distinct and undeniable relationship between COVID-19 and addiction.

Links Between Addiction & COVID-19:

  • Shifts in drug availability might be partially responsible for the dramatic increase in drug overdose deaths – If a person or drug dealer can’t obtain pure heroin, they might reach for fentanyl, a synthetic opioid which is exceptionally more potent. Fentanyl has been linked to the vast majority of recent overdose-related deaths.
  • People have been experiencing unprecedented stress levels and extreme loneliness, both of which can lead to substance use – Many psychiatric professionals agree that COVID-19-related stressors and social isolation can be linked to many new and worsening cases of drug addiction.
  • As stress levels skyrocket, people are also being faced with fewer healthy ways to cope with these stress levels – Many people turn to regular social interactions as a healthy way to deal with stress. They might meet up with their friends for lunch and vent about a frustrating work-related situation, or go on a jog with a friend every morning and talk over coffee afterwards. People have limited access to a range of physical activities which may have previously helped them work through stress.
  • The rise in drug overdose deaths is also partially linked to social isolation – People who overdose on a drug often do so alone in their own homes; if there is no one present to call for emergency first responders or to administer Narcan, these overdoses can be fatal. Some community clinics and recovery foundations have also limited their services because of COVID-19.

Healthcare systems have been overwhelmed since cases started escalating in the U.S. People who relied on state-funded detox facilities or on receiving addiction treatment in a hospital setting found it more difficult to access the services they required. At Guardian Recovery our doors have remained open since the start of the pandemic, and they will continue to stay open indefinitely. We provide a range of essential healthcare services, including medically monitored detoxmedication assisted treatment optionspartial hospitalizationintensive outpatient treatmentresidential inpatient treatment and aftercare planning. To learn more about the services we provide or to begin the admissions process to any level of clinical care you or your loved one needs, contact us today.

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Avoiding Relapse During the Pandemic

If you are currently in addiction recovery and you have been feeling somewhat unstable in your sobriety, there are several steps to take to ensure you stay on track.

Steps to Avoid Relapse:

  • Call a sober support at least once every day and make as many virtual recovery meetings as you can. One of the biggest benefits of recovery meetings is their ability to keep you accountable. Map out some virtual meetings you can consistently make, so you have friends (near or far) to keep you accountable during this trying time.
  • Make sure you’re tending to your mental health needs. If you have an underlying mental illness, up your current therapy sessions. For example, schedule two appointments every week as opposed to one. If you have never been diagnosed with a mental illness, schedule an individual therapy appointment anyway. Talking with an experienced professional is only going to benefit you.
  • If you start to feel very unstable in your sobriety or if you start to recognize relapse warning signs, enter into a lower level of clinical care like intensive outpatient treatment. You don’t need to be actively using drugs in order to seek treatment. Taking preventative measures is often a good idea.
  • Find a set of new stress-relieving activities you can participate in on your own. This might include going on a long hike several times a week, taking a virtual yoga class in your living room or finding a new guided meditation to listen to every evening.

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At Guardian Recovery we believe accessible and effective treatment options should be readily available and easily accessible. We have treatment programs in multiple states. Our addiction treatment programs cater to people of all ages and in all demographics who are suffering from substance abuse and mental health concerns. Regardless of whether you or your loved one needs medical detox, inpatient rehab or intensive outpatient, we are available to help. Contact us directly through our website or over the phone to be put in touch with one of our compassionate Treatment Advisors who will walk you through every step of the admissions process from start to finish. All you have to do is make the decision to begin and we will take care of the rest.

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Disclaimer: Does not guarantee specific treatment outcomes, as individual results may vary. Our services are not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis; please consult a qualified healthcare provider for such matters.

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Reviewed professionally for accuracy by:

Ryan Soave

L.M.H.C.

Ryan Soave brings deep experience as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, certified trauma therapist, program developer, and research consultant for Huberman Lab at Stanford University Department of Neurobiology. Post-graduation from Wake Forest University, Ryan quickly discovered his acumen for the business world. After almost a decade of successful entrepreneurship and world traveling, he encountered a wave of personal and spiritual challenges; he felt a calling for something more. Ryan returned to school and completed his Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. When he started working with those suffering from addiction and PTSD, he found his passion. He has never looked back.

Written by:

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark grew up in Santa Barbara, CA and graduated from UCLA with a degree in playwriting. Since then she has been writing on addiction recovery and psychology full-time, and has found a home as part of the Guardian Recovery team.

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