Before the pandemic, navigating recovery had plenty of challenges. A variety of barriers could present themselves at any given moment, but success was contingent upon the ability to show up and do the work. For many, this includes connection and fellowship in the recovery community, and engaging through self-help groups, such as relapse prevention groups here at Behavioral Awareness Center or outside community support groups like Narcotics Anonymous (NA). These groups provide safety and security in one’s sobriety. When this is taken away, we are putting an entire community at risk. The coronavirus pandemic has transformed everyday life for all people, but it is especially different for the recovery community. For those who are dealing with disease during our current pandemic, the one thing that is required to treat their disease is discouraged as it puts them at risk for the pandemic. Additionally, many enter treatment due to consequences of their use. With people not interacting in-person with family, friends or the workplace, the likelihood of consequences decreases, allowing use to continue.
Why are we seeing a record number of relapses? Relapses generally fuel from feelings of loneliness (isolation), anxiety, loss of social support, and boredom. Recovery and 12 step groups offer a social support network and safe place to heal from emotional, mental and physical wounds. In the absence of these support groups, isolation and emotional distress can be significant triggers to relapse. As we continue to social distance, it is no surprise to see the vast rise in telehealth services being offered across the country. For those specifically struggling with substance use disorders, we expect that they pick up the phone, tablet, or computer and connect with professionals to continue treatment. It sounds easy, but for some, this can be extremely difficult. With access to telehealth services continuing, the shift to accepting virtual care is happening. Outcomes are trending in a positive direction. While the pandemic has fostered isolation, it has also generated an enormous amount of innovation and ingenuity. This is extremely promising for a community that thrives on in-person gatherings. People who were previously unable to receive services in person due to lack of transportation, living in remote area, medical problems, social and generalized anxiety, childcare, time constraints, etc. can now receive treatment virtually.
Another encouraging development in telehealth services is that clients report being more willing to self-disclose over this platform. Some patients with a history of trauma say they feel more secure sharing and interacting virtually versus face-to-face. This also extends to the family of loved ones struggling with addiction. Regardless of where they may be, services can be easier to coordinate.
Here at Behavioral Awareness Center we are offering a variety of Telehealth services such as Individual counseling sessions, relapse prevention groups, family groups to name a few so if you are interested and would like more information give us a call or send me an email and I will get right back to you.
Relapse prevention groups are every Wednesday night at 6:30pm via Zoom Meeting. All Behavioral Awareness Center Clients are welcome. If you would like to attend send me your email address, call in and give it to the front office and they will make sure that it gets to me, and every Wednesday you will get an email invitation to join us!
Assistant Clinical Director