Treating a drug or alcohol addiction requires constant effort and willpower. Depending on the severity of the addiction, this can take months or years of treatment. With the Covid-19 pandemic, the lockdown in various cities around the world has made it harder to keep up the hard work in treating individuals with addiction problems. (Image Credit: Freepik)
Lockdown limits the availability of medications and patients’ access to treatment services, but at the same time, but on the other hand, it has also broken down the supply chain of drugs. For that reason, a lockdown can be a great opportunity to help your loved one start treatment for their addiction. In this article, we will discuss some of the ways in which you can help an addict during this pandemic lockdown.
1. Reach Out for Professional Help
Whilst many places have been totally locked down during the Coronavirus pandemic, thankfully there are some drug rehabilitation clinics that have remained open. This is important because access to treatment during this time is vital as many people are suffering from mental health and financial problems as a result of the lockdown which could trigger drug use. Make sure to do your research and find the most ideal clinic to help them with their addiction.
You can also help them talk to a counselor via the various online counseling platforms, or talk to a psychologist or counselor via telehealth sessions. An online intensive outpatient program, or IOP, can also provide great psychological support and treatment if they are unable to attend in-person sessions. It would also be good for the addict to participate in a free online community of people who are undergoing the same situation, such as Hello Sunday Morning for people trying to manage their drinking.
2. Have Enough Medication Prepared and Stored Correctly
During a lockdown, people with addiction problems will not have the usual access to their drug or alcohol supply. This sudden stop can cause withdrawal symptoms that can be extremely distressing and even life-threatening.
Making sure that they have access to the drugs they need will stop your loved one from being in danger when they go cold turkey. You should ensure that patients have access to pharmacotherapy during the lockdown, either by preparing the medications in advance or requesting for delivery of these treatments to your home during the lockdown. It is really important that you learn how to store the medicine correctly.
To lower the risks that come with withdrawal symptoms during the lockdown, it is important for you to ensure that your loved one can receive safe medicine and have access to the care of experienced doctors or nurses at home.
3. Stage an Intervention With Friends and Family
As the lockdown causes an interruption in the drug and alcohol supply, this may be the best possible time to seek treatment for their addiction. In order for this to happen, strong family support and encouragement should be provided to help the addicts acknowledge their substance dependence and take the first steps towards treating it.
During the lockdown, you can discuss the matter with family members and organize an intervention. An intervention allows for confrontation with the person suffering from an addiction in a loving environment. As loved ones express their concerns in a constructive way and inform the addict of how his or her addiction has impacted the family, the person suffering from the addiction can also express their feelings and explain the challenges they face in trying to stop their use of these substances. A family and friends’ intervention is important to encourage a person to enter a serious treatment program.
4. Watch Out for a Potential Overdose After Lockdown Has Finished
Once lockdown is over and everything starts to return to normal, it is likely that many people will return to their former addictions. For many people, it’s the only way to help them escape such as depression, insomnia, and trauma. Many healthcare professionals are concerned that this will lead to a spike in overdoses because their tolerance to the substances will have decreased. It is really important that you keep a close watch of your family member and make sure that they don’t overdose.
The global lockdown has heaped extra pressure on everyone, especially for people suffering from addiction, but it has also helped break down the supply of drugs and alcohol. Because of this, many users have taken this time to accept treatments to ease their cravings and relieve withdrawal symptoms. As a friend or family member, you should ensure that strong support is always provided to help them fight their battle, have the medications ready to treat them when necessary, and also find access to doctors and nurses who can assist the addict during lockdown at home or in a rehab center.