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COVID-19 Pandemic Disrupting Addiction Treatment Services

Teletherapy Shows Mixed Results as COVID-19 Pandemic is Disrupting Addiction Treatment Services.

image of woman wearing mask indoors during quatantineAs has been expected, the global COVID-19 pandemic is having a negative impact on those with substance use disorders (SUDs).

Not only is the COVID-19-induced stress and depression a potential trigger for relapse for those in recovery, but evidence suggest that greater numbers of people are turning to drug and alcohol consumption as a form of stress and depression relief. Meanwhile, the pandemic is also hindering the delivery of addiction services, making it more difficult for those with SUDs to get needed help. Additionally, many facilities are also experiencing COVID-19-related financial problems, further limiting treatment options around the country.

Evidence for the impact can be found anecdotally and in the thus-far limited research into the problem. Alcohol sales numbers have increased by more than 25 percent since the onset of the pandemic, according to a CNN business news story that noted “Americans are dealing with coronavirus by drinking. A lot.” Perhaps more worrisome, a recent analysis of 500,000 urine drug tests by Millennium health showed a 32 percent increase in non-prescribed fentanyl results, 20% rise in methamphetamine, and a 10 percent increase in cocaine from mid-March to May. Suspected drug overdoses are also on the rise, with the University of Baltimore’s Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program recording an almost 18 percent climb over two months since mid-March. A Virginia hospital reported that its monthly overdose numbers had climbed over 60 during the first few months of the pandemic, equaling a 1,000 percent rise.

image of man utilizing tele therapyA recent survey from The Addiction Policy Forum showed a 20 percent increase in substance abuse from substance use disorder (SUD) respondents, with one-third of respondents also reporting “changes in treatment or recovery support services.” Almost 15 percent of respondents also reported that they were no longer able to access their needed services.

To respond to the disruption in services, many addiction facilities have turned to teletherapy to offer treatment services remotely via Zoom, Skype, and other teleconferencing tools.

Such remote counseling was not possible pre-COVID-19, but federal rules governing telemedicine and Medicare/Medicaid payment for such were eased as part of the overall pandemic response.

Teletherapy is proving to be a mixed bag depending upon a variety of factors. The remoteness and apparent privacy of teletherapy makes it easier for many people struggling with SUD to seek help. Teletherapy takes some of the perceived stigma of seeking treatment out of the equation because people don’t actually have to go to a physical public location. It also provides easier access to those who don’t live near a treatment facility. On the downside, not everyone has access to the necessary technology and, with online only connections, it’s much harder to establish a level of trust needed for effective counseling and group sessions.

Going forward, teletherapy will probably continue to play a role in treatment services. The degree of that role will likely be determined by research into its effectiveness and the development of guidelines to help drive the best teletherapy results.

If you or someone you care about, has an ongoing history of trauma-related alcohol or substance use and/or relapse, contact Gulf Breeze Recovery or call: (855) 433-4480 to speak to an addiction expert to learn more about their residential program, out-patient program, and intensive out-patient program, and which of these can best fit your individual needs.  These programs have helped many people overcome their addiction and embrace a new happy, healthy, substance-free lifestyle.

We help people not just to survive, but to THRIVE!

Teletherapy Shows Mixed Results as COVID-19 Pandemic is Disrupting Addiction Treatment Services.

image of woman wearing mask indoors during quatantineAs has been expected, the global COVID-19 pandemic is having a negative impact on those with substance use disorders (SUDs).

Not only is the COVID-19-induced stress and depression a potential trigger for relapse for those in recovery, but evidence suggest that greater numbers of people are turning to drug and alcohol consumption as a form of stress and depression relief. Meanwhile, the pandemic is also hindering the delivery of addiction services, making it more difficult for those with SUDs to get needed help. Additionally, many facilities are also experiencing COVID-19-related financial problems, further limiting treatment options around the country.

Evidence for the impact can be found anecdotally and in the thus-far limited research into the problem. Alcohol sales numbers have increased by more than 25 percent since the onset of the pandemic, according to a CNN business news story that noted “Americans are dealing with coronavirus by drinking. A lot.” Perhaps more worrisome, a recent analysis of 500,000 urine drug tests by Millennium health showed a 32 percent increase in non-prescribed fentanyl results, 20% rise in methamphetamine, and a 10 percent increase in cocaine from mid-March to May. Suspected drug overdoses are also on the rise, with the University of Baltimore’s Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program recording an almost 18 percent climb over two months since mid-March. A Virginia hospital reported that its monthly overdose numbers had climbed over 60 during the first few months of the pandemic, equaling a 1,000 percent rise.

image of man utilizing tele therapyA recent survey from The Addiction Policy Forum showed a 20 percent increase in substance abuse from substance use disorder (SUD) respondents, with one-third of respondents also reporting “changes in treatment or recovery support services.” Almost 15 percent of respondents also reported that they were no longer able to access their needed services.

To respond to the disruption in services, many addiction facilities have turned to teletherapy to offer treatment services remotely via Zoom, Skype, and other teleconferencing tools.

Such remote counseling was not possible pre-COVID-19, but federal rules governing telemedicine and Medicare/Medicaid payment for such were eased as part of the overall pandemic response.

Teletherapy is proving to be a mixed bag depending upon a variety of factors. The remoteness and apparent privacy of teletherapy makes it easier for many people struggling with SUD to seek help. Teletherapy takes some of the perceived stigma of seeking treatment out of the equation because people don’t actually have to go to a physical public location. It also provides easier access to those who don’t live near a treatment facility. On the downside, not everyone has access to the necessary technology and, with online only connections, it’s much harder to establish a level of trust needed for effective counseling and group sessions.

Going forward, teletherapy will probably continue to play a role in treatment services. The degree of that role will likely be determined by research into its effectiveness and the development of guidelines to help drive the best teletherapy results.

If you or someone you care about, has an ongoing history of trauma-related alcohol or substance use and/or relapse, contact Gulf Breeze Recovery or call: (855) 433-4480 to speak to an addiction expert to learn more about their residential program, out-patient program, and intensive out-patient program, and which of these can best fit your individual needs.  These programs have helped many people overcome their addiction and embrace a new happy, healthy, substance-free lifestyle.

We help people not just to survive, but to THRIVE!

The front of Gulf Breeze Recovery a non 12 step holistic drug and alcohol rehab specializing in helping guests overcome chronic relapse

About Gulf Breeze Recovery:

Gulf Breeze Recovery, unlike other treatment centers in Florida, is a non 12 step holistic drug and alcohol rehab that is changing the future of addiction treatment with their THRIVE® (Total Health Recovery) program focused on overcoming chronic relapse.
Gulf Breeze Recovery’s THRIVE® program is a non 12-step approach designed for those who are looking for a drug and alcohol treatment program to produce a different and positive result.
This non-12 step program allows you to drive beyond your addictions and promotes a new outlook on life.
We are licensed by the Florida Department of Children and Families, and our last audit scored 99.7! Also, we are gold certified by the Joint Commission.

Program logo: Gulf Breeze Recovery offers a true non-12-Step, holistic drug treatment program with licensed mental health professionals who have small caseloads so that they can offer individualized and intensive care and it's called THRIVE®

End Chronic Relapse and Start a New Life!

At Gulf Breeze Recovery we don’t want you to have just a great recovery, we want you to have a great life!

Contact Us, or Call: (855) 433-4480

Sources:

Yeager, Christopher. “COVID-19 Impact on US National Overdose Crisis.” June 2020. University of Baltimore Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program.

Weiner, Stacy. “COVID-19 and the opioid crisis: When a pandemic and an epidemic collide.” July 27, 2020. AAMC.

Addiction Policy Forum. “Survey: COVID-19 Affecting Access to Addiction Treatment and Key Services." June 9, 2020.

Thompson, Dennis. “Pandemic is changing addiction care, for better and worse.” Medical Press. July 9, 2020.

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