The number of Americans dying from drug overdoses rose sharply in the first quarter of the year, putting the country on track for setting a new record for annual overdose deaths. The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on people in general and addiction services more specifically is also playing a role.
Family get-togethers, anticipated to bring joy and celebration, are often brought to a screeching halt when you or a family member does something foolish or inappropriate while under the influence of alcohol or another substance.
As the pandemic continues to make headlines, less attention is given to the rise in addiction-related deaths. The American Medical Association Advocacy Resource Center recently reported, “The AMA is greatly concerned by an increasing number of reports from national, state and local media suggesting increases in opioid- and other drug-related mortality
Historically seen as the standard of care for alcohol treatment and substance abuse disorders in general, 12-step programs are extremely limited. Only in recent years have those limitations been examined.
Addiction is sneaky. It begins as a way to feel better, relax or to party a little with friends. As time passes, it begins to take a little more to feel the same way a little used to make you feel.
Alcohol addiction in one family member impacts the rest. The consequences of the disorder doesn’t stay contained within a single person. The condition affects how the sufferer acts around others, externalizing the problem and creating new problems.
People in the throes of addiction sometimes behave in ways that are contrary to social norms. When they lie or steal to get the substance needed to prevent their painful withdrawal symptoms, or when their behavior is aggressive or paranoid because of their substance use, people who know and love them sometimes have difficulty maintaining compassion and sympathy.
On September 14, 2020, the National Institutes of Health released a disturbing report showing that individuals with substance use disorders are more likely to get COVID-19 and suffer more serious complications from it.
Statistically, people are living longer and healthier lives. But the changes both physically and mentally, and even how medications, alcohol, and other substances are processed in the body do occur with aging.
Mental health experts and substance abuse treatment practitioners have long been concerned that the COVID-19 pandemic and associated mitigation activities such as physical distancing and stay-at-home orders would lead to increases in depression, trauma, and substance abuse.