COVID-19 & Addiction Treatment
In recent weeks and days, the world has been thrown into health and economic turmoil with the spread of the coronavirus, COVID-19.
With businesses closing down due to either Government restrictions or lack of trade, many individuals have subsequently lost their jobs and are in precarious financial positions. Additionally, strict border control measures, both internationally and interstate, have slowed the movement of people and trade.
Health and medical services are being mobilised to prepare for the onslaught of coronavirus cases in hospitals, including intensive care units in coming weeks and months.
Access Economics estimates that current annual turnover for illicit drugs in Australia sits at $7 billion dollars. Unlike the wider economy, we have limited knowledge on how it operates, but understand that it is not immune to the disruption being wreaked by the coronavirus.
For an individual suffering from the disease of addiction, the effects of world events are amplified as both health and economic stress are compounded. These effects also mean that specialised treatment for addiction in the current climate is of escalating importance.
Here’s why you should consider treatment for you or your loved one’s addiction issues immediately.
The Effect Of A Worldwide Illicit Drug Shortage Upon Addiction Sufferers
An effect of a shortage of any commodity drives up prices and in the drug trafficking, it is no different. For addiction sufferers, it means sourcing drugs is more difficult, prices are higher and some sufferers may turn to crime and acts of violence to procure illicit substances.
Additionally, an addiction sufferer is likely to indulge in riskier behaviours to get their ‘fix’, for example, using unknown dealers and substituting other substances where the dosage window is precarious. For example, heroin users will often switch to fentanyl, however, it is difficult to titrate the correct doses and overdoses and death frequently occur as a result.
Entering into rehabilitation will reduce these risks.
The Effect Of A Coronavirus Infection Upon Addiction Sufferers
Addiction is classified by the DSM-V as a mental health disorder, however physical side effects that affect a sufferer’s long term health are commonplace. For example, clinicians have long observed an association between excessive alcohol consumption and adverse immune related health effects such as susceptibility to infection, particularly pneumonia.
Compromised immunity or other health conditions place addiction sufferers in the high risk category of patients that may become infected with coronavirus, with the known impact of the virus being particularly severe upon this population. Again, entering into rehabilitation with the goal of restoring physical and mental health substantially reduces risk.
The Effect Of Economic Impact Of Coronavirus On Addiction Sufferers
Many people are losing their jobs and other sources of income as affected businesses shut their doors due to impact of necessary measures such as social distancing and personal hygiene measures. This can put enormous strain on sufferers of addiction and their families. However, in active addiction, the substance of abuse is prioritised over the needs of the family. This has a knock on effect of creating severe family disadvantage – whereas if an addiction sufferer is in treatment, this is lessened.
The Effect Of An Overworked Hospital System Upon Addiction Sufferers
With an increased demand for hospital and medical services as a result of the spread of COVID-19, other medical emergencies, such as a drug overdose may not be able to be given their usual priority. This could prove deadly for an addiction sufferer. Attending rehabilitation or placing a loved one into rehabilitation reduces such risk.
Rehabilitation Insulates Sufferers From Stress And Teaches Appropriate Coping Mechanisms
Residential rehabilitation programs place the addiction sufferer in a safe environment where they can restore their physical and mental health. Rehabilitation teaches sufferers alternative behaviours that allow them to cope with crises and look after themselves and their families.
Rehabilitation also gives the sufferer the ability to source employment after treatment.
For families, knowing that your loved one is safe from the potentially deadly effects of this global pandemic and knowing that they’re learning tools to manage their recovery and life, can be a great source of comfort.
The Hader Clinic Queensland have put in place strict health and management procedures to ensure that client and staff safety is of the highest priority.
“Alcohol and the Immune System”. Sarkar, D. et al. “Alcohol Research Reviews”. 2015
“Modernizing Australia’s Illicit Drug Policy”. Wodak, A. Submission to House of Representatives Australia, from Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation.
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