Recovering from COVID-19 and AddictionBrittany Brizendine
A year after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, the end may be in sight. Vaccines have been proven effective against the virus and are becoming available to virtually every adult in the US. For people who continue to struggle with the challenges of recovering from COVID-19 and addiction, there are some precautions and guidelines that can help.
Continue to Protect Yourself
Certain precautions are still necessary to protect yourself and others from the COVID-19 virus. Even with more people getting vaccinated, it is still important to continue to wear a mask in public and to maintain appropriate physical distances from people who do not live with you.
When you are struggling with addiction or are in recovery, the isolation you’ve experienced during the pandemic may continue to affect you. However, your health depends on staying safe as you move forward with the healing process. The fear and anxiety that has been a part of the pandemic from the beginning can feel overwhelming.
It’s critical that you continue to seek out treatment options and support groups that offer the help you need in an environment that offers you the protection you need. In recovery, that social support is crucial, particularly as isolation can become a risk factor for relapse. A healthcare provider that offers telehealth and virtual support meetings can provide continued the social connection that is so important in your addiction treatment.
More Susceptible to COVID-19
People with compromised immune systems are more susceptible to the COVID-19 virus. This includes individuals with substance use disorders. Opioids, especially, negatively impact lung and hearth health. Opioids act in the brain stem to slow breathing, which can also cause a harmful decrease of oxygen in the blood. Low or no oxygen can be damaging to your brain functions. Reduced lung capacity from the COVID-19 virus can further endanger oxygen levels and brain health.
If you are challenged with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, it is especially important that you seek treatment during the pandemic. While that may seem like a difficult thing to do, with so many restrictions in place, it can be done and it needs to be done for your health and well-being.
You may feel a significant amount of stress during these trying times as well. Addiction treatment will help you learn effective coping strategies that can help reduce your sense of anxiety and move you forward toward your recovery.
Focus on Your Goals
As you progress through your addiction treatment and recovery, it may be tempting to take risks as it appears the pandemic may be nearing an end. However, this is the time you need to be especially cautious and focus on your goals in recovery. Even as more people are getting the vaccine and the virus seems to be getting under better control, the situation can still be stressful. Take steps now to ensure that the stress does not trigger you as you prepare to return to normalcy in your life.
Remind yourself about the reasons you chose to seek treatment for your addiction. Then reflect on the progress you’ve made so far. Put it all in writing. Include the goals you still want to reach. Focus on the fact that you can achieve those goals if you continue to follow your treatment plan.
Take Care of Yourself
Also, remind yourself that the situation you’ve been in for the past year, with the stay-at-home orders and the pandemic-related restrictions, is only temporary. However, your recovery from addiction is not temporary. It is a choice you’ve made for your life, so you can be healthier and happier.
Reassure yourself that sometimes it’s okay to not feel okay. Then, continue to take care of yourself as the pandemic nears its end. Get outside for some fresh air and exercise as much as possible, while staying safe. Connect with others virtually. Continue with your addiction treatment using telehealth. Hold onto the hope that you feel as you overcome your addiction. You’ve come this far. You can do it!
SOBER AUSTIN PROVIDES THE RESOURCES YOU NEED DURING COVID-19
At Sober Austin, we provide the resources you need to stay safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic and to manage its effects on you and your addiction treatment. If you or your loved is struggling with addiction and need to learn more about available resources, please browse our site to learn more about finding support in Austin. Please feel free to contact us directly by calling 866-319-8865 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.