Substance Use Disorder and the Pandemic

We have all had to quickly adapt to changes in our daily lives to minimize the spread of COVID-19. These changes, to name a few, include the stress of living in a pandemic, seemingly overnight shifts in our household dynamics, our children’s education, workplace insecurity, financial worries, and social isolation.

These struggles have created an environment ripe for substance use disorder. Many formerly healthy people have developed addictions during this time, those already battling addictions are in greater danger of overdosing than ever, and those in recovery are struggling to stay sober.

Telehealth Options Improve Substance Use Recovery

Telehealth Intensive Outpatient Programs can help. IOPs typically pick up where in-person, extended treatment leaves off. They act as a bridge between early recovery and independent sober living. While it may feel odd to receive group health services via Zoom, we have seen patients adapt and thrive beautifully with telehealth services. Even those who haven’t been through an intensive recovery program can benefit from telehealth IOPs.

  • A key benefit of telehealth services is they break down some of the barriers to continuing treatment many people experience after Partial or Full Hospitalization for Substance Use Disorder.
  • No travel is required to participate in telehealth programs. Patients can stay connected to their support network from almost any place they have internet access. This cuts down the time commitment and inconvenience of participating in an IOP program.
  • Telehealth programming makes it easier for those in remote or rural areas to participate. Where a participant may have needed to drive a significant distance to make an in-person meeting, now they can join right from the privacy of their homes.
  • Participating from home also means less disruption to their daily lives. For example, many do not need to arrange for childcare while joining a telehealth IOP. Patients can be available for their families in ways they could not when attending regular in-person meetings. Similarly, their families have greater access to support via telehealth, which aids them in supporting their loved one.
  • Telehealth IOP also allows patients to stay connected to their recovery cohort from anywhere. We know that patients form supportive bonds with their peers while in early recovery programs. With telehealth programs, recovering users can still progress through IOP with people they already know and trust. They can continue to support one another in recovery, even if scattered across the country.
  • Telehealth IOPs Support Sustained Sobriety

    Jordan (not her real name) is a former patient in our partial hospitalization recovery program and telehealth IOP, led by Jason Kniola. She says,

    “The transition from residential care to IOP was a great way to ease back into a healthy routine free from substances. Because most of the people in my group were in the same stage in their recovery as I, we formed not only a cohesive group with similar goals but also a great support system that has continued to this day.

    Every meeting proved helpful for the continuation of my own transition. Each person was listened to when a crisis or difficulty arose, yet we were still given work to prepare for discussions, encouraging a better understanding of ourselves, our addiction, and success in our recovery.

    I felt like the allotted time for meetings was also a great transition from residential care to a more integrated independent yet supported lifestyle.

    I’m very glad I followed my stay at Parkdale with IOP with Jason.”

    A Long-term Solution for Ongoing Addiction Treatment

    We are seeing that telehealth IOP is not just a good temporary solution, but meaningfully helpful in unexpected ways. Dr. Joseph Lee, a medical director at Hazelden Betty Ford, says, “I think people haven’t thought about telehealth as a real option, only as an adjunct to some other care. But I see things are turning around pretty fast.”

    Parkdale Center has built a strong telehealth intensive outpatient program to help patients stay sober. Please contact us for more information. COVID-19 has deeply altered all our lives, but we can all thrive long term with sufficient support.

Monday, 17 August 2020 14:35