Diseases of Isolation
In our recent blogs, we discussed the strain that the current pandemic is putting on the population we serve. We talked about how substance use and eating disorders are diseases of isolation and added some quotes from fellow warriors on the frontlines. Katelin Penner, a college student recovering from bulimia said that, “[e]ating disorders do thrive in silence. This is kind of like the perfect storm for that silence to get as loud as humanly possible.” Meanwhile, Dr. Marvin Seppala, chief medical officer at the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, shared a similar sentiment, saying that “[w]e consider addiction a disease of isolation.” Well, it looks like the national media is starting to take notice. A recent headline from Fox News reads “Coronavirus causing rise in drug, alcohol relapses among people in recovery, expert says” and we’ll look at some of the highlights of the article here.
“An Increase in Relapses”
The article, written by Alexandria Hein, offers some statistics from American Addiction Centers that should give folks pause. It states that in 2019, 19.7 million Americans ages 12 and over struggled with a substance abuse disorder. That’s about 6 percent of the country, more than one in twenty people. Furthermore, 8.5 million out of the almost-20 also had a co-occurring mental health condition. That’s a huge number of people and right now, many of them are suffering in silence. And unfortunately, it’s starting to take a toll. Dayry Hulkow, M.S., a primary therapist at Arete Recovery states unequivocally, “Yes, we are already starting to see an increase in relapses.”
Some Familiar Signs and Strategies
The article goes on to list a few signs that a person might have relapsed. Among them are a change in attitude, loss of daily structure, poor self-care, elevated stress, and social isolation. From what we’re hearing and seeing, the quarantine seems to be promoting this behavior in many of us, whether we are suffering from a substance abuse disorder or not. However, it’s an all-too-familiar state for those of us in recovery. Hulkow also lists some strategies to help cope with the isolation, many of which have been discussed right here. These include virtual meetings, prayer and meditation, being present or mindfulness, and journaling. She also emphasizes the importance of support from those close to these individuals in the form of open, honest communication, active listening, and clear boundaries.
Build Your Foundation for Success
Ocean Recovery has been successfully treating substance abuse and eating disorders since 2002. We offer individual and group counseling, nutritional therapy, yoga, and more. We also teach that same coping skills and strategies mentioned in the Fox News article. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, please consider calling Ocean Recovery today. Our admissions specialists are standing by to help you start building your foundation for success.