No one could have seen the potential roadblock to addiction treatment coming in the form of a pandemic. But, the coronavirus is here and with talk of a potential fourth wave in Canada, it has drastic implications for drug and addiction rehab.

That’s why in 2021, many addicts have questions about whether addiction treatment is an endeavour worth the risk during the pandemic. The only problem is addiction doesn’t stop.

Addiction changes the way the human brain works. And unfortunately, even a global pandemic won’t stop addicts from using and dealing with the dangerous side effects.

Sure, there are potential negative implications for social gathering and close contact during the COVID-19. But there are worse consequences from not getting addiction treatment when you need it. The spiral effects of these consequences don’t stop at the addict. They have a knock-on effect that can extend to friends and loved ones.

From the scenario above, deciding whether or not to get addiction treatment during the pandemic seems like an impossible task. But, we can make the choice easier for you.

With this short read, we’ll discuss indicators and factors that can help you decide whether or not you need addiction treatment despite a pandemic. If you’re sitting astride the fence about addiction rehab in a pandemic, don’t stop reading.

COVID-19, Mental Health and Addiction

COVID-19 is not just a threat to our lungs and general physical health. The pandemic has a widespread effect on our mental well-being. The impact of the pandemic includes increased anxiety levels and stress for many residents in Canada.

For people with pre-existing mental conditions, the pandemic has come with worse symptoms. Add addiction to the mix, and it’s a three-pronged situation with dire consequences for addicts.

Mental health and drug abuse have a long-standing connection. Up to half of patients with mental conditions have addiction-related problems. It’s a situation addiction specialists call a dual diagnosis. With social distancing and reduced opportunities for human contact, the pandemic worsens the symptoms of people with a dual diagnosis.

For providers who are struggling in the wake of a financial downturn, feelings of anxiety are prevalent. Common emotional responses include fear, exhaustion and guilt. With these emotions in play, it’s easy to suffer a relapse or worsen the drug habit.

If you have a pre-existing mental condition, the question of whether or not to get addiction treatment during the pandemic is an easy one. The answer is yes!

Allowing addiction and mental health issues to fester can make for an impossible situation down the line. Expert addiction treatment can provide you with the tools to manage the pandemic and stay sober.

Can I Control the Way I Abuse Substances?

Many addicts believe they can control the way they use drugs without professional help. It’s the go-to move for 100% of addicts. In unique cases, especially where the addiction is recent, addicts can stop using on their own.

But trying to control the way you use drugs without expert help doesn’t work nine out of ten times. Threading this path can lead you to extreme denial and refusal to seek the help you need.

If you have been trying to stop using a substance without much success, now is the time to go to addiction rehab. Heightened fear and anxiety over the COVID-19 pandemic means you need all the support you can get.

Am I Dealing With Social Isolation?

Social isolation is a significant trigger for drug and addiction relapse. Loneliness can be a sensitive, emotional state for people dealing with drug abuse. It’s a pathway for negative thought processes that can lead to drug abuse.

For people wondering whether to get addiction treatment during a pandemic, the loneliness factor tilts the answer to the “YES” scale. Worse, it may be impossible to avoid loneliness due to social distancing and reduced gatherings.

Conversely, addiction treatment services in Toronto offer in-person support to fight loneliness alongside addiction problems. With modified therapy sessions (thanks to the pandemic), you can talk to an expert and get practical advice.

The Question of Detox

The most sensitive part of addiction treatment is the detox stage — the time interval immediately after you stop using. Because your body is used to getting the substance of choice in copious doses, it reacts in the absence of the drug. These body reactions are known as withdrawal symptoms.

Managing withdrawal symptoms at home can have dangerous implications. Withdrawal symptoms can range from feelings of nausea to seizures and loss of consciousness. For drugs like benzodiazepines and alcohol, at-home withdrawal is deadly.

Professional in-patient detox programs in Ontario should be the priority, despite the pandemic. At a drug detox centre, you’ll have access to critical 24/7 supervision and medical professionals. In the event of a crisis during detox, medical assistance can be a lifesaver.

Am I at a Bigger Risk of Contracting the Coronavirus?

Due to health conditions like asthma and immune system problems, a select group of people are at risk of contracting the virus. The answer to whether addiction treatment is worth the risk is yes if you fall within this group.

Take people whose substance of choice is marijuana. If you smoke a lot of marijuana, you have a higher risk of contracting respiratory-related sickness. For this addict, the best option is to get ahead of it by getting professional help.

Related Article: What Happens During Detox?

How Rehab Centres are Making Addiction Treatment Worth it

In the preceding sections, we have explored how addiction treatment is worth the risk during a pandemic — based on your unique situation. But, there are two sides to every coin. And in this case, the second side to this coin is the drug detox centre.

The ideal drug detox centre must be following all COVID-19 precautions and regulations. Adhering to these rules is vital to ensure you’re in the best possible health to receive effective addiction treatment.

The ideal drug detox and rehab program must adapt its treatment to prepare for COVID-19. Their facility-wide measures should be aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

The following questions can help you decide whether addiction treatment is worth the risk at a particular facility:

  • Is the drug rehab conducting COVID-19 screening before admitting applicants?
  • Is the detox centre enforcing hand-washing or hand-sanitizing at its facilities?
  • Does the detox centre screen its staff and patients daily?
  • Are there emergency protocols in place to deal with the outbreak of coronavirus within the facility?
  • Do on-site medical personnel have the expertise to deal with COVID-related health complications?

Will I Be Safe in Rehab?

will i be safe in rehab

Addiction treatment is worth the risk during the pandemic because it does guarantee extra safety. In the outside world, addicts move from place to place in the pursuit of the next high. Inevitably, they may come in contact with people who have the virus.

A staple of in-patient addiction treatment is the stability it offers. Patients will be in a controlled facility healing from trauma and addiction.

Because you’ll be in one place, the odds of getting the virus are significantly lower. Plus, addiction treatment offers the luxury of medical help on-site. These two factors mean it may be safer to get addiction treatment during the pandemic.

Virtual Addiction Treatment

Addiction treatment is worth the risk during the pandemic if the addiction treatment centre is going virtual. With the wonders of technology and online communication, addiction treatment centres are going virtual.

Therapy sessions that used to be in-person can now be done virtually through video calls and live streaming. Instead of sitting one-on-one with a therapist, you’ll be in the safety of an enclosed space — without any risk of contracting the virus.

What is In-Patient Rehab Like During the Pandemic?

If you’re wondering whether or not addiction treatment is worth the risk during the pandemic, it’s likely because you fear contracting the virus. That’s why the best drug detox centres in Ontario take all the precautions possible to ensure the safety of their patients.

Patients have to answer questions about possible COVID-19 exposure before addiction treatment even starts. In some cases, the drug detox centre may enforce a quarantine period before patients start getting treatment.

Patients getting addiction treatment in an inpatient detox centre will get reduced visitors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Similarly, comprehensive cleaning is a habit. Door knobs, elevator buttons and door handles will all undergo regular cleaning and sanitizing. Residents within the clinic can also expect to get sanitizers and soaps on request.

In-patient rehab during the pandemic involves a great deal of social distancing. Patients and experts must keep to the distance limit of six feet. To cap it off, most drug rehab centres are reducing group therapy sessions to the barest minimum.

What is Out-patient Rehab Like During the Pandemic?

Out-patient addiction treatment during the pandemic is worth it because it has no risk. For starters, you’ll have far less contact with addiction specialists and are at far less risk of contracting the virus.

Like in-patient rehab, admission to an out-patient program will require COVID-19 screening. If you have symptoms of the virus or test positive, the clinic will recommend isolation and telehealth services.

In response to the pandemic, addiction treatment centres are offering a range of telemedicine services. Patients can expect to get treatment during video calls or phone calls with specialists. If you need to attend any 12-step group meetings, they’ll happen with social distancing and hand sanitization precautions.

Medication-assisted Treatment During the Pandemic

Typically, medication-assisted treatment is for addicts dealing with opioid and alcohol addictions. It requires regular visits to the addiction centre to receive the recommended dosage of drugs like methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone.

Medication is important during this treatment model to ease symptoms and make addiction recovery an easier prospect. But, with the pandemic in full swing, moving from one place to another to obtain these medications is risky.

Drug detox centres are adapting to this change by allowing patients to get more medication with each visit to the clinic. Depending on how stable the patient is, they can take up to 28 days’ dosages home.

High-risk patients still need to be coming in regularly to get their medication. Each visit will happen with social distancing measures in practice.

Related Article: An Overview of Outpatient and Inpatient Detoxification

Final Take

The question of whether addiction treatment is worth the risk during the pandemic is a hard one. But as long as your choice of detox centre is taking the necessary precautions to fight addiction, rehab is the ideal choice.

Plus, while residing in an in-patient drug rehab facility, the chances of contracting the coronavirus fall drastically. Addiction detox and treatment can change your life during a pandemic.

That’s why we at Medical Detox Ontario are ticking all the boxes to ensure our patients can get safe, effective addiction help during a pandemic.

From social distancing measures to telehealth treatment options, we’ve got treatment models for different situations. Contact us today to discuss how we can help you.

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