If you found yourself seeking substance abuse treatment during the coronavirus pandemic, you’re not alone.
Researchers have noted significant increases in substance abuse and even drug overdoses since the government declared the COVID-19 national emergency in March 2020.
Whether you sought substance abuse treatment before the onset of the pandemic or not, it’s not a stretch to say that COVID-19 has exacerbated the difficulties of finding (and sticking with) treatment plans.
Here are some tips to help you cope during these challenging times.
Substance Abuse Treatment During Coronavirus Tips
Are you looking for ways to help you avoid relapse during the COVID-19 pandemic? Seeking substance abuse treatment is the best thing you can do to help you kick the addiction to the curb.
However, it’s often not enough by itself. Here are a few other things to try in addition to a formal treatment plan.
1. Establish a New Routine
One of the biggest challenges that the pandemic has presented to everyone is that it has caused severe shifts in routine. You might be stuck at home in quarantine or find that the diner you went to for a cup of coffee when you were craving a beer is now closed down.
The best way to cope with the upset to your routine is to develop a new at-home routine. Even if you aren’t working, try to create a schedule that gives your day some structure and purpose.
It can be tempting to sit around watching Netflix in your pajamas, but this will only increase the likelihood that you have cravings for your drug of choice.
2. Take Care of Your Body
Taking care of your body will help you take care of your mind. While you might feel the urge to hit the snooze button, eat junk food, or forego your normal exercise routine, these behaviors won’t make you feel better in the long run.
When you jeopardize your physical health by not eating a balanced diet, exercising, or getting enough sleep, you’re more likely to find yourself run-down and exhausted. This makes it easy to engage in self-harm behaviors like negative self-talk and turning back to drugs or alcohol.
3. Make Time to Exercise and Get Outside
Exercise has multiple benefits for people who are feeling isolated and those who are trying to adapt to drug addiction treatment. It not only releases hormones that can naturally relieve stress, but it can improve your alertness and focus too.
If you’re able to exercise outside, that’s even better. You don’t need to go for a 10-mile run to reap these benefits. A brisk walk around the block can alleviate a great deal of stress and reduce cravings. Of course, make sure you adhere to all social distancing guidelines in your area if you choose to do this.
4. Get Creative
Directing your energy toward a creative pursuit is another great way to make the most of lockdowns – and help you avoid substance use.
Write in a journal. Paint. Sing. Take photographs.
Whatever your medium of choice, maybe you can channel your negative emotions into a creative outlet. You’ll improve your mood and create something beautiful all at the same time.
5. Schedule Virtual Meet-Ups With Friends and Family
If you’re fortunate enough to see friends and family members socialize face-to-face, this is one of the best things you can do for your mental health. Unfortunately, that’s not an option for many people who are stuck in quarantine or dealing with yet another round of lockdowns.
It’s not quite the same, but it’s a close second – schedule some virtual meetings with your friends and family. Have dinner together over FaceTime. Play cards over Skype. Watch a movie together over Zoom.
It sounds simple, but being connected with other people is one of the best ways to avoid relapse and to keep a positive mindset.
6. Make Way for Mindfulness
Mindfulness exercises, like deep breathing, practicing imagery, focusing your attention on thoughts and feelings, or even writing in a journal can all be helpful to someone who is adapting to substance abuse treatment during the coronavirus pandemic.
By focusing your thoughts on something you can control – like your breathing – things that are out of control (like your cravings) can be kept in check. It takes some time to get the hang of these activities, but plenty of online resources and even apps can help you get started.
7. Try Cognitive Behavior Strategies
Cognitive behavior strategies can help you reframe any negative patterns of thought you might have – and they can also help you challenge your negative behaviors.
Consider teaching yourself a few of these strategies to help you work yourself through your most challenging moments in which your sobriety is on the line.
8. Don’t Ignore Telemedicine
Last but not least, know that telemedicine is a viable option if you need substance abuse treatment during the pandemic. Whether you’ve been on a sobriety journey since before the pandemic started or you’re interested in a formal type of treatment plan now, in the middle of it, treatment programs remain open.
Many of these have in-person components, but there are also quite a few that rely on telemedicine. From online peer support group meetings to virtual treatment teams, these can help you develop a relapse plan and make it easier for you to stick with your recovery goals.
Understand That This, Too, is Temporary
Transitioning to life during and after COVID-19 can be challenging, especially if you’re in substance abuse and mental health treatment. However, it is only temporary, and resources can help you cope.
According to both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Psychological Association, the coronavirus pandemic caused an increase of 18% in substance use in the United States – and that was in the early days of the public health crisis alone.
If you were seeking treatment for substance abuse before the pandemic, there’s a good chance that you are continuing that treatment now. Doing so isn’t easy – but hopefully, the tips we gave you in this post for coping with substance use disorder treatment during COVID-19 can help.
The pandemic won’t last forever. However, having a few of these coping strategies in your back pocket will help you manage all other kinds of curses so you can stick to your treatment plan – and improve your mental health. To learn more about treatment options during the Covid-19 pandemic, contact Covenant Hills Treatment by calling 844-268-8412 today!