Should I Go to Rehab During Coronavirus?

Edited by Paul Alexander

Last updated April 17, 2020

Amid the present coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, feelings of anxiety are on the rise. The stress associated with social isolation and fears about the pandemic can be especially high for those suffering from drug and alcohol addiction. If you’re struggling with addiction, you might be wondering if you should be going to rehab during the current worldwide coronavirus outbreak. On top of that, you may have concerns over the safety of treatment.

Addictions don’t discriminate, and they don’t standby for pandemics. For addicts, the “perfect time” to seek help will never exist, but that doesn’t mean rehab should be delayed. In fact, going to rehab is more crucial now than ever. Not only that, but you can enter safe detox treatment or even receive telehealth outpatient treatment during the coronavirus outbreak. Here’s what you should know.

Rehab Centers Are Open and Safe

Stern calls to stay home and “shelter in place” have many addicts thinking they should postpone rehab. Yet without treatment, the coronavirus crisis may hit those with substance abuse issues particularly hard. To serve these individuals, drug and alcohol treatment centers are staying open through this critical time. 

Moreover, rehab facilities are making sure both their patients and staff are safe by implementing protective measures and guidelines set by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), and ASAM (American Society of Addiction Medicine).

Northbound Treatment is dedicated to providing a safe and healthy environment for drug and alcohol treatment. Learn how Northbound and other rehab centers have prepared to serve patients during this time.

How Rehab Facilities are Operating During Coronavirus

Residential rehab centers are testing their patients upon arrival and regularly throughout their stay. Any staff members who show COVID-19 symptoms are being sent home or urged to get medical care. Many facilities are not permitting visitors, and those that do are screening them for COVID-19 symptoms.

Part of the protocol for operating safely during the coronavirus outbreak is training staff on what symptoms should be a cause of concern, as well as plans for isolating individuals and obtaining medical assistance should the need arise.

Aside from screening patients, staff members, and visitors, residential treatment facilities are:

  • Adjusting programs and meetings to not include groups larger than ten
  • Practicing social distancing by avoiding all physical contact that’s medically unnecessary and staying six or more feet away from others
  • Having staff wear personal protective equipment when providing physical care
  • Rearranging furniture in meeting areas throughout the facility to ensure social distancing
  • Encouraging staff and patients to wash their hands frequently and practice good hygiene
  • Maintaining a sufficient supply of easily accessible soap and hand sanitizer
  • Frequently cleaning and disinfecting shared surfaces and communal materials
  • Cleaning and disinfecting equipment after every use
  • Keeping plenty of supplies on hand so that they can dispose of anything that becomes potentially contaminated
  • Instructing patients and staff to avoid touching their faces
  • Encouraging patients and staff to use proper coughing and sneezing etiquette
  • Encouraging alternative ways of contacting would-be visitors, such as video calls
  • Designating entrances for staff, delivery personnel, and other people who come and go from the outside world

In many instances, residential rehab centers are appointing a staff member to ensure that each of these protective measures continues to be carried out. Some are also quarantining new patients for the first 14 days of rehab. This may involve having them wear protective masks, enforcing social distancing, and designating rooms for new patients.

Additionally, residential facilities are minimizing the personal belongings patients are allowed to bring to rehab. When treatment staff handle a new patient’s belongings, they follow hygiene protocol before, during, and after while making efforts to prevent contamination. Following orientation, all personal belongings remain in the patient’s room.

Outpatient Treatment During Coronavirus

Another option for drug or alcohol rehabilitation during the coronavirus pandemic is outpatient treatment. Similar to residential facilities, outpatient programs are focusing on preventing infection and the spread of COVID-19 by implementing a range of safety measures.

Safety measures for outpatient treatment include:

  • Screening patients for symptoms over the phone before they arrive
  • Screening patients for symptoms upon arrival, including temperature checks and evaluating any known contact of those who’ve tested positive for COVID-19
  • Immediately isolating symptomatic patients
  • Using personal protective equipment when providing physical care to patients

As with residential rehab, social distancing is being enforced, and any medically unnecessary physical contact is being avoided. Meeting rooms are cleaned and disinfected frequently, cleaning and disinfecting supplies are readily available, and all staff and patients are instructed to practice good hygiene. When possible, drug and alcohol treatment services are being provided remotely.

Northbound is also offering telehealth outpatient programs in order to continue to provide support to clients who feel more comfortable staying in their own home. Through advances in digital technology, we’ve developed novel telehealth treatment programs that recreate every aspect of our in-person care.

Don’t Delay Your Treatment

If you need to go to rehab, it should not be postponed until after the coronavirus outbreak subsides. For one, social isolation, fears over the impact of the pandemic, and substantial free time at home can heighten substance abuse problems. What’s more, the end date to the worldwide crisis is difficult to predict, and setting an elusive start date for treatment will likely be ineffective.

Don’t delay your treatment. Since the rest of the world is slowing down to hinder the spread of COVID-19, you can worry less about missing out on work, school, or socialization. While many people put off going to rehab because of the demands of their job or other commitments, this may actually be a unique opportunity to get the treatment you need without the stress of feeling like you should be somewhere else.

Risks of Delaying Drug and Alcohol Treatment

Delaying treatment is always a risk for addicts, but the circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic pose other concerns for postponing rehab. As we mentioned, many people have additional time on their hands, and being left to your own devices is particularly risky for those suffering from addiction.

According to the CDC, some people respond more severely to the stress of a widespread crisis or emergency scenario. Aside from those who have a high risk of contracting COVID-19 and those who would likely need medical care if infected, people with substance abuse problems can be expected to have a more extreme response. 

A response to the stress from the coronavirus outbreak can manifest in various ways, including:

  • Increased substance abuse
  • Trouble sleeping, eating, or focusing
  • Worsened health or symptoms of underlying conditions
  • Heightened fear about personal health and loved one’s health

The CDC also states that substance abuse can weaken your immune system, which is particularly concerning during an infectious disease outbreak. Delaying addiction treatment and ignoring the implications of extreme stress and anxiousness is a considerable risk. There’s no better time than now to go to begin treatment.

Dual Diagnosis

Those struggling with addiction often have underlying mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, or PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). Without proper diagnosis and treatment, dealing with a mental health condition while trying to combat substance abuse can be immensely challenging, especially in isolation.

Those affected with both an addiction and a mental health disorder may receive what’s called a dual diagnosis (or co-occurring disorder). Instead of treating the conditions separately, integrated dual diagnosis treatment is carried out as part of a long-term recovery plan. 

Mental health disorders are often a fundamental reason why people turn to drugs and alcohol, and living with an undiagnosed condition is extremely precarious during the present COVID-19 outbreak. Northbound Treatment Services is continuing to offer treatment for dual diagnosis patients during this time.

Northbound Treatment is Here for You 

Don’t delay detox, residential rehab, or outpatient treatment. Northbound Treatment has been serving patients for over 30 years, and we’re here for you during this trying time. Our residential treatment centers are remaining open through the coronavirus crisis and are accepting new patients every day. We’re also continuing to offer outpatient programs, including our telehealth outpatient treatment.

More than ever, now is the time to seek help for drug and alcohol addiction and mental health disorders. Northbound is not only prepared to keep you safe at every stage of treatment but also devoted to supporting your long-term recovery journey.

Making Rehab Work During Coronavirus

In addition to safety and hygiene protocol, Northbound has implemented new treatment strategies to serve patients during the current crisis. This includes telehealth sessions, virtual meetings, off-site client-only activities, and guidance webinars.

We accept most major insurance plans and can assist with verifying coverage. If your job was affected by the coronavirus pandemic, you can utilize your company’s insurance rollover period to start treatment as soon as possible. Also, Northbound will work with you on determining the best payment option for your unique situation.

A supervised drug and alcohol rehabilitation program is the first step in turning your life around. Northbound’s clinical staff and on-site therapists are ready to guide and support you today. You can start detox and begin recovery in a safe, healthy, and trusted environment designed to help you address deeply rooted issues, feel better, discover yourself, reach your goals, and ultimately live free.

We are prepared, safe, and here to support you. Join us today so you can begin living freely. Call Northbound Treatment at (844) 919-0403 or fill out our online form to get started with the admissions process.

Sources:

  1. “Infection Mitigation in Residential Treatment Facilities.” Asam.org. N.p., n.d. , https://www.asam.org/Quality-Science/covid-19-coronavirus/infection-mitigation-in-residential-treatment-facilities
  2. CDC. “Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).” Cdc.gov. N.p., 6 July 2020., https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/long-term-care.html
  3. “Coronavirus (COVID-19) | SAMHSA – Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.” Samhsa.gov. N.p., n.d., https://www.samhsa.gov/coronavirus
  4. CDC. “Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Preparedness Checklist for Nursing Homes and other Long-Term Care Settings”, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/novel-coronavirus-2019-Nursing-Homes-Preparedness-Checklist_3_13.pdf
  5. “Infection Mitigation in Outpatient Settings.” Asam.org. N.p., n.d, https://www.asam.org/Quality-Science/covid-19-coronavirus/infection-mitigation-in-outpatient-settings
  6. “Coping with Stress | CDC.” Cdc.gov. N.p., 1 Jul. 2020., https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html

Article Reviewed by Paul Alexander

Paul AlexanderPaul Alexander is the founder and CEO of Northbound Treatment. He received his Certified Addiction Treatment Specialist training at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, CA, and was awarded Outstanding Alumni Service Award in 2002. Paul holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology, Law and Society, Summa Cum Laude, from University of California, Irvine, and a Juris Doctorate degree from Loyola Law School of Los Angeles. He believes wholeheartedly in transformational leadership, organizational health and effective, fully integrated substance use disorder treatment.

LinkedIn

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

accreditations
accreditations