COVID-19 and the Effects of Social Distancing on Mental Health & Addiction Recovery


COVID-19, a global crisis that has brought world economies on their knees, has led to the implementation of various strategies by authorities to curb its spread. One strategy put in place by The US Center for Drug and Disease Control is social distancing in our communities.

What Is Social Distancing?

It is a measure that targets to prevent infected individuals from interacting closely with healthy individuals to decrease the chances of disease spread. In other instances, social distancing may involve comprehensive measures such as the closure of public spaces, cancellation of group events, and personal measures like avoiding crowds.

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Medical experts explain this method as ‘’curve flattening’’, which means that the chances of success from social distancing to counter infection surges, which could include overload workers and health care systems. Some of the measures taken in the recent past to promote social distancing include; suspension of learning in schools and other tertiary institutions, cancellation of conferences by organizations, and cancellation of services by places of worship.

Is Social Distancing Effective?

As humans, we are expected to learn from various historical incidents to avoid repetition of mistakes and draw important lessons. Medical experts have proved that this method can be effective if adhered to by people. With a close reference to the Spanish Influenza pandemic in 1918, studies from PNAs 2007 have shown that the geographical locations that enacted the methods at an early stage recorded lower death incidents.

Impacts On Mental health, Addiction

Human beings are social beings and may find social distancing generally hard. However, it can be an uphill task for individuals relying on communities for health wellness. This is because they can no longer connect with other individuals while undergoing recovery to keep on with the journey and that they are not alone. This enforced isolation can be hard for those struggling with a mental health condition or addiction.

With the closure of social places such as gyms, restaurants, and public libraries, enforced isolation can be hard for those struggling with various mental health conditions or addictions. A number of support networks and groups have started online communication to provide moral support to their target groups. Some of the networks have begun conversations on social media platforms, while others have implemented the use of video chatting.

Getting Assistance Through Video Calling

As much as people have general anxieties, they are adapting to the situation with the thoughts that they’re in this together, and they are just a part, not alone. However, this may bring loneliness to some people in the long run. Video chatting has been proven to be one of the best options to assist individuals with this ongoing social distancing mandate. This social support is essential for vulnerable individuals as it aids in the recovery and coping ability of the situation. It is regarded as the closest communication means to face to face talking.

Video chatting is greatly useful for patients who cannot meet their medical health providers in person. It has been in use way before the COVID-19 pandemic, but since not all clients can afford to sign up for video chats or have internet access, this poses a major challenge for the medical experts and the clients. Some public libraries offer open internet access for the public, but their temporary closure is a blow to the public who relied on them for internet access.

Medical experts have urged relevant authorities to look into the matter and come up with a way to assist the affected people in the communities. This will prevent further isolation, which may lead to relapsing to drug and substance use if the individuals are in the early stages of their recovery journey. As an individual, it is advisable to seek means to communicate with their peers, family, health care providers as they adhere to the social distancing.

Why Is It Hard For Humans To Withstand Isolation?

Social isolation can be detrimental to our bodies and minds as humans. Individuals such as explorers that have stayed in isolated places, for instance, Antarctica, have exhibited loneliness at some point. Isolation can make a person experience depression and tend to have poor decision-making ability. It can also lead to poor memory and inability to deal with stressful incidents by the affected person.

Lonely people are also prone to illnesses. This is because lonely people react differently in response to fighting diseases, thereby the higher risk of developing an illness. The effects tend to be detrimental to individuals experiencing extreme paranoia, panic attacks, severe anxiety, and inability to think clearly. Most prisoners held in isolation reported mental health problems in the long term.

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Individuals in total darkness can experience disruption of their sleep cycle. This is because the sleep cycle is regulated by melatonin hormone and nucleus suprachiasmatic, which depend on light for functioning. Reduced levels of melatonin during daytime allows us to remain awake, and this enables the nucleus suprachiasmatic to reschedule waking time in case of changes in the sleeping cycle.

Lack of daylight alters the human 24-hour rhythm circadian. Interruption of the circadian rhythm can lead to fatigue and feeling depression among people. Isolation can also trigger hallucination since the brain lacks stimulation, thus making individuals misjudge thoughts and feelings to those in the outer environs. Cave explorers may experience disruption of their sleep cycle due to this phenomenon.

 Enforced isolation for individuals can trigger other mental health disorders like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Make use of social support groups from health centers, social network groups, and close communication with peers.

Sober Consultants

The need for drug and alcohol treatment is on the rise due to the opiate epidemic in the US as many individuals are exposed to drug and substance use. Sober Consultants was founded by John F. Moriarty III, who began his recovery journey from alcohol and drugs in 2000. Exposure to the addictions treatment industry was through a friend he knew from his corporate career who had a detox facility in South Florida.

He worked at the facility in all fields of treatment and rose to a marketing director and promoted the expansion of private detoxes to 9 nationwide. He helped clients get into recovery and established a database of treatment center providers, licensed clinicians, and certified intervention professionals nationally. He developed mutual relationships with many quality care providers, which he maintains up to date. This experience and exposure motivated him to start a drug center.

Sober Consultants has a jcaho accreditation and an addiction center licensing too. John and our team of drug rehab marketing consultants will help you with the best treatment plan and advice. To speak to one of our consultants, you can schedule a free 20-minute consultation, and if opting for lengthy discussions, we offer a 120-minute personal or family call over the phone or face to face at an additional cost.

Conclusion

As much as the ongoing circumstances are intrusive, reaching out is highly encouraged when in distress. For those feeling okay but worried about their counterparts, they should check on them regularly to show care.

Our rehab marketing consultants will help clients seeking alcohol rehab treatment-look consult, and for clients who need privacy while seeking help, we have a private rehab clinic for them. Reach out today to begin your individualized treatment plan.