By David Livingston, Clinical Director of Domus Retreat
For anyone who has substance abuse problems, it is important to understand the options which can minimize risk and help maintain health.
Maintain Healthy Routines
It’s very important for people dealing with substance abuse issues to maintain healthy routines. Making sure you are getting enough sleep is probably the most important regulating process to maintaining emotional and physical well-being. Often anxiety, fatigue and a general malaise are caused by poor sleep – and yet poor sleep is not necessarily recognized as the cause. If you are having trouble sleeping contact your doctor for help. Too often, opioids, alcohol and other drugs are used rather than appropriate medicine prescribed by a doctor. Too often a cause of substance abuse stems from an over-reliance on self-medicating and a reluctance to quickly seek medical help.
Importance of Sleep and Exercise
Once you sleeping well, try to exercise daily for at least 30 minutes. Exercise lowers anxiety for about 6 hours, it improves your mood and it helps relieve tension.
During this period of social distancing and self-quarantine, there can be an increase in boredom and anxiety – these emotional states can trigger substance abuse. It is critical to identify specifically what the trigger is and its causes.
Boredom is often reported as a trigger leading to substance abuse. Boredom is a state of conflict – “I want something but I either can’t get it or I’m currently unwilling to do what is necessary to get it.” It helps to identify specifically what you are wanting. Once you are aware of your need you open up the possibility of finding creative ways to remedy the need.
Another common trigger is anxiety. Most anxiety is either situational or driven by undigested emotions. Try to identify the emotion. Loneliness, frustration, fear, and sadness are what fuel most anxiety. The ability to talk with a friend or family member who is empathetic and understanding can help titrate the underlying feelings fueling the anxiety.
If the anxiety persists seek professional help – and do so quickly. A lot of substance abuse comes from not seeking help soon enough.
Speak With a Professional
During the COVID-19 pandemic, people with substance abuse problems can be at a greater risk. Opioids, alcohol, and other drugs can weaken the respiratory system potentially creating greater vulnerability. It’s unclear what exactly the increased vulnerability a substance user who contracts the coronavirus may face. Because the COVID-19 virus affects the lungs, it is reasonable to assume that any drug use that weakens the respiratory system will create greater health risks.
While the current focus of many health care providers is on treating COVID-19, there are still therapists and treatments available for those struggling with substance abuse. Because we are in a period where a lot of work has lessened or stopped, this may offer an opportunity to detox off of an unwanted substance. Speaking with professionals can help answer concerns regarding the best way to detox if wanted.
Speak with one of our treatment specialists today to learn more information about available opioid and alcohol detox programs during this time. Call 1-800-423-2482
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