It has been an unusual year — an extremely painful and challenging time for many of us, with isolation from friends, family, and our places of employment (our ‘work family’). For some people, certain aspects of working from home — like the absence of a commute — has been welcome. The net cost, however, to ourselves, our kids, and to our society overall, is still unclear. What we do know is that the rate of Substance Use Disorders (SUD) has increased.
COVID-19 and the Increase in Substance Use Disorders
In May of 2020, early in the pandemic, the CDC reported 81,000 deaths in the prior year due to opioids alone, which was the highest ever reported. Alcohol consumption has increased with sales reported to be 25-30% greater than pre-COVID. Binge drinking has particularly increased. Many people have turned to substance to help them cope with their higher-than-normal levels of anxiety.
It is often said that “the antidote to addiction is connection.” Unsurprisingly, social isolation has really fed the growth of substance use disorders.
Detoxing During a Pandemic is Increasing
At Coleman Addiction Medicine in the Greater New York City area, we have seen an upward spike in people inquiring about our program, since they know that they are likely to have to return to their physical workplace in the near future. Many people are realizing that their alcohol consumption has significantly increased.
Working remotely has made it easier to mask problems one may have with substances, because many commutes have vanished and it’s possible to turn off your camera on Zoom. Whatever a person’s particular situation, it is a great time to evaluate your substance use and plan for a safe and effective way to address it as you make your way back to “normal” life.
Specializing in Accelerated Outpatient Detoxes
Coleman Addiction Medicine specializes in accelerated, outpatient withdrawal management services (detoxification). Dr. Coleman has been evolving his safe and effective protocols for over 20 years at multiple locations across the country.
Our completion rate using the Coleman Method for opioid detox hovers around 98% — meaning that the vast majority of patients that enter our Fair Lawn, New Jersey office to start their detox complete the process successfully and get onto a long-acting (non-addictive) opioid blocker called naltrexone. This is a testament to the effectiveness of our medical protocols, as well as the caring, nonjudgmental staff who guide our patients and their companions through the process.
During the withdrawal management process, our case management team develops an aftercare plan that is personalized and realistic and one that you can and will actually DO! Relapse prevention is focused on helping each patient identify the tools and resources they can tap into during the various stages of their recovery. The early stages are a particularly vulnerable time and so we stay in close touch with our patients.
The best news recently is that there does appear to be an end in sight to this COVID nightmare we have all been experiencing. There is time to plan for your successful reentry to your workplace. We would be happy to answer any questions and accommodate your particular timing needs.
Deborah Reich, MD