Relapse and social distancing

My Loved One Relapsed During Social Distancing: Now What?

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

In the last few weeks, we have seen a drastic shift in our day-to-day lives due to the social distancing requirements needed to reduce the transmission of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Social distancing has created many difficulties in the lives of our friends and loved ones. From job losses to financial strain and the fear of illness; many individuals are dealing with an overwhelming amount of stress during this time. For those individuals going through the recovery process for a drug or alcohol addiction; this period may prove too difficult, and they may be facing a relapse.

Signs of Relapse in Your Loved One

Under normal circumstances, it can be difficult to foresee the triggers that will lead to a friend or loved one’s relapse. However, during this extended period of social distancing measures; that can lead to feelings of isolation, anxiety, and stress those triggers are constantly present in the day-to-day lives of individuals most vulnerable to its effects such as those dealing with alcohol or drug dependency treatment. It is important to maintain open communication with these individuals during this time and offer support through the possible lows they may be experiencing. In addition to overwhelming stressors, this time is also making it more difficult for individuals to seek the help they need. Many meetings and appointments with therapists have been canceled due to social distancing requirements. Encourage your loved ones to take advantage of remote options such as virtual meetings or phone calls with groups and therapists to maintain a strong support network.

Some warning signs that an individual may be facing relapse include:

  • Romanticizing of drug or alcohol use
  • Defensiveness
  • Skipping Meetings
  • Questioning the Recovery Process
  • Refusing Help
  • Changes in Moods & Behaviors

This is a Difficult Time for Everyone; Help Them Move Forward

The most critical step you can take to help your loved one during a relapse is recognizing a relapse has occurred and providing them the tools they need to get back on track as quickly as possible. It is a time to offer unwavering support and encouragement for the individual to get the help they need and work through the relapse and back towards recovery. Rather than dwelling on the negative consequences of relapse and the feelings of failure associated with the occurrence, it is essential to help your loved one remain optimistic and focus on learning from the experience.

Offer your loved one guidance and assistance throughout this process. Oftentimes, individuals will feel embarrassed and will not ask for help on their own. Make sure to ask how you can help them work towards recovery again. If there are still social distancing restrictions in place in their area, help them develop a plan to get the assistance they need either by phone or virtually. Many group programs and therapists are offering their services through these mediums in order to ensure individuals get help quickly. When it comes to relapse, time is of utmost importance and a critical factor in successfully continuing to navigate through the recovery process rather than falling back into a pattern of repeated use.

At First Steps Recovery we recognize these are unusual times that require easy access to care for those most vulnerable dealing with drug or alcohol addiction. We offer online addiction treatment options that mirror the options available to those patients attending our inpatient programs. Your loved one will be able to receive their treatment program and therapies through a virtual setting using a computer, digital tablet, or smartphone.

Contact us to discuss our virtual addiction treatment options available for your loved one including a free insurance consultation to verify benefits and coverage.

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