The ongoing stress and anxiety of the current pandemic has led to many seeking solace in the hands of either drugs or alcohol, with 13% of Americans starting or increasing substance use as a way of coping with their emotions at this challenging time.
Even more worryingly, there has been an 18% increase in overdoses nationwide.
If you have seen a rise in the number of your patients seeking help for drug or alcohol addiction, then you may be interested to know how you can best help them at this difficult time.
What is the safest way for someone to detox?
Although the safest way to detox is under the supervision of trained medical professionals at a detox or rehab center where any withdrawal symptoms can be managed properly, you may find that some of your patients have attempted to detox at home due to worries over the pandemic or limited access to resources.
As you know, this can be deadly, as quitting “cold turkey” can lead to dangerous issues such as seizures and severe dehydration.
It is important that you talk to your patients about the severity of their addiction, how long they have been addicted, and the method of their abuse, as well as any underlying mental health conditions, so that you can find the right treatment program for their individual needs.
How to choose a rehab facility?
Choosing the right rehabilitation facility is crucial to the overall success of someone’s detox as you need to find an establishment that will make them feel safe and comfortable. You can find some amazing rehabs in Tennessee that offer medical detox and therapies, as well as relapse prevention programs that can arm your patient with the coping skills they need to stay focused on your recovery.
According to Kevin Lee, CEO of Journey Pure, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center with 18 locations across the United States, picking the right detox facility is paramount in an addict’s road to recovery.
“The difference between a successful detox that results in long-lasting sobriety and one that simply puts a plaster on the problem is being looked after by people who genuinely care. Do not underestimate the power of compassion in the recovery process.”
You also need to make sure that you are choosing the right treatment program for your patient. For example, do they need to go to an inpatient detox center, or would an outpatient program be better suited to their needs?
As a general rule, if your patient is experiencing mild to moderate withdrawal symptoms, has no co-occurring psychiatric problems, and has someone to help them through the detox process, an outpatient detox may be suitable. This option is a lot more cost-effective but should only be chosen if all of the above criteria are met.
How can I support my patient during addiction?
Quite often, the first person an addict will ask for help from is their doctor. They may have suddenly realized that their drinking has become problematic or that they have become reliant on drugs to get them through the day. This means that you need to make sure you offer them the support, advice, and compassion that they need at this difficult time.
Many healthcare professionals such as physicians, nurse practitioners, and emergency medicine professionals do not receive adequate training in substance use disorders and lack the knowledge needed to make the right choice in terms of treatment.
However, the right early intervention can not only give your patient the best chance of a successful recovery but also save time and money for health insurance companies and the overall healthcare system.