Online Treatment, Virtual Check-Ins: Dealing With Addiction In A Pandemic
On how the pandemic is exacerbating some addicts' struggles with substance abuse
Dr. Lipi Roy: "COVID-19, this pandemic, has created an environment where everybody is under even more stress than normal. And you mentioned environmental stressors such as unemployment, food insecurity, domestic violence, all of these issues were certainly stressors before. But now this pandemic has just amplified all of these issues. And we already know that environmental stressors, traumatizing experiences, are already risk factors for drug use and addiction. So we as a society really need to work harder to make sure that these vulnerable men and women get the care that they need and deserve."
On the difficulty of isolating while dealing with addiction
Dr. Lipi Roy: "When I learned that motto, that common phrase that's used in the addiction field about, 'It's really not sobriety, it's connection,' my life just shifted. And once I started working with patients at various stages of substance use, I really got it. Those in-person connections, building trust -- which is a huge step to decreasing stigma -- that's all getting disrupted now with the pandemic. We in the public health community are actually telling people stay home, don't meet up with people. It's one thing to not do so socially. But when it comes to clinical and health matters, where people with SUD addiction rely on meeting their counselors, their doctors, their nurses, their care teams, definitely now, COVID-19 and isolation is posing unique challenges."