Addiction, Recovery & COVID-19: Coming out of Lockdown

The UK government’s gradual easing of lockdown brings many of us the opportunity to do things we have missed and longed for since measures were implemented at the end of March: whether it’s seeing friends and family, socialising again, going to restaurants, playing sports or getting back to work.

Whilst the changes are overwhelmingly positive, many people will feel understandable anxiety at the thought of re-engaging with the world and getting used to this ‘new normal.’ For addicts and alcoholics, or those seeking help from an alcohol rehab or drug rehab clinic, the coronavirus crisis may have elevated concerns for your health and wellbeing, or perhaps prompted a reluctance to seek treatment during these difficult times. With debates still live around the science supporting the easing of lockdown, we understand your fears.

Here at the Providence Projects, we want to reassure you that seeking addiction treatment today for yourself or a loved one remains as important as ever. We will be here for you every step of the way. We are committed to providing safe, effective, and successful treatment to those in need. At our private drug and alcohol rehab in Bournemouth, we have implemented a range of safety measures and procedures to ensure we continue to provide the same standard of treatment that we have been successfully delivering since 1996. These include:

  • Single rooms
  • Increased cleaning protocols
  • Smaller group sizes
  • Social distancing measures
  • Enhanced online services for clients and family members via Zoom and Skype

Addiction, Recovery & COVID-19: Coming out of Lockdown

How is COVID-19 impacting on those struggling with addiction?

The coronavirus pandemic has affected all of our lives differently, and presented each of us with unprecedented challenges. For those with substance abuse issues, the research is already demonstrating the negative impact of the virus and lockdown measures.

COVID-19 is acting as a catalyst for those who drink to significantly increase their alcohol consumption, or for recovering alcoholics to relapse into problem drinking. Research provided by the charity Alcohol Change UK found that 1 in 5 Britons who drink, have begun drinking more frequently since lockdown began in March. Alcohol sales in March and April were also 30% higher than usual as people adjusted to life in lockdown.  Worryingly, the number of people seeking help from Alcohol Change has risen dramatically: around 4,000 people sought advice in March and April of 2019, compared with over 20,000 in the same period this year. Sadly, these figures aren’t surprising.

The widespread anxiety, fear and uncertainty that surrounds COVID-19 and the restrictive measures that resulted, have had a hugely negative impact on people across the country. For those with substance use problems, everyone from a binge drinker to heavy drinkers with complex needs and mental health issues have been affected. Those at the more severe end of the spectrum are facing significant consequences, such as a lack of formal, structured support from recovery meetings, counselling or rehabilitation centres, as well as the risks of social isolation and unsupervised withdrawal, which can be fatal.

The problem of addiction has only worsened during COVID-19. Social distancing measures, increased isolation, boredom and loss of daily structure are all factors. Professor Adam Winstock, founder of the Global Drug survey, explains how the effects have been felt across the board. For casual users or drinkers, the crisis of the lockdown will lead them to more frequent substance use to cope. “I’m certain there will be a proportion of people for whom Covid will be the tipping crisis,” says Winstock. “Where previously their use of weed or cocaine was once or twice a week, it’s now three or four times a week, and when they don’t use, they’re feeling anxious and miserable.” For those whose addictions were pre-existing, the risk of overdoses, increased dependency and other harms are elevated. “If you were someone who was verging towards problematic use, you’re either going to use the pandemic as an opportunity to reduce use and improve mental health, or your use is going to escalate. And as you run out of your preferred choice of drug, you will look for other drugs to compensate for that.”

Remember, if you or a loved one is physically dependent on alcohol or drugs, it is incredibly difficult and dangerous to stop on your own. Attempting to withdraw from substances such as alcohol or heroin without proper professional and medical help will rarely work long-term, and can make things worse.

We want you to know that help is available and you don’t need to suffer in silence. Recovery is still possible regardless of the pandemic, and it is as important as ever to seek help for your addiction. Contact us today on 0800 955 0945 to speak to our expert addiction counsellors about the help available.

Is it safe to go to treatment during COVID-19?

We understand your concerns about entering treatment at a time when the risks of coronavirus are still prevalent. However, more often than not, if you’re suffering with addiction, the risks of the disease and its associated negative consequences, will outweigh the risks of contracting the virus.

By staying at home and not seeking addiction treatment, you are more likely to cause damage to your health. Limited social interactions will increase the risk of developing mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression, which can in turn aggravate the addictive behaviours. For people suffering with a substance use disorder such as an alcohol addiction, a lack of structure and daily routine will also add to the risk of heightened dependency and drug use.

If you are struggling with addiction, you still need help, regardless of the current pandemic. Overcoming addiction and finding recovery can be a matter of life and death and there is little evidence to suggest that the risk of contracting the virus is greater in a rehabilitation setting than in any other place. What’s more, you can rest assured that the Providence Projects has implemented a wide range of safety measures to minimise the risk of infection and spread, and to ensure clients and staff are kept safe at all times.

If you have any further questions about the precautions we have introduced at our private drug and alcohol rehab clinic, please feel free to contact our admissions team on 01202 393 030, or fill out this quick and easy contact form and someone will call you back.

Addiction, Recovery & COVID-19: Coming out of Lockdown

Is digital help as effective in addiction recovery?

Face-to-face interaction is a key feature in addiction recovery: the benefits of connection with other addicts, human contact and forming meaningful relationships are endless.  As Johann Hari said, “the opposite of addiction is not sobriety, the opposite of addiction is connection”. Addiction is a lonely, isolating disease. It is a party for one. Addictions are progressive in their nature, and as things deteriorate, many addicts and alcoholics will prefer to drink or use on their own, than in the company of others. No wonder then, that in recovery, addicts and alcoholics thrive on sharing their mutual experiences with one another, forming friendships, and getting their emotional needs met in healthy ways, surrounded by family, loved ones and friends. However, in these testing times, where social restriction measures are only beginning to ease, digital help and virtual recovery meetings are a better substitute than none.

Most 12-step recovery groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous will provide information on their websites about online meetings, times and dates. The majority will run daily, throughout the morning, afternoon and evenings. These are without a doubt, a useful support tool for those trying to remain clean and sober.

Unfortunately, whilst virtual support is helpful, it isn’t quite the same as physical contact. Virtual meetings can lack intimacy and don’t provide the same human connection, bonding and relationship building with other people in recovery, that physical meetings do.

Instead, by entering a private drug or alcohol rehab clinic like the Providence Projects, clients are provided with the peer interaction, support groups, and professional, therapeutic interventions necessary to get clean and sober and to remain in recovery long-term. Our comprehensive programme – which includes group therapy, individual counselling and workshops on a range of associated mental health conditions and different aspects of addiction – all offer our clients the opportunity to re-engage with the world and with other people. Clients learn how to form bonds and relationships with their peers again, and to discover the benefits of human connection, rather than the often familiar isolation and loneliness, that inevitably results from addiction.

Here at the Providence Projects, we will continue to work to ensure our clients are staff are kept safe at all times. While adjusting to life after lockdown isn’t going to be easy, there is no reason to go through it alone. If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction problem, we can help you make the transition to a better and happier life. Please feel free to contact us today or fill in this form, where you can speak with our friendly admissions team and learn more about our full range of detox and rehab programmes available.

Addiction, Recovery & COVID-19: Coming out of Lockdown