By now, you are most likely aware of the coronavirus epidemic and the provisions necessary to avoid its spread; both the necessary personal precautions as well as those being implemented by our government. We have been asked to practice social-distancing and handwashing/disinfecting, and asked to close all non-essential businesses in our communities. These two crucial precautionary practices in the name of individual and public safety will slow the spread of disease and greatly flatten the curve.
They are temporary, necessary, and of sound logic.
Those who struggle with SUD (substance use disorder) are considered members of a vulnerable population during this health crisis. Those who struggle with SUD are presented with a sometimes very difficult set of obstacles; they are prone to pre-existing conditions, special and sometimes precarious living conditions, and the need for specialty medication. These practices may also leave those who struggle with substance use disorder, specifically alcohol use disorder, potentially isolated and without a means to acquire a drink. This can mean dire consequences for a person who is physically dependent on this (or any) substance.
Why Alcohol Dependency is Especially Dangerous
Alcohol dependency has a number of symptoms which include preoccupation with the thought of a drink, and an inability to stop drinking once one begins. Without alcohol a person might experience intense cravings, irritability, sweating, and more severe withdraw symptoms such as delirium tremens, hallucinations, seizure, and possibly death. These more severe symptoms occur when a person’s body has become physically dependent upon having this substance each day, or sometimes more frequently, every 8-12 hours. Without alcohol the body will essentially go into shock.
The severity of the physical withdrawal symptoms associated with the use of this substance in particular are especially concerning. It is of the utmost importance that a person who finds themselves struggling with alcohol use disorder seek help during this unprecedented time in history. A person should, under no circumstances, attempt to stop drinking on their own. With non-essential businesses such as state stores, bars, and restaurants closing, a person may find themselves without access to alcohol and should seek immediate medical attention as a result.
Options for Those Who May be Struggling
Inpatient treatment facilities are considered essential, and they are an option for anyone struggling with substance use disorder during this health crisis and otherwise. You can also seek help through a hospital or an emergency room. Hospitals will not be able to offer 30 days of inpatient care and Substance Abuse-specific therapy, but they will be able to safely and medically detox anyone who is in need. An inpatient facility will be able to do the same and offer a more extended treatment protocol as well.
What is Important
It is important to not attempt to “go it alone” during these trying times. As much as we are to be looking out for each other, we need to do so by also looking out for ourselves. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol use or with using any substances, please know treatment facilities are here to help. They have taken precautions against the spreading of the virus and will have screening process’ in place during their pre-admission. They are taking the COVID-19 health crisis seriously and are taking substance abuse disorder seriously as well. Please do not let the coronavirus stop you from getting the help you need and deserve. We are all in this together.