Those in Recovery Need Action Plans for COVID-19
Approximately seven months since COVID-19 arrived on U.S. soil, we are still learning about the possible long-term effects of this novel coronavirus and what factors could make some people more vulnerable to infection and illness than others. A recent study funded by the National Institutes of Health indicates a link between substance abuse and COVID-19 susceptibility. The same study also showed those living with a diagnosis of addiction were more likely to develop severe cases of COVID-19.
If you were a long-term user of drugs or alcohol and are now working on your recovery, you must create an action plan to proactively protect yourself from infection, hospitalization and the long-range health effects of COVID-19.
Why Are Substance Abusers More Vulnerable to COVID-19?
The disease of addiction, in and of itself, doesn’t increase your risks of getting the virus that causes COVID-19. However, substance abuse can worsen your overall physical health and make it harder for your body to fend off illnesses. Some health issues associated with prolonged substance misuse include:
- A weakened immune system
- High blood pressure and cardiovascular disease
- Liver damage and hepatitis
- Some forms of cancer
- Disrupted sleep patterns
- Mental health challenges like depression and anxiety
- Poor self-care habits
Tips for Creating Your COVID-19 Action Plan
Adapting to the “new normal” created by the pandemic has been a learning experience for all of us. You can preserve your sobriety and reduce your risk of falling ill with COVID-19 with these actionable strategies.
- Limit non-essential activities: Of course, pursuits like taking a walk around your neighborhood, tending to your garden or even sitting outside to soak up some sunshine can be beneficial for your recovery. However, reducing trips outside your home exclusively to essential activities can help slow the spread of illness. If something seems unnecessarily risky, it’s not worth doing.
- Wear a mask: When you must venture out in public, be sure to wear a cloth covering over the lower two-thirds of your face. A properly fitting mask should fit snugly around your nose and mouth, starting at the bridge of your nose and extending under your chin. However, it shouldn’t be so tight that it chafes or scratches your skin. Since the purpose of the mask is to limit the transmission of airborne particles between people, never pull your face covering down when talking to someone.
- Continue to pursue therapy: The pandemic has forced therapists and counseling groups to become more flexible and creative in how they offer much-needed services for recovering addicts. Thanks to the internet, you can keep seeing your therapist and meeting with your 12-step recovery group without having to leave the comfort of your home. You’ll get the ongoing support that’s essential to help you feel connected to the community, while staying safely inside.
- Find rewarding hobbies: Avoiding the negative trigger of boredom is crucial in recovery, but restricting your trips outside your home can make life feel tedious. Start by creating a list of topics you’ve always been interested in learning about, but haven’t made time to explore. You can find free or low-cost online courses on almost any subject, so you can keep yourself mentally challenged as you avoid exposure to the coronavirus.
- Prioritize your physical and mental wellness: Boost your immune system and overall health by adhering to a sleep schedule, exercising regularly, eating a nutritiously balanced diet and practicing mindfulness.
Achieve Your Ultimate Health at Beach House
Is it possible to begin your journey toward sobriety during the coronavirus pandemic? Yes! At Beach House, we have taken extensive precautions to ensure our treatment center is one of the cleanest, safest in the nation. Our enhanced protocols include temperature screenings for clients and staff; frequent cleaning of high-touch surfaces; and masks provided to all residents and team members. To learn more about our evidence-based treatment options and industry-leading client-to-therapist ratio, please call us today.