These are unprecedented times. For some families they have felt more anxiety and more depression and seen an increase in their own substance use or in someone they love. The light has shone brightly on many dark places, and exposed things that needed to be exposed. For others, families have reported that they have felt more connected, more in control, and even resolved conflict that had been festering for years. They are pleased that being home allowed them the time to reevaluate what is important to them. They are feeling empowered that they have been able to recalibrate their relationships, their finances, their routines, and their relationship with their own self-care.
Over the past couple of months, families have been reaching out and expressing both experiences. For some, they have jumped into recovery plans and feeling better than they have in years. They are feeling hopeful that over time, their life will improve, and they will be able to trust themselves again, and gain the trust of the people that love them. We still get calls from families or individuals who unfortunately still will not commit the time or energy into engaging into solutions that could help them move away from their discomfort. They know what they know and are comfortable being enmeshed in old behaviors; rewinding the story that they are used too.
So, during this time of crisis, some Alcohol and Drug Treatment Centres have remained open, some have even gone out and rented more houses to tap into the surge of requests they might receive to fill their beds and their pockets.
This is a great concern especially when we read how Long-Term Care Facilities have been impacted the most with Covid19. Unfortunately, some Drug and Alcohol Centres and Shelters have had outbreaks too; that just are not newsworthy, making it hard to know how many people in Centres would or have tested positive. We all know that this population would be considered high risk carriers, as prior to inpatient they would have most likely exposed themselves to others while they were picking up or using drugs or alcohol. What is concerning is that to date there have been no screening for Treatment Centres or asymptomatic clients in these Centres. Public Health is only involved when an outbreak is reported.
What you and the public needs to understand is that the majority of these Centres are NOT practicing the necessary safe protocols to ensure the safety of their clients or staff. We do not know of one Centre who has implemented a 14-day isolation period upon intake.
12 Things YOU should know before you commit to inpatient treatment during COVID:
- Choose a Centre that is Accredited ONLY, Gender Specific, and clearly shows their Clinical and Medical team.
- Not all Centres are asking PRE-screening COVID-19 questions
- Not all Centres are doing Temperature checks
- ALL Centres are assuming a patient/staff is being honest about their contact with others.
- ALL Centres have groups of people in one building
- Most Centres are not doing thorough cleaning every 2 hours
- Many Centres are not using Universal precautions
- Some Centres are putting others at risk by allowing clients to go to and from work and return to Centres daily. This is not treatment—this is room and board.
- All Centres are not automatically isolating new clients for 14 days (which is about ½ of paid or unpaid treatment time) as families would not just agree to ½ a program or want to be isolated for ½ of their program.
- Most credible Centres will tell you that Inpatient is a small part of recovery and there are options that may be a better plan for your situation. Blowing the bank on inpatient and not having funds for aftercare is a recipe for disaster.
- All credible Centres do not offer “guarantees” or life-time “aftercare”. This is what families like to read. Read the fine print.
- All Credible Centres are licensed and zoned properly– check with City to see if they are.
Spending $10,000-20,000 per month on Inpatient Drug or Alcohol Treatment may be the right decision right now ONLY if your addiction and mental health is putting your overall health at greater risk than contracting COVID19, with the understanding that being inpatient treatment could expose you to COVID19 as well.
The better option for some individuals such as yourself, might be talking to your doctor about a withdrawal plan or medical detox (if needed), getting your family or employer on board, and customizing a program that you can do in the comfort of your home and that would allow you to spend your money or benefits on long term recovery vs short term recovery. The brain itself takes about 14 months to heal, and the evidence is 5 years of ongoing support so that you can have your chance of relapse drop to 15% which is the same as the general public.
Virtual Treatment is a way out of old behaviors, and is definitely not new, as many have been engaging in online self-help programs for years. It has been instrumental in enabling individuals to work, travel, or be home with their loved ones and still participate in services that help them mentally, physically, socially, and spiritually. It is cost efficient and many times covered under their insurance plans. It is also a safe practice during times when going into public places could put you at risk.
If you are still unsure maybe look at booking a Treatment Consultation. This is a decision you do not want to make based on your emotions. These consultations can be completed in a matter of an hour. Do your due diligence and learn to ask the right questions.