Due to the widespread social distancing and stay at home orders during the COVID-19 pandemic, many are experiencing a myriad of emotions. For those currently battling drug addiction or undergoing recovery, these feelings can be difficult to manage and could potentially lead to relapse.
Throughout the journey to recovery, relapse or a return to drug use is always a risk. However, that risk is especially high during a pandemic when emotions can be compounded from social isolation. Knowing how to identify and avoid triggers can help ensure effective treatment and prevent relapse.
How to Deal With Relapse Triggers During COVID-19
It’s important to remember that addiction is a chronic medical condition, so a relapse is normal and should not be seen as a failure if it occurs. However, understanding and identifying potential triggers during COVID-19 is the first step in effectively minimizing the risk of relapse. Here are five common triggers:
1. Social Isolation
Stay at home and social distancing orders can cause feelings of isolation and loneliness. Most people battling drug addictions already experience these feelings. Not having the steady support from a group, for example, can make these feelings more intense and lead to drug usage to alleviate them. Doing group chats or video conferences can foster a connection with others until in-person meetings resume.
2. Disrupted Treatment
Because many facilities are taking precautions against the virus, treatment plans can become disrupted. Regular treatment is necessary for recovery, but there are alternative ways to receive medical care and treatment. Programs such as Telehealth allow patients to virtually connect with medical professionals.
3. Stress and Negative Emotions
Not knowing how to deal with or manage emotions can turn into a relapse trigger. First, minimize stressful and negative elements in the environment, such as turning off the news. Reach out to find support and help for any overwhelming negative emotions.
Boredom can also be a relapse risk. Social isolation most likely means disruptions to daily routines. This is the perfect time to start a new project, retry a hobby or learn a new skill. Doing these activities helps keep the mind occupied while establishing a new routine.
5. Lack of Holistic Health
Neglecting other health aspects during social isolation, such as a regular sleep schedule or exercise, can also trigger a relapse. Focusing on holistic health can help lessen the risk of returning to drugs to manage emotions and handle stress.
Begin a Journey of Hope and Recovery at AppleGate Recovery
At AppleGate Recovery, we specialize in individualized treatment plans. We center our programs around medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid addiction combined with counseling and recovery support services. This provides our patients with hope and a way to begin their recovery journey while still continuing to live their life. Throughout the program, we provide our patients with unlimited access to medical providers and counselors.