Substance Abuse Treatment in the Time of Corona

The coronavirus pandemic has turned much of society upside down, and those with substance/alcohol use disorders (SUD/AUD) are embedded in the chaos that has resulted. Central to treatment for addictions is reconnecting people with individuals and groups that provide positive reinforcement supporting durable recovery. This includes family, friends, peer support groups, and other social structures. Unfortunately, precautions to prevent the spread of covid-19 push people into social isolation cutting them off from those who would otherwise offer invaluable support. When individuals are under “social isolation,” especially in a dysfunctional family unit, stress levels increase and for those who deal with such stress by self-medication, the tendency to use drugs or to use more drugs (relapse or overdose) increases. This is what was observed in the first spike of covid-19 illness in the spring (especially April-May in the mid-South) and what seems to be happening now in a second spike in covid-related illnesses.

IAC Associates is dedicated to helping our clients get through this “rough patch.” We have put a few services in place we encourage our patients and anyone who might find them of value to use:

– We have created an overdose hotline (833 330 3322). It is the only such line staffed by physicians 24-7-365. If you or a loved one is on the verge of overdosing, feels under great stress or is suffering a possible complication of addiction. You can call this number for immediate advice.

– Please note that IAC provides “real-time” addiction medicine consultation to emergency rooms in the Baptist Memorial Healthcare system. At these emergency rooms, you can access addiction medicine expertise very quickly.

– We have created an adolescent addiction medicine program. It is the only one in the region. Our goal is to be able to help adolescents (ages 13 and up) who are struggling with drug or alcohol problems. Covid-initiated social isolation may cause teenagers to be closeted with a disapproving family and that is a stressful situation. This program is carried out in collaboration with the Division of Adolescent Medicine at LeBonheur Children’s Hospital.

– Same or next day in-person or telemedicine appointments at IAC Associates. Call 901 746 9438 to arrange an appointment. For patients seen by telemedicine, it is essential to have an initial appointment in-person. The reason for that is to establish a relationship between the patient and the treatment team. Even if many visits are by telemedicine, periodic in-person encounters are important especially if the situation changes (stress, relapse, etc).

– Telemedicine is an excellent venue for our Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) as well as individual and/or group counseling or psychotherapy. We run tele-IOP and counseling/psychotherapy sessions almost every day. Give us a call to sign up (901 746 9438).

When you are ready to “escape” from the clutch of addictive substances that result in self-destructive behaviors, we are waiting for you. Please allow us to be your partner in changing the trajectory of your life to one in which you are realizing your personal goals and objectives.