Dealing with Addiction during the Pandemic

Dealing with Addiction during the Pandemic

Daytona Everett

Eisenhower Health is swamped with patients struggling with COVID-19. Down the street, the Betty Ford Center is also treating patients but their struggles with the COVID-19 pandemic look very different.

“It’s been a very interesting time, very challenging,” Chris Yadron, Regional VP of the West and administrator of the Betty Ford Center, said. “Of course, addiction is a very isolating illness as it is and then COVID-19 has made it so much tougher.”

Just like COVID-19 cases, drug overdoses have surged in recent months.

“Addiction doesn’t take a break in the midst of a pandemic,” Yadron said.

There was an 18 percent jump nationally in March, 29 percent in April and 42 percent in May, according to the Overdose Mapping Application Program.

For people who need the highest level of care in terms of medical stabilization, they are being treated in person, according to Yadron.

“In terms of outpatient treatment, we have a lot of virtual resources as well in which people have been able to connect virtually,” he said.

Because of safety concerns, our crew wasn’t allowed inside the center but a video on their website shows what a virtual support group would look like.

“People are gathering, there’s small talk before the group begins, people are offering one another encouragement and support, they’re able to work through their emotions, identify triggers and do, really, much of the same work that they would conventionally outside of COVID-19,” he said.

Yadron said some patients actually prefer the virtual sessions. They feel more comfortable doing the therapy from their home.

Recoverygo.org is an online resource the center offers to give people the opportunity to not feel isolated even when they are forced into social isolation due to the pandemic. Butler Center of research is conducting a study to see how effective the virtual group sessions are during the pandemic.