The Importance of Staying Connected During Recovery in Isolation | Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
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TTUHSC Expert Explains Addiction and Ways to Keep Social Distancing from Effecting Recovery

 

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Scientific definition of addiction: a brain disease that results from repeated and escalated exposure to a substance or a series of behaviors.

 

People who develop addictions:

  • They’re not lazy or not wanting to change.
  • They’re dealing with a legitimate brain disease, not a moral failing.
  • Recovery is possible. Treatment works when people reach out and stay engaged with the treatment team.

Addiction facts:

  • Addiction has nothing to do with willpower.
  • It is not a bad habit which needs to be fixed.
  • Addiction does not apply only drugs and alcohol. It also includes gambling, excessive eating or internet gaming disorder.
  • Addictions tend to run in families but that does not mean a person is destined to develop an addiction.
  • Some people develop an addiction without a prior family history.

Addiction recovery during social isolation and social distancing:

  • People in recovery have been through a treatment or support group process and are working on a recovery plan.
  • Recovery exists by connecting with and being supported by people struggling with addiction or recovery, or those doing well with recovery.
  • Isolation, stress, anxiety and unstructured time contribute to relapse.
  • There are online recovery communities, including telemedicine and telehealth options.
  • Many in-person recovery groups are still meeting, but following social distancing guidelines.

How family and friends can support someone in recovery:

  • Reach out to the person in recovery; it doesn’t have to be a long conversation.
  • Staying connected matters.

For those not in recovery:

  • Frustration and anxiety make people revert to behaviors which make them comfortable.
  • Pay attention to how much time you’re putting into those activities and whether or not they’re contributing to helping you meet your goals throughout the day.
  • If a person feels things are getting a bit out of order, there is a chance to correct the situation.
  • Important to maintain some semblance of balance.
  • Set limits for things that cause anxiety.
  • Take care of your health because alcohol, substance use and tobacco use each decrease the ability of the immune system and makes it harder to fight illness.
  • Include an appropriate and moderate amount of exercise.
  • Get some fresh air.

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