Addiction Never Sleeps –
March 22, 2020 – Most group meetings have only been suspended in the past week, but coronavirus concerns have been a part of the recovery discussion for longer than that. Price has noted the phenomenon, saying it is a common topic in process groups for patients at Desert Hope. In addition to unstructured discussion about the pandemic, he says the center has daily “town hall meetings” with the entire patient population where they are given up-to-date information and education.
Price said that patients have limited media access, but that what they do see regarding limited supplies and recommended distancing can cause them to build up narratives about the situation outside of the center. “We have to continuously just talk them off of that cliff because that doesn’t help them in recovery,” he said. “It brings an increase in stress which can cause an increase in desire to use, to numb the pain.”
An added concern for Desert Hope is the portion of their population with co-occurring mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and schizophrenia. “When you start to throw in something like that, a pandemic like this, their reaction is a little bit stronger than somebody that maybe didn’t have those mental health issues,” said Price. “So we have to really continuously talk about it.”