7 Reasons To Seek Addiction Treatment
Substance use disorder, which is more colloquially known as drug addiction, is a serious mental...
Maybe you did everything right.
When COVID-19 first appeared on the scene last March, you dutifully retreated to your residence for “two weeks to stop the spread.” When that failed to flatten the curve, maybe you stayed at home as much as possible during the long months to follow for hour after hour of endless quarantine, unless your status as an essential worker dictated that, in order to stay employed, you had to face the risk of infection day-in and day-out, with all the terror that that entailed.
Then, maybe, as soon as they became available for your age group, you got your trusty vaccine and waited the prescribed two weeks after your second shot to start socializing in-person again, relieved that, after all this time, things were finally getting back to normal. And maybe you were finally beginning to relax into that new normal when the Delta variant reared its head to threaten, basically, all of it.
The Delta variant of the coronavirus was first detected in India in December and then tore through much of Great Britain. It had migrated to the United States by March, where it slowly became dominant over the original version of the coronavirus that was responsible for the pandemic’s first few waves.
Now, over 80 percent of current infections in the country are thought to be caused by this dangerous variant. It is more than twice as contagious as the original strain, and also seems to be at least somewhat deadlier.
The delta variant has also made it apparent that the much-awaited COVID vaccine does not offer the airtight protection against the virus that many initially assumed that it would. The exact percentages of its efficacy have been hard to nail down due to demographic confounds. But breakthrough cases are clearly prevalent enough to be cause for serious safety concerns.
The good news, though, is that being vaccinated still seems to offer considerable protection against even this new variant. It will vastly reduce your chance of winding up with severe disease or dying from a COVID-19 infection even if you do contract a “breakthrough case” of the virus.
A recent New York Times analysis suggests that fully vaccinated people may make up as few as .1 percent of those who have been hospitalized for severe COVID-19. Even a more pessimistic estimate still puts the figure at less than five percent. Similarly, cases among vaccinated people seem to account for as few as .2 percent of deaths from the virus.
The milder nature of infections that “break through” the barrier of vaccination may also contribute to the slightly different symptom profile that the delta variant has compared to classic COVID. Runny noses, headaches, and sore throats are now more common, while fever, cough, and loss of taste or smell are now less prevalent.
But data also suggests that the Delta variant still poses a serious risk to those who are elderly, immunocompromised, or have severe underlying conditions even if they are vaccinated. And unvaccinated people are at more risk than ever given the delta variants’ extreme contagion.
This unvaccinated group includes all children under twelve years old. Though they still appear to be at relatively low risk of COVID’s most severe outcomes, they are entirely unprotected due to the fact that the vaccine has not yet been approved for use in their age group.
It has also been found that vaccinated people who suffer breakthrough infections can still transmit COVID-19 to others, though they do appear to be contagious for a shorter period of time. Thus, the risk of a vaccinated person spreading COVID-19 to a population that includes a large amount of unvaccinated people is high enough to demand that the utmost precautions be taken to avoid unnecessary outbreaks. But in areas of high transmission, such outbreaks are already creating a serious strain on our medical system and have resulted in a heartbreaking amount of potentially avoidable casualties.
In accordance, the CDC has changed its guidelines and is once more recommending that even vaccinated people wear masks indoors in areas of “high or substantial transmission.” Reopenings or return-to-office dates that were scheduled for many businesses during our brief period of COVID optimism have been pushed back, cultural events like concerts have been postponed or canceled, and life continues to be lived with a much different character than it was during our pre-pandemic days.
Here in Florida, things are looking particularly gruesome, with our current outbreak resulting in higher numbers of COVID cases than there were even during our areas’ previous peaks and Palm Beach County having declared a “state of emergency” in accordance with these alarming numbers. In fact, matters are so severe in South Florida that medical professionals recently staged a symbolic walkout to protest the part that low vaccination rates played in inviting this insane state of affairs.
Hopefully, if you are not yet fully vaccinated, the gravity of what is now going on is leading you to question your decision not to receive the shot. There are plenty of trusty resources to turn to if you are seeking reassurance that the vaccine is indeed as safe and effective as it appears.
However, the physical threat posed by COVID-19 itself is far from the only danger that the delta variant poses. We must also contend with the drop in our collective morale resulting from the fact that what seemed to be the end of our long national nightmare has been revealed to be a bit of a false start.
Some professionals have noted a kind of mental health “whiplash” that many have experienced as they contend with the once-more uncertain future represented by the emergence of the Delta variant. To many of us, watching our world beginning to collapse again after we were told that our long nightmare was finally over feels, quite frankly, like a slap in the face.
If you did your part and got vaccinated, you may feel resentful of those whose refusal to listen to science has allowed the virus to continue spreading so rampantly. You may also be dealing with a resurgence of fear regarding your own health or the health of your loved ones or about what a return to more stringent lockdown means for your economic prospects.
If you’ve lost loved ones during the pandemic, you may also be dealing with profound grief, which is only compounded by the fact that the social rituals that usually surround loss may still be stifled by the threat of contagion. Our narrative of recovery and remission is shifting towards one of continual confinement, for who knows how long until things improve more permanently.
Naturally, this somber turn of events may also be challenging to your sobriety. The pandemic’s profound negative effect on rates of drug use and drug overdose has already been documented. And it’s easy to imagine that feelings of frustration about the danger this setback poses to our collective health could certainly trigger additional relapses or other mental health crises.
But all is still not lost. Vaccination rates are in fact rising in response to the threat that Delta poses, and there remain plenty of ways to stay recovery-positive while still staying COVID negative. Sure, coping strategies like engaging in meaningful hobbies, keeping to a routine, or staying connected to your support system through virtual means when in-person gatherings feel too risky might seem like a drop in the bucket compared to something as overwhelming as the pandemic. But anything that can help boost your mood or help you get through the day shouldn’t be discounted as essential to maintaining your recovery.
You should be incredibly proud if you’ve managed to stay sober through the past year and counting despite everything that the pandemic has thrown at us. Now it’s time to make it through the home stretch, even if it stretches out a little longer than any of us planned.
On the other hand, if you have found yourself struggling with any kind of addiction during this time, the slow-down of continual social restrictions could make for an unexpected opportunity for you to stop and reevaluate your relationship with substances before these restrictions are lifted more permanently. Know that you are far from alone in needing more support than usual during this time, and that RECO Intensive is here to help you establish or renew your commitment to sobriety even in the midst of our current surge.
There is no reason to beat yourself up for having turned to unhealthy options as you struggle to cope with something as unprecedented as our current crisis, in all its unpredictable variations. But if you are ready to seek help, RECO Intensive is here to help support your sobriety with a variety of treatment programs, including virtual and outpatient options. To learn more about how our highly-trained professional staff and experienced alumni can help guide you through the RECOvery process, call RECO Intensive at (561) 464-6533 today. Let’s get back to a brighter future.
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