Hurricanes, and other natural disasters, present an added safety concern for former drug users or addicts in the midst of treatment.
If unable to receive proper care, patients of rehab facilities may relapse in order to ease withdrawal symptoms.
Additionally, they may contract other diseases through the use of shared, unclean needles.
As Hurricane Florence descends on North Carolina, the government has a plan to help those who are receiving treatment.
Hurricanes bring about a number of dangers for people in its path, and Hurricane Florence is no exception. The now-Category 1 storm has been making its way toward the Carolina’s all week, forcing the governments to issue mandatory evacuation notices. Although forcing people out of state keeps many residents safe, it puts those in the middle of addiction recovery in danger.
“Addicts require qualified care to manage their addictions into a state of remission,” Brook McKenzie, director of clinical outreach at New Method Wellness, told INSIDER. “If that care becomes inconsistent, or falls into a state of neglect, the results can be devastating, leading directly to relapse.”
And in North Carolina, where deaths by drug overdose increased by 22% between 2016 and 2017, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, consistency of care is especially crucial.
In crisis situations, recovering addicts may lose their daily routines and face additional stress, which are both associated with relapse
“Routine and structure are important parts of building a sober life, especially in early sobriety,” Katie Serra, a registered psychiatric nurse at McLean Hospital, told INSIDER. “Most sober houses or halfway houses require residents to have daytime structure, whether that be a day treatment program or a job.”
This routine keeps their minds — and in some cases, bodies — too occupied to think about or even crave drugs. But, as Serra noted, “natural disasters obviously interrupt this structure, leaving users vulnerable to relapse and overdose.”
It also leaves them worried about where to go and how to stay safe. Such stress can trigger relapse by activating the kappa opioid receptors in the region of the brain where, “neural activities leading to a stress-induced drug relapse take place,” as HuffPost reports.
Patients can also suffer intense withdrawal symptoms, forcing them to turn to drugs to relieve the pain
Recovering from addiction is as much a physical task as it is a mental one.
“The addict may require medical detox, the process of ridding the body of harmful toxins related to alcohol and drug abuse,” McKenzie said.
During this detox, a patient will likely suffer from withdrawal. Though the symptoms will vary depending on the type and length of addiction, the American Addiction Centers notes that people in withdrawal will likely experience flu-like symptoms, restlessness, tremors, depression, and anxiety.
“All of these are hard to deal with on an ordinary day, but factor in a lack of water, electricity, socialization, and support system, and that makes it all the worse,” Bernadette Calicchio, …read more
Source:: Business Insider