Intervention Can Prevent “Deaths of Despair”May 28, 2020
Inside the rooms of addiction recovery and out, millions of Americans are struggling. Naturally, the pandemic is the cause of the cloud of despair hanging low over Americans. Many men and women are turning to drugs and alcohol to cope with the pressures of pandemic life, so much so that some will require an intervention to get their life back on track.
According to The New York Times, roughly one in four American adults have filed for unemployment—upwards of 40 million. It’s little wonder why alcohol sales are through the roof. Moreover, relapse and overdose rates are on the rise in the addiction recovery community.
These are troubling times for every American. In addition to losing jobs, many of us have lost friends and family to COVID-19—the deadly coronavirus sweeping across the nation and abroad. The United States has more confirmed cases and exponentially more deaths than any other country in the world.
The Johns Hopkins University of Medicine reports that more than 100,000 Americans have passed away due to the coronavirus. At least 1.7 million men, women, and children have tested positive for the deadly virus.
The year 2020 is likely to be a watershed year for alcohol and substance abuse, overdoses, and suicide. What’s more, there is research that shows that the so-called “deaths of despair” are going to increase rapidly. It will fall on mental health, addiction, and intervention experts to do everything in their power to help save the lives of those adversely impacted by the global pandemic.
2020: A Time for Intervention Overdrive
The Well Being Trust and the American Academy of Family Physicians conducted a study titled: “Projected Deaths of Despair from COVID-19.” The researchers estimate related deaths from alcohol, drug overdose, and suicide could reach 154,037. While predictions, the study authors point out that immediate action could prevent many of the above types of deaths.
Dr. Elinore McCance-Katz, assistant secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services and head of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA), said the agency needs more funding to combat the anticipated surge in need for mental health and addiction treatment services. Dr. Elinore McCance-Katz told USA Today:
“We see very troubling signs across the nation. There’s more substance abuse, more overdoses, more domestic violence and neglect and abuse of children.”
The head of SAMHSA points to HHS research, a report in the British journal The Lancet on quarantine’s psychological effects. Now she is armed with the findings of the new research, which comes from nine unemployment scenarios, according to the article. The research team looked at the impact of isolation and uncertainty on the population to estimate how many Americans could succumb to suicide, alcohol, and drugs. Our federal mental health czar is to ask for more funds to help people suffering amid the social isolation.
If you have a loved one who is abusing drugs and alcohol to cope with the challenges of today, it is prudent to enlist the help of intervention experts. The same is true if someone you care about is struggling with mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. Without treatment, the person you care about will see their life spiral even more out of control.
Intervention and expanded access to treatment services could save thousands of lives. Hopefully, SAMHSA and other public health organizations can secure the necessary funding for preventing an untold number of deaths of despair caused by the pandemic.
Addiction and Mental Health Services
We invite you to reach out to Whitman Recovery Services if you have a loved one who is battling alcohol or drug addiction. We now offer telehealth to assist people in getting the help they desperately require for use disorders and mental health conditions. Please call (210) 291-0278 to learn more about how we can be of assistance.