We are six months into the pandemic, and there is no end in sight—yet. The pressure of “getting through the tough times” is becoming increasingly difficult the longer these “tough times” last. Lost jobs, unpaid bills, no child care, too much isolation, worry over the health of everyone around you—for many, the stress is just too much. According to the American Medical Association, more than 40 states are showing spikes in overdose deaths this year.
While there are several alternatives to substance use to relieve stress, such as meditation, exercise, prayer, music, or spending time with a favorite hobby, these solitary methods don’t always work for everyone, especially those in recovery who are used to the bonding and sharing experience of group support. But there is hope.
“The cumulative stress of it all is more than we have ever experienced,” says Joshua D. Zamer, MD, DABAM, Medical Director for Addiction Medicine at Saratoga Hospital Community Health Center. “For some people, trying to meditate to relieve stress is like emptying the ocean with a teaspoon. If the old coping strategies aren’t working, we can help you self-identify new alternatives to substance use that work specifically for you. We offer several non-controlled anxiety medications as well.”
Right now, in September’s National Recovery Month, we want to acknowledge the courage and resilience of people in recovery from alcohol and substance abuse. These are people who have already overcome much adversity, and many are facing the current “tough times” from a place of strength.
But it’s the isolation that has taken a toll. Recovery is not something to take on alone, which is why we emphasize virtual support groups and mentoring. The Addiction Medicine program has had a tremendously positive response from patients using its telehealth services. With new procedures that keep patients safe during the pandemic, we are still delivering high-quality treatment and support that builds that needed sense of connection.
The Addiction Medicine program is seeing new patients via telemedicine. If you’re struggling with addiction and would like to get help, including medication management and counseling, please call the Addiction Medicine team at 518-886-5601. If you are interested in attending a future NARCAN® training, please email Saratoga Hospital Community Wellness Programs at firstname.lastname@example.org. In case of emergency, call 9-1-1.
Additional resources offered during COVID-19 at Saratoga Community Health Center and elsewhere in our local community are available here. The Centers for Disease Control offer these tips to help prevent an overdose. Please also feel free to call any of these hotline numbers:
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
- Saratoga County Crisis Line Hot Line: 1-518-584-9030
- Suicide Prevention Coalition of Saratoga County: 1-800-273-8255
- National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8225