This has been a time of adapting to change, to new schedules and in many cases, less structure within our days. There have also been many health and mental health stressors associated with COVID-19 that have added another layer of complication to individual’s lives. Many parents are multitasking homeschooling their children while working from home. Others are not working while staying at home and have found themselves left with more time than they have been accustomed to managing in the past. Others are still working and may be experiencing fear or stress as a result or are appreciating a sense of normalcy from continuing to show up to their jobs.
This is also a unique time for individuals in early sobriety from Substance-Use Disorders. The support services that were once utilized in person have mostly gone remote. For example, many 12-Step meetings are utilizing the Zoom platform and therapists and medical professionals are providing telehealth services. There are even some Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) that are conducting therapy groups and services. There are others who may want to get sober, but are unsure what resources exist at this time or how to begin, given so many businesses have been closing temporarily.
The In-Home Addiction Treatment Institute (IHATI) is able to train healthcare professionals in a unique and innovative treatment model that has easily adapted to the current usage of telehealth. Given that IHAT clients are located in all areas of a given state, there have already been treatment strategies implemented that allow for more remote care. The various aspects of this model taught through IHATI are the wave of the future in addiction treatment. There is a need for remote addiction treatment services beyond the present day pandemic and this model allows clients to have flexibility in terms of their work, school, logistical schedules and more. For example, clients in early recovery who traveled often for work could use their schedule as a way to disengage from treatment. However, healthcare providers are trained through IHATI to adapt services to accommodate these logistical challenges.
The extreme schedule changes, social distancing, school and workplace closures are posing unprecedented stressors and challenges for many and especially for those in early recovery. However, the IHAT model is especially relevant now and will be as our society makes shifts towards utilizing telehealth as deemed appropriate in the future. Additionally, this model is able to provide and connect clients to social support and connections that are crucial during early sobriety- which can be a time when individuals feel alone. IHATI also trains healthcare professionals to focus on the client’s daily schedule and structure as they are living in their homes. Supporting clients in creating behavioral schedules and recovery structure are imperative at this time to empower clients in early sobriety to weather this pandemic storm.
By Sarah Allen Benton, MS, LMHC, LPC, AADC