By Sarah Allen Benton, MS, LMHC, LPC, AADC
Fall…in the past it has been the season of starting school, transitioning from the summer, returning to routine, starting sports seasons and so much more. However, this Fall is a unique and challenging time for many families and individuals. The mental health and social impact of the pandemic is still being felt in many aspects of people’s lives and continuing to disrupt the normal flow of schedules. Some parents’ who are working from home or in person are trying to juggle a homeschool or hybrid academic schedule for their children. There are economic stressors for people who have businesses that have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. There are health and grief stressors for many people as well. The usual social support that people have relied on has been dismantled as many Fall Fairs and events, school and community events, social events have been cancelled. Many people are growing weary of communicating via Zoom and are craving in person connection.
Research and anecdotal evidence has indicated that there has been an increase in alcohol and substance usage over the past 6 months. However, using alcohol or drugs is not a viable option for those in recovery from Substance Use Disorders (SUDs). It is imperative that they learn and apply healthy coping skills during this time in order to decrease their stress and manage their lives effectively. This can be a challenging time to abstain from substances that in the past provided a solution or a reprieve from life’s difficulties. Recovery is about human connection, vulnerability and asking for support and this is a time when people are feeling more isolated and alone.
Luckily, the In-Home Addiction Treatment model is an innovative treatment program that has proved to be what so many clients need during these unprecedented times. This model is flexible in terms of accommodating client schedules, providing additional support in managing behavioral scheduling, home stressors and finding community resources. Each client and family has a team that supports the in-person and remotely in care coordination, applying relapse prevention and coping skills. They provide the “village” that those with SUDs and their loved ones need in order to heal.
The IHAT Institute is providing training for healthcare professionals who would like to learn how to administer this treatment model. Changing times require a treatment model that can adapt with client needs. Many healthcare professionals realize that some of the existing forms of addiction treatment are not providing comprehensive care, especially when face-to-face contact is limited. They want to administer treatment that empowers a client and also treats their family at the same time. The IHAT Institute will prepare them to deliver this adaptable model.