By Sarah Allen Benton, MS, LMHC, LPC, AADC
It is FINALLY 2021! For many this is a fresh start from the challenges of 2020. COVID-19 has changed the fabric of our lives in many ways, and for some this was a year of turning to unhealthy coping strategies to manage the various stressors which included: employment changes, school closures, childcare issues, government shutdowns, remote school and work, health fears, loss, lack of structure, financial insecurity, fears of the unknown, media and social media overstimulation and more.
2020 tested the “cracks” in people’s lives. If there were weaknesses in addictive behaviors, relationships, stress management then this year was the ultimate test. Some people had already developed effective coping strategies that translated well to this unprecedented past year, but others were not prepared for the many domains that were impacted by COVID-19. For individuals who relied heavily on social and community supports, they may have felt very isolated and disoriented as to how best to manage this new landscape.
Research and anecdotal evidence have pointed to clear increases in substance usage by many people of all ages. Those who may not have had Substance Use Disorders (SUDs), may have crossed the line from problem usage into addiction. Others may just be drinking or using substances more regularly than they had in the past.
Therefore, 2021 represents the potential for a new beginning and the hope for returning to more normalcy in life. As of this moment, nothing has changed since 2020, but individuals may want to create internal change to cope with life stressors with substance usage.
The In-Home Addiction Treatment Model (IHAT) Treatment model provides a road map for recovery and can help individuals to achieve and maintain their New Year’s recovery resolutions. It can be easier to stop substance usage, but the key is to learn way to maintain long-term sobriety. The IHAT Model is a 1-year long treatment program that integrates a comprehensive Care Team into a client’s home environment. This allows for real life challenges to be addressed as well as time and access for the family system dynamics to be addressed. Healthcare has changed dramatically over the past year, and telemedicine has allowed for greater access and flexibility. This model also allows for remote and in person care that is tailored to the individual.
Many healthcare professionals may also want a change in terms of the way that they are delivering services to those with SUDs. The IHAT Institute provides training for healthcare professionals who want to learn about this innovative addiction treatment model. This past year has proved that the most effective treatments are those that can be flexible and accommodate a changing world.