By Sarah Allen Benton, MS, LMHC, LPC, AADC
Spring is a time of rebirth- when nature’s dormancy begins to bloom with new life. Spring can be a time of anticipation for the warmer months for those who live in four season areas. While Winter can decrease energy and be a time of quieter reflection, Spring can usher in a more upbeat and hopeful feel.
This particular Spring may have even more meaning and joy associated with it. Many people are feeling a sense of hope and renewal following over a year of living through a pandemic. Many schools and businesses that have been closed longer than others are reopening and social and sporting events are getting scheduled.
For many people this may be a time when they are feeling more freedom to go about their lives with less worry about catching or passing COVID-19 on. For others, they may still have fears or do not feel comfortable taking the vaccine. Everyone has their unique ways of dealing with the unknown.
Research has indicated that this past year has seen a dramatic rise in substance usage, unhealthy eating habits, mood symptoms, suicidal thoughts and other effects. Therefore, this Spring is a crucial time for individuals to take some time to recognize what areas of their life may be out of balance and to make some adjustments.
Specifically, a research study out of Portland, OR indicated that over half of US workers are experiencing mental health symptoms since the pandemic began. This increase in stress inevitably has led individuals to greater use and/or of substances in an attempt to manage these symptoms. Just 1 year ago, research indicated that over 55% of Americans had increased their alcohol consumption and 36% had increased marijuana, prescription drug abuse and others. The American Psychological Association reported that there has been an 18% increase in drug overdose compared with 2019. A JAMA Psychiatry study found that there has been a 29% increase from the 70,000 drug overdoses in 2019.
“Where do I begin?” “What will it be like?” “Can I afford the help?” “Is there a waitlist?” “How will I cope with stress without using a substance?” “Will I have to stop working in order to get treatment?” These are just a few of the overwhelming thoughts that individuals will have when considering reaching out for help.
The In-Home Addiction Treatment (IHAT) model of care is the perfect treatment modality for these changing times. This innovative model has been able to adjust to the need for telehealth, hybrid and in-person sessions and is also able to admit clients efficiently, without a wait and is in network with several private insurers. The IHAT Care Team is able to support clients during this season of change in setting and working towards accomplishing realistic goals in addressing their substance usage as well as other wellness domains of their life.
Many addiction professionals are experiencing a need for change as this past year has been changing the way that treatment is delivered. The IHAT Institute is training healthcare professionals to administer this model to their clients. As the IHAT model continues to grow and expand from CT into MA, NH, ME, FL and IN, it is clear that more healthcare professionals need to be trained in preparation for the inevitable addiction and mental health aftershocks of this pandemic. So, why not Spring into change?