Nation’s Addiction Experts Make Treatment More Accessible Through Virtual Reality, Digital Applications, Telehealth and Online Forums
NASHVILLE, TN / ACCESSWIRE / April 21, 2020 / Before the COVID-19 pandemic began dominating the nation’s news cycle, there was another epidemic being battled across the nation – addiction. The battle against addiction, which impacts over 21 million Americans annually, has not ceased during the COVID-19 crisis. In fact, while social distancing has slowed the spread of COVID-19, it has negatively impacted those struggling with their addiction. In response, JourneyPure, the nation’s leading experts in drug and alcohol addiction treatment, have adapted their treatments for these challenging times.
According to a national survey released by JourneyPure on April 13, the COVID-19 pandemic has made it more difficult for those in recovery to avoid relapse and less likely for those struggling to receive treatment. The survey concluded that the data shows an increase in indirect COVID-19 deaths by way of drug and alcohol overdoses is inevitable. Some of the key findings included:
- 39% stated the pandemic made them give up on seeking treatment for their addiction
- 52% cited isolation from friends as the number one reason for increased difficulty in their addiction management
- 20% reported an increase in the difficulty in managing addiction during the crisis; however, JourneyPure alumni only reported a 5% increase
Addiction is a complicated disease. The national restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic may have placed some obstacles in the way of obtaining drugs and alcohol due to the closure of bars along with social distancing and stay at home orders, the underlying causes behind substance abuse still remain. Additionally, the U.S. alcohol beverage market has not experienced any major disruptions, despite the closure of bars across the nation as sales on delivery platforms have seen sales increases of 300% to 500% during the lockdown. For many, the stress caused by the global pandemic has only exacerbated the underlying mental and emotional issues that underlie addiction. Stress, loneliness, depression, isolation and boredom and more are becoming issues for many as a result of the impacts of COVID-19 – all of which are closely linked with substance abuse.
“Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic is fueling the addiction epidemic. We do not want to see the casualties continue to grow. Mental health treatments need to become more accessible permanently,” said Dr. Stephen Lloyd, chief medical officer at JourneyPure.
Dr. Lloyd, who currently serves as a member of the Governor Bill Lee’s subcabinet and as an associate professor at East Tennessee State University, understands addiction personally and is in recovery. His impressive 22-year career has seen him serve as an expert witness for the U.S. Attorney, Federal Bureau of Investigation and Drug Enforcement Administration against doctors improperly prescribing addictive medications. As trusted expert on addiction and the best treatment methodologies, Dr. Lloyd has been advocating for the use of technology in the field for years.
“At JourneyPure, we’ve seen for years the success of technology in this field – from virtual reality therapy to self-management via a phone app,” Dr. Lloyd stated. “Mental healthcare is about meeting people where they are at and this industry needs to catch up or we risk losing more people than ever before.”
While rehab facilities remain open as essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic, JourneyPure has made their innovative treatment options more widely accessible.
- Virtual Reality: The addiction experts at JourneyPure have found that by meeting their patients in a virtual world as avatars, patients are more receptive. One of the benefits of virtual reality is helping the patient to draw out some of the underlying contributing factors of their addiction, helping the patient to better visualize and process even after leaving the virtual environment. Virtual reality also helps patients disconnect from the noise and distractions of their daily life to focus completely on their recovery during their scheduled treatment.
- Ask Our Doctors Forum: The latest rollout from JourneyPure is a new online forum, Ask Our Doctors, where individuals can anonymously ask questions relating to addition, drugs, alcohol or mental health that will be answered by real M.D. and Ph.D physicians within 72 hours.
- Alumni Life Coaching App: The private JourneyPure app creates a customized recovery plan to help patients reach daily, weekly and monthly recovery goals. Accessible 24/7, the app also connects the individual directly to their Alumni Life Coach who will provide support during the first year of recovery. The app holds individuals accountable for making healthy choices each day – like taking medication, attending meetings and taking time for reflection. Additionally, as members check off daily tasks, they earn points that can be redeemed for gift cards. Currently the app is only available for alumni and insurance companies are starting to partner with the technology.
- Telehealth and E–prescribe: Like many other healthcare facilities during the pandemic, JourneyPure is also offering telehealth and e-prescriptions to help their patients stay on the path to recovery without having to leave their home. Telehealth options give people access to the resources they need with a reduced perceived stigma from seeking help.
“Addiction is deadly. Tragically, it’s more deadly than COVID-19. The sooner treatment begins, the less damage it can cause,” said Dr. Lloyd. “Some individuals may feel that this isn’t the right time to seek treatment, putting it off until after the pandemic abates, but today is always the best day to start your journey to recovery. The side effects of social distancing may worsen substance abuse, so we encourage those struggling to use this pandemic as an opportunity to get the help they need.”
JourneyPure recognizes that currently more people are in search of help because of job loss or job insecurity. Financial stress coupled with isolation can make it more likely for a person in recovery to relapse. The changes caused by social distancing precautions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic have likely caused the surge in people looking for addiction help. Fortunately, JourneyPure is here to help and accessible 24/7, even while social distancing.
If you or someone you know struggles with drug or alcohol addiction, please visit JourneyPure.com or call 800-311-1677 for more information. JourneyPure is in-network with most insurance providers and has 19 locations across the country. Visit https://journeypure.com/locations/Tennessee/, https://journeypure.com/locations/kentucky/, and https://journeypure.com/locations/florida/ for more information on evidence-based treatment options.
Substance abuse was an epidemic long before COVID-19, and it will likely continue to be long after. While the challenges of staying healthy for alcoholics and drug addicts during this pandemic are the same, the consequences could be more serious.
JourneyPure is the national leading addiction treatment provider with 19 inpatient rehab facilities and outpatient clinics across the country. Since [date], JourneyPure has provided patients battling addiction to drugs and alcohol evidence-based, dual-diagnosis addition treatment and passionate care. The high standards of the team of experts at JourneyPure are renowned and trusted by well-known behavioral health professionals across the country. Backed by the highest accreditation and affiliations in the industry, JourneyPure’s commitment to ethics and patient success are unparalleled.
Ann Littmann, TrizCom PR on behalf of JourneyPure
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