ocd and coronavirus

Managing Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder During the Coronavirus Pandemic

People all over the entire globe are currently working through the effects of COVID-19. The coronavirus outbreak has impacted the lives of many individuals, causing a wave of changes to take place in everyday life.

Those who were suffering from mental health disorders prior to the spread of the virus are, no doubt, experiencing serious challenges due to the co-occurrence of these issues. So, if you’ve been dealing with OCD in addition to the impact of the pandemic, you have likely encountered some hurdles. But, here at Discovery Institute, we are dedicated to offering you the information and assistance you need throughout this time.

An Overview of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Often called OCD, obsessive-compulsive disorder is a mental health disorder that affects the way people think, feel, and behave. Individuals who suffer from OCD frequently experience unwanted or unwarranted obsessive thoughts. They often have pressing and invasive thoughts or ideas that they cannot control.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is also characterized by compulsive behavioral patterns. Those who suffer from OCD often struggle with compulsions as a result of obsessions. For instance, a person may have continuous thoughts of germs and remaining free from them. In an effort to appease those thoughts, the individual might frequently and excessively wash their hands.

Intense and uncontrollable fears, concerns, and challenges often affect the lives of those who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder. It can cause individuals to struggle with day-to-day tasks and routines. Those who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder often experience anxiety, which can certainly impact life in a negative way.

OCD is characterized by an intense need for control. This can cause the sufferer to feel completely hopeless when placed in situations they cannot control. As such, the current coronavirus pandemic is likely to cause many individuals who suffer from this mental health disorder to experience a lack of control and, as a result, hope.

The Effects of a Pandemic: Coronavirus and OCD

COVID-19, a serious and deadly virus, has affected everyone throughout the globe, whether directly or indirectly. Many individuals have lost their lives or the lives of loved ones due to this coronavirus. Others have lost jobs and income. Also, others have been impacted by the shelter-in-place or stay home orders and lockdowns.

Business owners have felt the negative financial impact of this pandemic as many of them have been unable to remain open throughout this time. Employees and employers alike are dealing with the changes that are continuing to unfold.

Without a doubt, everyone has been experiencing the difficulties that come with not being able to control anything. People have been taking preventative measures and precautions to avoid contracting or spreading the virus. But, being unable to cure or stop the virus completely has left countless people feeling hopeless and helpless.

But, for those who suffer from OCD, this lack of control and the overwhelming sense of hopelessness can have even more severe adverse effects. Obsessive-compulsive disorder often causes individuals to feel uneasy, anxious, and nervous in situations other people may deem bearable or easily manageable. So, now that a pandemic is in full effect, the impact on those who suffer from OCD is bound to be even more difficult to manage.

Coronavirus and OCD

All over the world, people are experiencing an understandable sense of fear and concern. What was once seen as “normalcy” is no longer reality. As people begin to adjust to what has now become normal, many individuals simply feel as though they are in a daze. Frequent handwashing, limited personal contact with others, mask-wearing, an increase in technology use, and much more are now daily activities.

Those who suffer from OCD may become overwhelmed by the fear of becoming ill or losing a loved one to the coronavirus. This can result in obsessions and compulsions that include the following:

  • Increased anxiety
  • Debilitating fear
  • Lack of hygiene
  • Constant worrying
  • Lack of sleep and rest
  • Excessive handwashing
  • Extreme thoughts of becoming ill
  • Constant checking on loved ones
  • Increased avoidance of people, places, and objects for fear of contracting or carrying the virus

Like most others, those who are living with OCD may struggle to feel safe and protected. But, these concerns are likely to experience these challenges in a more powerful and intense way. They can be debilitating and detrimental to the overall wellbeing and health of those suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder.

OCD and Addiction: How COVID-19 Impacts Dual Diagnosis Patients

Unfortunately, many people who are living with obsessive-compulsive disorder also suffer from addiction. Those who struggle with the effects of OCD may develop an alcohol use disorder or drug use disorder in addition to their mental health disorder. This often causes very severe and serious problems in the suffering individual’s life. 

When addiction and OCD co-occur, the effects can be life-altering. Addiction can cause one’s life to truly spiral out of control, an issue that those with OCD are very likely to have difficulty handling. A lack of control can cause people who have obsessive-compulsive disorder to feel helpless and may lead to severely unhealthy cognitive and behavioral patterns and processes.

Individuals may think about harming themselves or others. Or, they may show signs of a lack of self-care and concern for their personal well-being. This can lead to problems with interpersonal relationships, performance at work, studies at school, and other daily activities and routines.

Excessive substance use only intensifies these issues, causing those who suffer from OCD and addiction to experience grave challenges in their lives. This is why it is of utmost importance for those who suffer from OCD and addiction to seek help and hope, especially during this global pandemic.

Tips for Self-Care and Symptom Management Throughout Pandemic

If you are currently working through the effects of obsessive-compulsive disorder or even OCD and addiction, please seek help immediately. Perhaps, however, you are currently in recovery from substance dependence as you continue to live with OCD. In either case, it is important to take the best possible care of yourself.

During this time, it is necessary to work harder than ever to maintain mental, emotional, and physical health. So, even as curfews, lockdowns, and stay-home orders begin to lift, you can continue to take special care of your needs.

Here are some things you can do to maintain a healthy balance and take care of yourself while dealing with the impact of OCD during a pandemic:

Try not to read everything.

It’s tempting to look at every single update on the coronavirus, examining multiple accounts, stories, and coverage on the topic. But, while it’s absolutely important to stay informed on this matter, it can become overwhelming and mentally draining. 

With updates continuously changing and knowledge on the virus continuously evolving, keeping up can be exhausting. Stay up-to-date, but try to avoid reading every little bit of news that comes out. 

You may even consider having a friend or family member give you updates as needed. This will help to prevent any anxiety that may come with closely following the news.

Get the proper amount of rest.

Be sure to get enough sleep at night and rest during the day when you can. It’s certainly difficult to do this when anxiety levels are high. But, do your best to find things that help you to relax and rest more easily.

This may include calming music. Create a playlist that can help you to calm down and relax before bed. You may also engage in nightly stretches, which can help yo relax your muscles and release tension in your body.

Participate in activities that you enjoy.

While going out and about is still somewhat limited, you may find that you can have fun right there at home. If you like to paint or draw, you might consider taking up that hobby again. Go for bike rides if you feel comfortable doing so. (It is not probable that you will encounter crowds of people and it ensures that you get some fresh air!

You can also spend time with your family or roommates. Watch fun movies, listen to music, play instruments, read, do at-home workouts, and more!

Take a break from social media.

Although social media is a great platform where you can keep up with what’s going on in the world, it can be harmful. Social media platforms are often flooded with information and full of things that elicit emotions. It can be hard to maintain a balance as social media can be quite time-consuming.

Feel free to step away from it from time to time to clear your mind. This may prove to improve your mental and emotional health.

Be kind to your mind.

Your thoughts may be invasive. Your mind might be cluttered. You may feel mentally tired. But, be kind to your mind. You are going through something you’ve never had to face before. This pandemic is a new experience and it can be hard to work through all of the challenges that come with it. 

Taking time to think positive thoughts and engage in active self-care can help you tremendously. You may also find telehealth resources such as therapy and counseling to be very helpful throughout this time.

Contact Discovery Institute for Help Today!

Here at Discovery Institute of New Jersey, we understand the undeniable and absolute necessity of having services and resources at the disposal of those who need them. Our team is well aware of the needs people have regarding OCD, other mental health disorders, and substance use disorders.

But, we are also aware of the fact that each person who comes to us for help has unique and specific needs. Our team knows that every patient is in need of an individualized approach to treatment. So, we strive to offer this kind of assistance to each person who enters our recovery center.

If you have been struggling with the challenging effects of OCD during the coronavirus pandemic, please know that we are here to help. Even as the lockdown and stay home orders lift, the lingering effects of COVID-19 remain to impact people’s lives. So, rest assured that we will take full consideration of your needs as you reach out to us for help.

As our world works through the uncomfortable and unforeseen changes caused by this pandemic, Discovery Institute is here for you. Whether you are struggling with OCD and addiction or another dual diagnosis, we can assist you! 

You are not alone in your struggle and you do not need to try to work through it by yourself. Having support and guidance from professionals who understand will be of great importance during your journey to recovery and health. 

Please contact us here at Discovery Institute today to speak to one of our representatives. We will work to address your concerns and direct you toward the resources and services you need. We will work to help you move forward, toward a mentally, emotionally, and physically healthier version of yourself. Don’t wait; today is your day to begin a new journey!

alcoholism and the pandemic

Alcohol Consumption and The Coronavirus

Amid the current COVID-19 pandemic crisis, there has been one product leaving shelves more frequently than all the others, and we are not referring to toilet paper. 

The government has deemed alcohol sales as an essential business, and also has loosened restrictions concerning home-delivery and carry-out drinks. Consumers are buying more alcohol amid this current crisis than ever before. The concerning part about all of this is that it could lead to higher rates of alcoholism than there has been in the past. 

How Much Alcohol is Being Consumed During COVID-19?

Some studies have been done over the past couple of months to analyze the sales of alcohol, and they’ve shown that grocery stores saw an increase in the following:

  • Wine – 27%
  • Spirits – 26% 
  • Beer and Cider – 14% 

These sales increases were compared to that of a year earlier the same week of March 14th. As far as more specifics are concerned, boxed wine increased over 50%, 24-packs of beer just under a quarter percentage (24%). And also, online sales of alcohol have increased by 42% on the year.

Some reasons that these percentages are so high may be due in large part to bars and restaurants being closed because of the pandemic. However, that’s not to say that this couldn’t also be influenced by the current state of economic and psychological stress. 

Because of the mental and financial stressors, the pandemic is having on others, people are buying large amounts of cheap alcohol in order to cope with their stress. The more alcohol they have, the more they’re able to use it in an attempt to forget about their problems or process them in a more lucid state of mind. This kind of behavior is inevitably what leads to alcoholism

Some of this increased drinking and drunk behavior may come to have both short and long-term effects on the health and safety of individuals. This kind of impact is imperative to consider not only when consuming alcohol in a more tranquil, normal point-in-time, but especially in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Short-Term Effects of Increased Alcohol Consumption

Increased alcohol consumption in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic has many short and long-term effects when it comes to the health and safety of individual consumers. Short-term effects pertain to resulting action in the near rather than distant future.

As far as the short-term is concerned, consuming alcohol has dangerous potential to compromise one’s immune system during a pandemic. Alcohol misuse weakens the body’s immune system responses, and in the case of COVID-19, these responses include the lungs’ ability to fight off COVID-19.

Not only that but the increased sales and consumption of alcohol as a result of the Coronavirus could also have a detrimental impact on interpersonal conflicts/violence. This is never a good thing obviously; adding alcohol to violence or conflict only intensifies dangerous situations.

Long-Term Effects of Increased Alcohol Consumption

When something is considered long-term, it has either happened for a long time or will continue for an extended period of time in the future. As far as the long-term effects of increased alcohol consumption are concerned, some studies have shown that dependence and substance use disorder can increase well into a person’s future. This is due to the factors of quarantine, the pandemic, and alcohol purchase/consumption. 

In other words, during the pandemic, those who are participating in large amounts of alcohol consumption are building a foundation for alcohol dependence and addiction. 

For example, after Hurricane Katrina, alcohol consumption increased in Louisiana. Later, when Hurricane Rita came around, the amount of young people misusing alcohol also increased. All of that points to an increased likelihood that those who are consuming more alcohol in the midst of this pandemic are more likely to suffer from alcohol addiction

Understanding Alcohol Use Disorder

Alcohol use disorder is characterized by alcoholism, the insatiable desire to consume alcohol. 

It is immensely difficult for some people to refuse alcohol because they may have developed a dependency. Dependency on alcohol influences not only the decisions of individuals who suffer from alcoholism, but it also influences their thoughts. So much so that their thoughts dwell heavily on when and where their next drink is coming from. 

Misusing alcohol impairs one’s judgment. Not only that, but their decision-making skills are compromised as well. When someone drinks a moderate or large amount of alcohol, their pleasure center is triggered, heightening their drinking experience. Because of this, desires become more and more difficult to satisfy over time. When this happens, dependency arises. 

Dependency is characterized by one’s sole focus and health being centered around their drinking habits. It is also characterized by the priority that drinking has over their lives. Those who are affected indirectly also suffer; this includes family members, friends, loved ones, and even coworkers. This is what is commonly referred to as neglect. Neglect has been known to dismantle the well-being of many families.

Alcohol use disorder has the power to dismantle even the strongest of family structures. Because of this, it is imperative that people recognize the signs of alcoholism and its destructive potential. Doing so could save family members and loved ones an immense amount of heartache. 

Signs of Alcohol Use Disorder

Some signs of alcohol use disorder include the following:

  • Lack of interest in activities
  • Lack of self-control
  • Consistent lying
  • Consistently under the influence of alcohol
  • Poor mental health (depression, anxiety, etc.)

Factors of Alcohol Use Disorder

There are many factors that could influence someone to suffer from alcohol use disorder (including a global pandemic such as COVID-19). Some of these factors include the following:

  • Marital problems
  • Peer pressure
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Emotional or physical abuse

Treatment Options for Alcohol Use Disorder During COVID-19

There are many options to help people treat their substance use disorder, even in the midst of a global pandemic such as COVID-19. Some of these options are referred to as telehealth options. Telehealth refers to when modern technology such as video conferencing, texting, or web-based live chats are used to treat those suffering from substance use disorder conveniently when options like a doctor’s office are inconvenient or unavailable. 

Telehealth options can include the following:

  • Phone-centered Care
  • Video Calling
  • Virtual Reality
  • Texting
  • Mobile Apps
  • Web-centered Care

Don’t Walk Alone On the Road to Recovery

At Discovery, our goal is to meet individuals where they’re at in their recovery journey. Individualized care is at the center of what we do. If you would like to learn more, you can contact us here

relapse during coronavirus

Addiction Relapse During the Coronavirus Pandemic

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to unwind, the world has locked down, millions of people have been laid-off, and many have been constrained to stay at home orders. Practicing social distancing isn’t natural, and it is affecting one distinct group hard. Individuals recovering from substance use disorder have found it challenging to stay sober with their routine eradicated, and many have ended up relapsing during the isolation. 

A relapse occurs when an individual who has recovered from substance use disorder suddenly breaks their period of abstinence. Cravings can be triggered by feelings of boredom, anxiety, and loneliness. Studies have shown the relationship between addiction and isolation over the years, proving that isolation leads to more acute treatment consequences. 

Now the world is dealing with coronavirus incorporating into those statistics. Where those individuals in recovery would typically consume their day attending support groups, they’re now forced to be isolated at home without the support of peers sharing the same experiences. 

These moments make it tempting to start using again because nobody is around, right? However, there are new support systems accessible to those in recovery. Telehealth treatment options are available to anyone with access to a computer or smartphone.

The ability to remain sober – even during this pandemic – is more achievable than ever. Understanding the signs and symptoms and what to do if triggers occur, can help mitigate a full relapse. 

Signs of Relapse During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Some physical signs of relapse include:

  • Poor hygiene
  • Poor eating 
  • Sleeping problems
  • Regularly lying
  • Bottling up emotions
  • Skipping virtual support meetings
  • Interacting with previous friends who still use

Some common triggers of relapse during a pandemic include:

  • Fear
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Chronic pain
  • Uncertainty
  • Loneliness during isolation
  • Traumatic memories 
  • Financial issues
  • Experiencing mental illness
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Strained relationships with family
  • Grieving the death of a loved one

Relapses are frequent through the substance abuse recovery process that it’s been estimated that up to 60% of patients in recovery relapse at least once before achieving sobriety. 

During the coronavirus pandemic, some individuals are isolating at home alone, while others are choosing to isolate themselves from their families. Family members living with a recovering substance addict must know the warning signs of relapse and what to do if it does occur. 

Understanding the signs and triggers that could lead to relapse are vital in understanding those feelings and knowing what to do when recognizing them.

4 Ways To Prevent A Relapse 

During this coronavirus pandemic, individuals in recovery are either servicing their sobriety or their relapse.

Here are four ways to help prevent relapse during these isolated times:

1 – Filling In Empty Time Slots

Part of becoming and remaining sober means creating healthy new lifestyle changes. However, isolation can disrupt a positive wellness routine. An interruption in daily routines will usually disrupt your emotional stability, also. Therefore, it is vital to learn ways to resist the new imbalance you’re experiencing during the coronavirus pandemic, especially the ones recovering from substance addiction. Make sure that you balance your available time with activities that help with your recovery. Consequently, you can stay focused during isolation.

Practicing art, music, reading, or exercise are all positive habits to help pass the time. Even reaching out to a friend in need can divert you from any loneliness feelings. Regardless, don’t allow yourself too much downtime. Relaxing does feel good, but too much boredom can leave any person susceptible to relapse.

2 – Become Aware Of Your Triggers

While the world practices social distancing, many recovering from substance use disorder are suffering a familiar feeling of their past, isolation. Unfortunately, isolation is one of the most significant causes to trigger a relapse. Also, being isolated in toxic family situations can complicate the problematic aspects of the global stay at home orders. 

Fortunately, there are methods you can practice to resist the adverse effects of isolation, which can help prevent relapse during the coronavirus outbreak. Nevertheless, it must begin with a precise perception of what triggers you to use.

3 – Utilizing Digital Communication

Zoom is a free app and website which makes any online support group affordable and accessible. The growth of Zoom exploded the moment the coronavirus started spreading throughout the U.S. After the national suspension of public gatherings; online Zoom meetings became the only option individuals had to continue connecting with their peers.

The coronavirus pandemic gave Zoom the boost required to become a vital tool for the online recovery environment. Zoom hosts online virtual NA and AA meetings daily while providing the outlet, connection, and accountability that is substantially comparable to in-person group meetings. Various other digital platforms also can be used to communicate with others in the sober community. There are hundreds of forums and blogs available online that allow individuals in recovery the ability to connect and support each other during these isolating times.

4 – Staying Accountable

The most important thing to do when you’re isolated in recovery is to stay accountable to someone other than yourself via telephone, text, or through some other means of communication.

Individuals in recovery know that being alone is difficult. It is vital to have a few reliable people that you can contact daily, whether it is a friend, sponsor, family member, counselor, or therapist who can get you the support you need.

With mindfulness, strategic preparation, constant communication, and accountability, preventing relapse during this pandemic is attainable.

Are You or A Loved One Trying To Avoid Relapse?

If you or a loved one is recovering from substance addiction and finding it challenging to remain sober, know that these temptations aren’t uncommon. Treatment specialists recommend individuals in recovery take care of themselves by practicing daily routines like exercising, eating healthy, consistent sleep routines, and keeping in touch with family and friends.

Discovery Institute can help individuals to continue achieving sobriety during this coronavirus outbreak. If you or a loved one has experienced a relapse during isolation, contact our addiction treatment specialists immediately to get the help needed to get back on track.

insurance for tele-treatment

Is Tele-Treatment for Addiction Covered By My Insurance?

Tele-treatment is a way for an individual with a substance use disorder to receive help through online communication. Tele-treatment is the most convenient way to receive treatment. All a person needs is a phone, computer, or laptop with internet service. 

With Coronavirus bringing the world to a stop and the need for addiction treatment increasing, laws and treatment options had to adjust. State and federal governments have changed the laws, and insurance companies changed coverage policies. Addiction treatment centers have taken advantage of all online resources available to continue providing excellent patient-centered care. 

What is Tele-Treatment?

Tele-treatment uses technology to seek and receive treatment for substance use disorder. Before our current situation, Tele-treatment is used for individuals who don’t have easy access to treatment. With stay-at-home orders keeping people apart, Tele-treatment is almost the only option besides inpatient treatment

Technologies used in Tele-treatment include:

  • Phone-based care
  • Video conferencing
  • Smartphone apps

With 90% of Americans having smartphones or internet devices, addiction treatment and recovery is achievable no matter your situation.

How Is Insurance Changing With the Increased Need of Tele-Treatment?

Many factors have hindered the use of tele-treatment in addiction treatment. State and federal laws, HIPPA, and insurance companies have had difficulty finding protocols to cover all tele-treatment methods. 

When Coronavirus started spreading and states closed down, addiction treatment specialists called for the government and the insurance companies to make changes. 

Many of the states already had laws in place that require commercial health plans and Medicaid to cover tele-treatment. The laws widely vary in what services are covered. In response to Coronavirus, Eighteen states and D.C. issued emergency orders increasing the use of tele-treatment. In some states, individuals can seek treatment via phone. 

Insurance companies offered minimal coverage for tele-treatment compared to in-office treatments. Only a few tele-treatment options were covered, and the co-pays for these treatments were higher than services in the office. With the need for tele-treatment for addiction on the rise during the pandemic, insurance companies are covering tele-treatment the same as in-office visits. 

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services updated their tele-treatment guidelines and coverage during the pandemic. And Health and Human Services updated HIPAA requirements for tele-treatment. 

It is essential to check with your insurance company to verify what addiction tele-treatment services your policy covers. 

What Are my Options For Addiction Services Via Tele-Treatment?

There are multiple ways to treat substance use disorder through tele-treatment. Some people have found it easier to seek treatment because of the extra feeling of privacy. Tele-treatment options include:

Phone-Based Care

Phone-based care is the oldest form of tele-treatment for substance use disorder. An individual suffering from addiction can receive support and guidance day or night via the phone. Therapists, counselors, and sponsors can continue their sessions during the Coronavirus with very little disturbance using this method. 

Pre-pandemic days, laws prevented the full use of phones for addiction treatment. The biggest threat to this treatment is the fear of breaking HIPPA laws. Stay-at-home orders made the government make emergency changes. These changes allow individuals to trade in-person appointments for phone-based appointments. 

Video Conferencing

Social distancing orders have caused many outpatient programs, after-care and 12-step programs to be canceled. But every person suffering from addiction knows that without these programs, continued sobriety is difficult. 

Video conferencing for substance use disorders occurs through secure, confidential internet portals. Video conferencing to treat addiction has many benefits. 

  • Convenient 
  • Comfortable
  • Never miss an appointment
  • Closest treatment to in-person care

Insurance companies favor and reimburse video conferencing over all other forms of tele-treatment for substance use disorder. They understand the long-term health benefits of video conferencing. 9 out of 10 people have access to a smartphone or internet. This makes seeking care for SUD easier. Insurance companies understand that if seeking help is easy and private, then more people find and achieve sobriety. 

Smartphone Apps

There are a plethora of apps that a person can download on their phones to aid in substance use disorder treatment. Individuals can connect with people all over the world to help on their road to continued sobriety. This is great for those who live in small areas and do not want everyone to know their business. 

Why Tele-Treatment For Substance Use Disorder Increases Recovery

For many people, their substance use disorder is a private matter. They hide it from their family, friends, and co-workers. So the fear of seeking treatment and someone finding out prevents them from seeking help. Tele-treatment eliminates the fear of being exposed by allowing a person to seek help from the privacy of their home. 

Not everyone has reliable transportation to get to treatment. And not everyone drives. If you live in remote areas, it can be difficult to get to treatment appointments and support meetings. With tele-treatment, you don’t have to leave your house. Just pick up your phone or computer and get online. Support and treatment are only a click away.

Tele-treatment takes away many of the excuses as to why a person can’t get help. Just reach in your pocket and pull out your phone. 

Discovery Institute: Treating Addiction Through Tele-Treatment and More

At Discovery Institute, we understand the challenges of Substance Use Disorder. We also grasp the increasing need for addiction treatment. Our staff has embraced the challenges we face during the Coronavirus pandemic and increase our tele-treatment capabilities.

At Discovery Institute, we know that every addiction is different. For some, they require inpatient treatment to beat their substance use disorder. We are taking all precautions to keep our staff and clients safe during the Coronavirus. 

Our caring staff is waiting to speak to you. Contact us today and start your new life. 

online addiction treatment resources

Social Media Provides Accessible Addiction Help Online

The time in which we’re currently living is both challenging and even frightening. Uncertainty surrounds us all, both here in the United States, and throughout the entire world. People from all walks of life are facing the difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. But, as the world struggles to return to a state of normalcy, questions continue to linger. These questions are also plaguing the minds of those who are in recovery from addiction.

As recovering individuals were prohibited from gathering in group meetings due to safety concerns, many people who are working to overcome addiction have been left wondering what to do. Accountability and togetherness are both necessary components of the recovery process.

So, how can individuals continue to receive addiction help throughout this time? Well, social media platforms have teamed up with Google to make online addiction help both possible and accessible to those who need it. According to a recent report, recovering individuals may be able to find addiction help online, a welcome and needed resource at this time.

Facebook, Twitter, and Google: Bringing Hope and Help

Social media often gets a bad reputation. Many people find themselves struggling to maintain a healthy self-image due to the pressures that come with keeping up with the social media Joneses. But, what if Google and social media joined forces to provide people with hope? What if there was a way for people who struggle with addiction to gain access to addiction help through these platforms?

Apparently, the individuals behind Twitter, Facebook, and Google have thought through these questions. Recently, these platforms shared the news that they partnered with the nonprofit Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies. In doing so, they have launched Tech Together, an online platform that works to help those suffering from substance dependence.

About Tech Together’s Approach to Online Addiction Help

The Tech Together site launched by Facebook, Twitter, and Google threesome is meant to create a safe space for those who are struggling with addiction or dealing with the stigma of getting treatment for substance use disorders. The website (TechTogether.co) is a resource where individuals can find the help they need as they work through addiction.

This resource might prove to be very helpful, especially throughout the COVID-19 pandemic our world is currently experiencing. Since the coronavirus has halted addiction recovery group meetings for now, more and more people are taking to telehealth and telemedicine approaches to get help. 

As previously mentioned, accountability is a critical part of the journey to recovery. Those who are attempting to remain free from addiction need a support system, complete with like-minded peers and compassionate professionals. But, as the world continues to take safety measures by carrying out social distancing precautions, recovery meetings and support groups are unable to meet. This makes accountability and support systems less and less accessible.

Thankfully, however, more individuals, communities, and corporations are finding ways to provide addiction help online for those who need these services. 

Tech Together offers people in recovery a platform where they can find resources as they move toward a life without substance dependence. These resources include tools that can help people find treatment services near them. Also, individuals can help family members of struggling individuals to find helpful resources. So, the spouses, children, and parents of those suffering from substance use disorders may be able to benefit from Tech Together, as well.

What Does This Mean For People in Recovery?

With the COVID-19 virus running rampantly throughout the world, many people are facing intense feelings of fear and uncertainty. Emotions are running high and countless families are trying to navigate through this new normal. While everyone is truly hoping that this current normalcy is only temporary, there is no real way to be sure.

Those who are trying to terminate addiction’s grip on their lives and begin a new and healthier life are likely to feel a different kind of uncertainty than others. It can be difficult to take the first step toward recovery in a regular world. So, attempting to do so in a world that is plagued by chaos and “the unknown” can be even more challenging. 

This is why support and resources are so important for those in recovery. Perhaps, one might even say that these components of recovery are even more essential now than before the coronavirus pandemic struck the globe. 

Finding hope and help is absolutely necessary while in recovery. Having access to resources like those provided by Tech Together may prove to be a critical part of the recovery process, both now and in the future.

While local and federal government officials sort through the sea of unresolved issues regarding the virus, individuals around the world are simply trying to make it through another day in recovery. Fortunately, Google, Twitter, and Facebook have recognized this truth. By working together, these platforms in combination with the Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies have provided people with effective and useful solutions and tools.

Finding the Best Resources for Your Needs

No doubt, if you or someone you know needs addiction help, you are wondering if online addiction resources are really enough. This question is one that probes at the minds of many individuals seeking to recover from alcoholism or drug misuse. The truth of the matter is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to addiction treatment.

It is certainly true online resources can be both convenient and effective. It’s also true that this approach can help those who are unable to attend group meetings or find treatment services and facilities near them. But, these tools and resources are only helpful in cases where people are truly willing to end addiction in their lives.

Many people who suffer from substance use disorder may not recognize the severity of their struggle. Others may simply be unsure how or if they should even go about finding help for substance use disorders. But, by learning more about substance misuse and the available resources, individuals may become more comfortable with seeking addiction help.

If you are currently dealing with drug use or alcohol use and you’re not sure where to start, know that we are here for you! At Discovery Institute, we are dedicated to providing individuals with the tools they need to recover from addiction. Our staff is working to create a safe and secure environment, taking great care to follow the best coronavirus prevention precautions. So, please reach out to us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you find true freedom. We look forward to walking with you on this journey!

opioid addiction during coronavirus outbreak

Can Emergency Prescription Measures During COVID-19 Help Lower Addiction Rates?

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light the many inefficiencies in our healthcare system. People all over the U.S. are currently required to stay at home unless they’re going to “essential businesses,” which include grocery stores, convenience stores, banks, and pharmacies. Pharmacies are especially important because they provide people with prescriptions that help them function in their day-to-day lives.

However, federal and state laws have made access to prescriptions difficult during this time. Many prescriptions are limited to access by mail or have a cap on quantities. This can be detrimental to people recovering from an addiction, who need specific medications to stay healthy. Methadone and buprenorphine are two of these essential prescriptions. 

Patients need more immediate access to medication during the COVID-19 pandemic so that more addictions can be prevented. We’ll explain more on this below.

Current Prescription Measures

Right now, methadone and buprenorphine are controlled under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), which places tight regulations on these medications and other substances. The CSA states that methadone used to treat pain can be dispensed through a pharmacy, while methadone used to treat addiction is restricted to distribution through a methadone clinic. 

Both methadone and buprenorphine are used to treat opioid use disorder. However, these medications have restrictions because they are, in fact both opioids, which are already addictive.

In addition to the federal government, states will also have their regulations on dispensing prescriptions, and these all vary.

Currently, Medicare Part D and Advantage plans will provide a 90-day supply of prescription drugs when requested. If a patient’s access to in-network pharmacies is disrupted during COVID-19, Medicare is also required to reimburse the cost of their prescription from an out-of-network pharmacy.

How People Get Access to Prescriptions During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that people have enough medication for two weeks during the coronavirus pandemic. Although pharmacies are considered “essential businesses,” CDC regulations encourage limiting physical contact and only going out when necessary.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has also issued COVID-19 medication treatment guidelines for all kinds of prescriptions, including opioids, as well as telehealth sessions. These are extremely helpful for people recovering from addiction.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services also can relax some of the Medicare restrictions on prescriptions during the pandemic.

Some states are waiving federal regulations on prescription dispensing. For example, Indiana is letting opioid treatment facilities distribute naloxone to some patients through a lockbox to minimize physical contact during COVID-19.

Why Should People Have More Access to Prescription in Emergencies?

It’s hard enough for people to get the medication they need every day. When natural disasters or pandemics happen, medication restrictions are even tighter. During Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, a miscommunication led to patients missing treatment appointments, which put them at high risk for withdrawal and relapse.

Although we do want to prevent new cases of substance use disorder and drug addiction, especially while people are in quarantine and not working, methadone and buprenorphine are also proven to save lives. They also help people stave off drug cravings.

For patients taking methadone to treat addiction during the COVID-19 pandemic, the current prescription restrictions might not be suitable. People are encouraged to stay at home, and people who need methadone to recover will need access to their methadone clinics. If individuals miss a dose of methadone or buprenorphine, they could lapse back into substance misuse.

Addiction Treatment is Available at Discovery Institute

If you need addiction treatment during this global pandemic, Discovery Institute is here to help. We are still accepting patients who have not contracted COVID-19, and we screen all patients before they’re admitted. If you require methadone, we can direct you to a methadone clinic nearby. Contact us today to learn more about our addiction treatment programs. You can take control of your life once more and conquer your substance use disorder for good.

alcohol awareness month

Alcohol Awareness Month

With 1 in 12 Americans dealing with alcoholism or alcohol use disorder, alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in the U.S. Founded in 1987 by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), Alcohol Awareness Month (April) highlights the stigma of alcohol addiction.

Now that the world is suffering from the coronavirus epidemic, alcohol sales have risen since people are in quarantine and can’t go to bars and restaurants. In these times of uncertainty and unpredictability, alcohol awareness is more important today than ever before. Learn more about Alcohol Awareness Month in 2020, and how you can maintain recovery during the coronavirus epidemic. 

Why Do We Need Alcohol Awareness Month?

As mentioned earlier, Alcohol Awareness Month brings the stigma of alcoholism to light. Many people struggling with alcohol use disorder are in denial that they have a problem and don’t admit that they need help. Their family members and loved ones may also have difficulty addressing this uncomfortable situation. Alcohol Awareness Month provides resources to families of alcoholics so that they can get them the help they need. 

The Prevalence of Alcohol Use Disorder in the U.S By the Numbers

In 2018, more than 14 million people in the U.S. ages 18 and older suffered from alcohol use disorder. It’s also the third leading preventable cause of death in the U.S. About 88,000 people die from alcohol-related causes each year, and in 2014, deaths involving alcohol accounted for 31% of driving fatalities.

Binge drinking (five drinks for men and four drinks for women in two hours) is also a large cause of heavy alcohol use; more than 26% of people ages 18 and older reported binge drinking in the past month. In this same age group, 6.6% reported heavy drinking (binge drinking for five or more days) in the past month.

Alcohol use disorder also takes a financial toll on our country’s economy. In 2010, drinking-related costs reached almost $250 billion, and binge drinking made up three-quarters of this amount. It turns out all Americans are paying this cost, too — federal, state and local governments paid $2 of every $5 that year. Even if you don’t drink a lot, you’re paying for everyone else’s irresponsibility.

Because alcohol is legal and so widely available at restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and liquor stores, it’s easy to purchase and abuse. Its abuse potential can also be attributed to the fact that drinking has been a socially acceptable practice. This can easily be seen on TV shows, movies, and advertisements.

What to Expect During Alcohol Awareness Month

Alcohol Awareness Month gives educators and advocates a platform to share statistics on and speak about the dangers of alcohol use disorder. You’ll see how much alcohol use disorder can affect your finances, physical and mental health, current and future career, and relationships.

Earlier this month, the NCADD held the 10th annual National Drugs and Alcohol Facts Week, during which industry experts teach teens and families the myths of alcohol use disorder through educational events. 

This month, count on your local hospitals and healthcare facilities to provide resources on how to talk to your loved one about his or her alcohol use disorder, as well as risk factors for alcoholism.

Alcohol Awareness Month and Coronavirus

The coronavirus pandemic of 2020 has left many businesses closed, and concerts and sports have been canceled until further notice. On top of that, it’s also led to much higher alcohol consumption. The New York Post reported that alcoholic beverage sales in the U.S. rose 55% in the week ending March 21. Compared to this time last year, spirit sales have jumped 75%. 

Even though liquor stores have been declared essential businesses in states like New Jersey, New York, and Florida, online liquor sales have increased by 243%.

“With routines out of the window, we might well find ourselves reaching for a drink more often,” said Dr. Richard Piper of Alcohol Change UK. 

The World Health Organization has declared alcohol consumption during this lockdown to be “an unhelpful coping strategy,” and they’re right. This rise in drinking can be detrimental to people recovering from alcoholism and alcohol abuse. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism is advising people who do drink to do so moderately during this time. Men should keep their limit to two drinks per day, and women should keep to one drink per day.

During times of disaster like earthquakes, the 9/11 attacks and Hurricane Katrina and this current epidemic, it’s common for people to want to reach for a drink. However, now is the time to closely watch your alcohol consumption.

How Alcohol Affects the Immune System

Drinking too much can also affect your body’s ability to fight off infectious viruses and diseases like COVID-19. Alcohol can specifically mess with your gastrointestinal system, which contains microbes that are linked to the immune system. Although coronavirus mortality rates are mostly among seniors, young people are also at risk of contracting the disease. Almost 40% of those hospitalized in the U.S. right now range from ages 20 to 54. 

Alcoholics Anonymous Meetings Amid Coronavirus

Many Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings have become virtual in light of the coronavirus epidemic, which has already thrown people’s lives out of a normal routine. Rolling Stone reported that addiction support groups like AA are critical for addicts in their first year of recovery. However, some people suffering from alcoholism are vowing to keep going to in-person meetings as long as they can. This does pose a risk since the U.S. government and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discourage gatherings of 10 or more people.

For others who prefer to stay inside during the epidemic, virtual meetings have been lifesavers. Depression and loneliness can set in when people are forced to self-isolate, and having people to talk to right now is critical. Check the Alcoholics Anonymous website in your area to see where virtual meetings are happening.

How to Maintain Recovery During the Coronavirus Pandemic

The COVID-19 crisis is happening in the middle of Alcohol Awareness Month. It can be difficult to maintain your sobriety when you’re forced to stay inside or when you’ve lost a job. People in recovery usually depend on the company of their fellow addicts to stay clean. Boredom and self-isolation can be triggers for alcohol use disorder. In stressful and uncertain times like these, it might be tempting to reach for an alcoholic beverage. However, you shouldn’t give in to your cravings, as strong as they might be. Here are a few ways to hold on to sobriety during the coronavirus.

  • Learn a new hobby. Have you ever wanted to learn how to draw, knit or practice a dance? With YouTube, you can learn almost anything from the comfort of your home. There are plenty of hobbies you can develop that don’t involve drinking. If you have a partner or roommates, get them in on the fun, too. 
  • Join an online AA meeting. Many Alcoholics Anonymous meetings are moving online to video platforms like Zoom and Google Hangouts Meet. This can help you stay on track during recovery but letting you interact with others who are in isolation. You can see how they’re dealing with it.
  • Keep a journal of your thoughts and emotions. Since you don’t have any place to go or any immediate responsibilities, take some time to look inside yourself and write down your thoughts in a journal. What’s the point of being sober? What do you believe? By reaffirming why you stopped drinking, you’ll be more likely to avoid relapse and keep on your recovery path.
  • Work out a plan for arguments. When you are inside with your family for long periods, tensions can rise, and you’ll most likely get into fights. Have a strategy in place for moments like these, like going into separate rooms when you start to get upset.
  • Keep tabs on your friends and loved ones suffering from alcohol use disorder. Now is the time to have some meaningful conversations with your fellow friends in recovery. Give them a call, write them a letter or send them a message letting them know you’re thinking about them and that you’re around if they need anything. Even if you aren’t suffering from alcohol use disorder, you might know someone who is, and they could be having a hard time right now. 

It’s hard to maintain a routine right now. However, recovery is all about preparing for the unexpected. In times like this, when triggers can pop up at any given moment, turn to the things that give you comfort: family, friends, and inner peace.

Resources for Alcoholism Recovery

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has provided a list of online resources that you can while on lockdown. This Alcohol Awareness Month, find a resource that can help you during recovery.

Get Help for Alcoholism at Discovery Institute

Are you or a loved one suffering from alcohol use disorder? Alcohol Awareness Month can be the perfect time to evaluate your drinking. Discovery Institute can provide you with the tools and skills you need to be rid of harmful substances for good. You have the power to regain control of your life and rediscover your potential. Contact us today to speak with one of our representatives and learn about how we can help you conquer addiction.

addiction and the coronavirus

Addiction and Coronavirus

COVID-19, also known as coronavirus, is a respiratory disease that has rapidly spread across the globe over the past few months. With more than 123,000 deaths as of April 2020, it hasn’t only affected our health; it’s also undoubtedly impacted our way of life. Many stores, restaurants, and parks remain closed to “flatten the curve” and lessen the number of COVID-19 cases.

This sudden disruption of daily life can be devastating for people who are recovering from addiction, who depend on routines to stay sober. We’ll break down how COVID-19 affects addiction, as well as any virtual mental health resources that can help them during this time.

How Does COVID-19 Affect an Individual’s Body? 

In a healthy person, COVID-19 attacks the lungs by infecting cells in their lining. The first symptoms you’ll notice are a dry cough, headache, fever, shortness of breath, fatigue and muscle pain. As the virus moves from the upper respiratory tract to the lower, these symptoms will get worse. Serious COVID-19 cases can cause bronchitis or pneumonia, and sometimes even acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

When we look at how addiction impacts the body in general, it wreaks havoc on it. Addiction weakens the immune system and destroys internal organs. Methamphetamine can damage blood vessels in the brain and heart, tooth decay and respiratory problems, while excessive alcohol consumption can cause cirrhosis of the liver, brain damage and cancer. Opioid use disorder can result in pulmonary damage. Smoking marijuana can also put pressure on the lungs, weakening them.

In healthy patients, the immune system might be able to contain COVID-19 to the upper tract. However, if addiction has already affected your body, COVID-19 could do even worse damage since your immune system is weak.

How Does COVID-19 Affect Mental Health?

A sudden disruption in routine is already hard enough for healthy people, leaving them depressed, anxious and stressed. For those recovering from addiction, this change can be especially surprising and confusing. Those recovering or suffering from addiction might already deal with mood disorders, which results in co-occurring disorders. They usually self-medicate to deal with depression or bipolar disorder, and this can make their mental health symptoms worse.

People who are at a high risk of contracting COVID-19, such as healthcare workers, first responders, people with mental health issues and addicts (both current and recovering), might be more stressed about the virus.

Coping with COVID-19 and Addiction

People on the front lines of the virus can develop secondary traumatic stress (STS) during this time. Symptoms of STS include fatigue, guilt, fear, and social withdrawal.

To avoid developing STS, it’s important to do the following:

  • Avoid using alcohol, drugs or tobacco to cope with the stress of the crisis.
  • Allow time for self-care.
  • Take a break from social media and watching the news.
  • If you’re a healthcare worker, create a buddy system with a coworker to monitor stress and workload.

By maintaining healthy habits and social distancing, you can avoid contracting COVID-19 and also keep yourself from relapsing back into addiction.

Get Virtual Help for Addiction During COVID-19

Many 12-Step meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) that gather in person are moving online to free video platforms like Zoom and Google Hangouts Meet. Having virtual meetings when you can’t meet in person can help you maintain your recovery and keep a somewhat normal routine. Check the AA and NA websites for any virtual meetings that are near you.

If you’re in recovery and you regularly attend therapy, many licensed mental health counselors are holding virtual “telehealth” sessions via webcam and phone calls. Ask your therapist if he or she is offering these alternatives to in-person sessions.

The following is a shortlist of virtual resources for addiction recovery:

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has provided a full list of virtual recovery programs.

Contact Discovery for Addiction Help Today

We know this is a difficult time for you and your family, especially if you’re suffering from addiction. Discovery Institute is still accepting patients in light of the pandemic. Contact us now to peak with a representative about how you can recover from substance use disorder.

intervention during covid-19 outbreak

How to Plan an Intervention During COVID-19 Outbreak

It can be hard to confront someone about their harmful behaviors and lifestyle. So, intervening to stop addiction in a loved one’s life is definitely a challenge. It can be even more difficult to plan and hold an intervention now, during one of the most frightening times our world has seen. 

But, if you have a friend or family member who is struggling with addiction, now is actually the best time to help him or her. But, how can you plan an intervention during the COVID-19 outbreak? Allow us to help you here at Discovery Institute of New Jersey.

What is an Intervention and Why is It Important?

An intervention is a meeting that involves an individual who is suffering from addiction, some loved ones, and a professional interventionist. The purpose of this meeting is to encourage the struggling individual to seek help for substance dependence. The group usually involves close friends or family members. These individuals work together to help the person to see the importance of getting treatment for addiction.

In many cases of addiction, the person who is struggling is not aware of the impact of his or her substance use. The individual may not know just how serious the addiction is. Or, the person may not really even realize that they need help. 

In other cases, people who suffer from addiction feel uncomfortable and even angry when people address their substance use. They may become defensive or aggressive. This can lead to confrontational conversations. It can also cause people to become distant from one another, all the while, preventing individuals from getting the help that they need.

In any of these situations, an intervention may be both helpful and necessary. It can be hard for people who are struggling with substance use disorder to see the full picture. Sometimes, they may be unable to reach out for help due to the negative emotional and mental effects of addiction in their lives. 

Thankfully, interventions can work to help people find their way to freedom with a little help from their loved ones.

Identifying and Addressing Your Concerns About Interventions During COVID-19 Pandemic

Most likely, you already have some major concerns about planning an intervention. But, knowing that we are in the midst of a serious pandemic can make the idea of intervening all the more overwhelming for you. We understand that you may have some questions regarding this matter and we want to assure you by answering some questions you may have.

We spoke with Kevin Morse, Interventionist at LIFTT Confidential, and discussed these very issues.

Here is a snapshot of our discussion, and how and we’ve answered some of your questions surrounding interventions.

Is it even possible to hold an intervention now that social distancing guidelines are in place?

Yes. Here at Discovery Institute, we understand that these guidelines are in place for our protection and for the safety of those around us. So, we certainly work to carry out these recommendations while still helping the families who call on us for interventions.

Are treatment centers even open? If not, how will my loved one get help for addiction? 

Addiction recovery facilities are essential and, thus, are remaining open to help serve those in need. So, once you and your family complete the intervention process and your loved one decides to get help, know that we will be ready to help the individual begin the journey to recovery!

Even if my loved one decides to get help, how can we be sure that he or she will be safe? 

It is absolutely natural and expected to be concerned about sanitation and cleanliness in times like these. And, while our team here already works to keep our facility healthy and safe, we want you to know that we are working even harder to make sure that the building is properly cleaned. 

We also want to assure you that, when we come to help with an intervention, we will carry out the best practices for safety during this viral outbreak. This includes social distancing protocols, mask-wearing, glove-wearing, and any other practices that are necessary to keep everyone safe.

Also, we work to offer the best possible resources to ensure the safety and health of those who come to our facility. That includes providing hand sanitizer and other cleansing methods in addition to providing people with masks for protection.

What if my loved one is nervous about getting treatment?

It is very likely that your loved one will feel less than “at ease” when it comes to starting the recovery process. Beginning treatment for addiction can be a very challenging and even frightening experience for people who do not know what to expect.

This is why we work to prepare our members for the treatment process. That is especially important now that we are dealing with the impact of COVID-19. Our staff is working very hard to make sure the facility is up to par as far as the coronavirus prevention guidelines are concerned. This may mean that our team and members alike may need to wear masks or be physically distant from one another. 

Since enrolling in a treatment facility may already be challenging for some people, these preventative measures could make the process even more difficult. That’s why we work to assure individuals as they come to our facility. 

Our goal is to make the recovery as seamless and enjoyable as possible. So, we strive to prepare each individual as they begin treatment, informing them of the safety measures we’re taking here at our facility. This allows people to feel more at ease in the midst of the abnormalities and uncertainties everyone is facing right now.

Planning an Addiction Intervention During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Now that the coronavirus pandemic is causing many changes in the lives of people all around the world, addiction may become more and more evident. For instance, your young adult child who is home from college may be showing signs of alcohol dependence. But, because you weren’t able to see your child much before now, you are just realizing that this problem is present. 

Perhaps you are spending more time with a sibling now that lockdowns and social distancing protocols are causing your family to stay home. As a result of the extensive amount time you’re spending together, perhaps you’ve noticed that your brother or sister is struggling with prescription drug misuse.

Seeing these signs in your loved one’s life may be very alarming for you. But dealing with a family crisis like addiction in the midst of a worldwide problem can be very troubling and overwhelming. 

Still, it’s best to address this substance use disorder and the related issues sooner rather than later. In all truth, regardless of the news, stories, and rumors that are circulating the globe, no one is fully certain about when this pandemic will end. However, one thing is for certain: your loved one needs help right away. So, it’s best to avoid waiting until the coronavirus situation improves. Now is definitely the time to act in order to save your family member or friend from a life of addiction.

Is Now Really the Best Time for Him/Her to Seek Treatment?

Putting off treatment for addiction is never a good idea. Substance dependence can worsen over time, becoming more and more severe as time goes on. Its effects on physical health can be life-altering. Its impact on emotional and mental health can be devastating. So, it is definitely important for your friend or family member to get help immediately. 

With schedules changing and many people working less or not working at all, loneliness and idleness can settle in. This can lead to an increase in substance misuse in some people’s lives. It can also cause symptoms of depression to develop. This can worsen addiction’s effects as well.

Also, if the individual is not working much or at all, now might be the most convenient time to seek treatment. No looming responsibilities can cause the individual to feel uncomfortable about going through residential or outpatient treatment. Needless to say, this may mean that right now is, in fact, the best time for your loved one to get help!

Let Us Help You and Your Family Today!

If your friend or family member is suffering from substance dependence, you may feel helpless. Maybe you’re unsure about whether or not you can help. But, there is absolutely something you can do to help your struggling loved one. 

Here at Discovery Institute of New Jersey, our mission is to help each person who comes to our facility. We want to see every individual reach a place of peace and freedom from substance dependence. We are fully aware that this is not always easy, nor is it a quick and simple process. But, we are determined and committed to making the journey a successful one. 

If you are ready to hold an intervention to help someone get treatment for addiction, we are here for you! We can help to guide you through the planning process and carry out the intervention when the time comes. We will also provide your loved one with the best of care once they begin treatment here at our facility.

Our programs are designed to meet the specific and individual needs of our members. So, whether your loved one is suffering from alcoholism, heroin use, prescription drug misuse, or co-occurring disorders, we are here to help. 

Discovery Institute offers treatment programs such as:

We offer these programs with the intention of helping people begin building a new and healthier life for themselves. Our compassionate team of trained professionals understands the challenges that may arise on the road to recovery. So, we walk with our members, from start to finish. Rest assured that your loved one is in good hands here at our facility!

If you’re ready to help a struggling individual, just reach out to us today. We look forward to assisting you and your family throughout this time!

teen vaping

Can the New Vaping Laws Help Curb Teen Use?

E-cigarettes, or “vapes,” have become a wildly popular substitute for cigarettes in the past four years. Their dangers have become so widespread that lawmakers have passed restrictions against them. Despite this, vaping seems to be a more popular practice than ever. Why are there laws against vaping? Can the new vaping laws curb teen use? We’ll explore this and let you know all the side effects of this new practice. Learn how you can get help with your vaping habit at Discovery Institute.

What is “Vaping”?

Vaping involves the use of vaping devices, which consist of electronic cigarettes, also known as vapes, e-cigs, vape pens or hookah pens. Users inhale aerosols out of these battery-operated devices, and they usually contain nicotine and flavorings. Many vapes resemble USB sticks, although have also been designed to look like cigarettes. Over the last few years, more than 460 vaping brands have come onto the market.

There are four different parts to a vape: 

  • A power source
  • A cartridge/pod/reservoir that holds a liquid solution containing nicotine, flavoring, and other chemicals
  • A heating element, or atomizer
  • A mouthpiece for inhaling

Inhaling from the vape activates the heating device, which then vaporizes the liquid, allowing the user to inhale the aerosol and get high.

How Vaping Affects Your Brain

Vaping affects your brain in the same way that smoking cigarettes does. When you inhale the vapor, the nicotine inside it absorbs quickly into your lungs. Now that the nicotine is in your bloodstream, it stimulates glands that release adrenaline, which stimulates the central nervous system (CNS). In turn, your breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure increase. Nicotine also increases the amount of dopamine in your body, activating the brain’s reward center. 

Because you feel good when you have nicotine, you usually require more and more of it to feel that same amount of pleasure. This is why people who smoke or vape often will crave nicotine when they are stressed or upset. Some people have used vapes as a substitute for cigarettes so they can quit, but there are few studies that show whether this is effective.

Health Effects of Vaping on the Body and Brain 

Vaping increases your desire for nicotine, which is no doubt an addictive drug. Once your brain craves nicotine constantly, it may lead you to try other substances that will give you the same effect. Vaping is a relatively new trend, so there aren’t enough studies to determine exactly how healthy a habit it is.

Teens and adults who vape may think that they’re inhaling a pure vapor that gives off a clean high, but that isn’t always the case. Although recent studies have shown that vapes may be less harmful than cigarettes, others say the other chemicals inside vapes that include flavoring aren’t healthy for your body. Some e-cig brands contain carcinogens (which cause cancer), toxic metal particles, and high levels of chromium and nickel. Also in the liquid is cadmium, which can cause disease and breathing problems in heavy smokers. 

Vaping vs. Smoking Cigarettes 

Even though vaping is considered a “healthier” alternative to smoking as vapes have fewer chemicals, it doesn’t mean it’s safer. Since lungs can’t filter out toxic chemicals, the inhalation of certain vaping oils has also led to lung illnesses and even death in some smokers. As of January 2020, there have been 60 deaths related to e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury (EVALI). The main chemical of concern behind EVALI is vitamin E acetate, which is a thickening agent usually found in THC-vaping devices.

As we mentioned earlier, nicotine increases your blood pressure and adrenaline. This increases your heart rate as well as your risk for heart attack. Vaping has also been linked to cardiovascular disease and chronic lung disease and asthma. One study found that students who vape are more likely to end up suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and anxiety.

“People need to understand that e-cigarettes are potentially dangerous to your health,” said Michael Joseph Blaha, M.D., M.P.H., director of clinical research at the Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease. “You’re exposing yourself to all kinds of chemicals that we don’t yet understand and that are probably not safe.”

Vaping and Teens: Why is it So Popular?

Vaping has skyrocketed among teens and young adults, and a big reason for this is the attractive flavors available in vaping devices. Vaping is now the most common source of nicotine among young people in the U.S. E-cigarette companies like Juul, Stig and NJOY have become masters at marketing their product so that it looks attractive to teens. 

With flavors like Blazberry Cream, Cotton Candy, and Apple Cinnamon Donut, who wouldn’t want to try a vape? These along with the wide availability of vapes and the illusion of them being safer than cigarettes has caused sales to boom. 

While cartridge-based vape brands used to be more popular, disposable e-cigarettes like Puff Bar are now taking over since teens won’t have to buy new cartridges. Many young people also find the lack of smoke from vapes appealing. Cigarette smoke tends to leave an unpleasant odor on people’s clothes and in rooms, and vaping doesn’t do this. 


About 2.5 million former smokers are now using vapes. More than 5 million teens in the U.S. are vaping, and about 88 percent of high schoolers who vape regularly (about 20 to 30 times a month) were previously cigarette smokers. This is compared to about 12 percent of vapers who had never smoked before.

What Are the New Vaping Laws? 

Before 2016, vaping wasn’t given much consideration. However, now that vaping has increased exponentially, law enforcement has been looking at it much more closely. All 50 states, including New Jersey, have banned the sale of vapes to anyone under the age of 21, and several states have taken the time to define exactly what a vape is. Many states have also placed a ban on vaping in most indoor workplaces. There are also some taxes on vapes, which vary by state.

The Trump administration issued a ban on all mint and fruit flavors in vapes in 2019. In Colorado, lawmakers enacted a ban on all flavored nicotine products to curb the teen vaping rate. 

Why Is There A Need for Vaping Laws? Are They Helping?

Schools have seen huge problems with vaping among students. Many have gone to the hospital for vaping problems. Laws have been created to curb vaping because of these health issues. Lawmakers believe that by enacting laws, they will be preventing teens from using these devices. The American Medical Association has called for a ban on all vapes, but banning vaping might actually be hurting more than helping. People have restricted the use of cigarettes, but they’ve never been outright banned. The interesting part is that cigarette smoking is now at an all-time low.  

Although Juul got rid of all of its mint and fruit flavors in 2019, many brands still have these kinds of flavors available. Teenagers have also found loopholes in the Trump administration’s flavor-banning law. The law technically only applies to refillable vapes like Juuls, which is why young people are now switching to disposable vapes like those offered by Puff Bar. Puff Bar offers plenty of fruity and minty flavors. As a result, young adults are still finding and using flavored vapes.

By raising the age at which people can buy vapes, more young people may actually be encouraged to buy cigarettes. This will make the smoking rate go up, and lawmakers have tried so hard for it to go down.

Instead of simply banning vaping, the best way to convince teens to not vape may be changing the way they think about it. Vaping is considered “cool” now. For a long time, cigarette smoking was considered cool, but marketing like The Truth Campaign portrayed tobacco companies in a negative light. If teens begin to see that vaping has a negative effect on their health, they’ll be less likely to buy an e-cigarette.

Treating Your Vaping Addiction

Like cigarette smoking, vaping is addicting. If your teen is constantly craving an e-cigarette, they may have a nicotine addiction. 

Treating nicotine addiction requires therapy and a will to quit. The most effective way to quit smoking is through over-the-counter nicotine patches and gums, as well as prescription nicotine replacement methods. Your child may experience serious withdrawal symptoms if they don’t have nicotine regularly. Signs and symptoms of vaping addiction include: 

  • Sweating
  • Constipation and gas
  • Sore throat
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Weight gain
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability

It is possible to quit your nicotine addiction with plenty of dedication. 

Get Help for Vaping at Discovery Institute

Is your teen vaping constantly without any regard for the consequences of their actions? Discovery Institute can help. We can provide individual therapy, group therapy and holistic therapy that will help your child get over their vaping addiction. We put our patients’ recovery first and won’t rest until you reach your goals. Contact us today.


COVID-19: Recovering From Addiction In the Middle of a Pandemic

Truth be told, the current coronavirus pandemic is striking fear and concern in countless hearts. Its global impact is a force to be reckoned with and many individuals are unsure about what they should do during this time. The COVID-19 virus has certainly brought much unrest to homes, causing schools to close their doors and leaving many employees without work. With quarantines and curfews set in place, a lot of people are finding themselves stuck at home with very little to do. This, unfortunately, can possibly lead to some negative consequences in the lives of those who suffer from addiction.

Finding Hope in the Midst of COVID-19

Addiction treatment centers are designed to help end the personal crisis of addiction. So, whether you are looking for a residential program or telehealth advice, know that you can find exactly what you need, even in the midst of the world’s current situation. 

Of course, it’s certainly clear that coronavirus and addiction do not have a “cause and effect” connection. But it’s important to discuss the way in which this current pandemic can affect individuals who are in recovery from substance dependence.

Often, individuals who suffer from addiction struggle even more severely when experiencing difficulties or challenging situations. Stress and anxiety can lead individuals to use drugs or alcohol even more excessively. This makes treatment in the time of crisis even more valuable.

Being at home, whether alone or with others, can be difficult. Loneliness and idleness can be some very powerful enemies to those in recovery from addiction. Both of these issues can cause people to begin thinking about things they used to do in order to avoid feeling empty or even bored. Drug use or alcohol use may become prevalent thoughts in their minds.

Again, this is why it is so important to seek help for substance dependence right away. In getting help for addiction, you can also gain the skills you need in order to manage stress, anxiety, fear, loneliness and any other triggers that may lead to substance use. You will also find comfort in surrounding yourself with people who are also working toward freedom from addiction.

Social Distancing and Recovery Meetings

The idea of social distancing is undoubtedly an important one during this global pandemic. However, it may prevent people in recovery from being able to do what is necessary in order to maintain a life that is free from addiction. One of the things that often helps people to stay on track in recovery is support. Individuals often get this support from recovery group meetings. But, with the current mandates and recommendations in place, it might be both challenging and unadvisable for groups to meet. As a result of these changes, individuals may struggle to continue working toward recovery. 

However, regardless of the challenges that COVID-19 is posing to those in recovery, there is still hope for those working toward an addiction-free future. Here at Discovery Institute, we are dedicated to helping you find that hope and overcome the effects of addiction in your life.

Accessing the Resources You Need

The truth of the matter is that, despite the challenges that are present, individuals still need help overcoming addiction. Fortunately, many substance dependence treatment centers are still open and ready to care for those who are struggling. This includes our facility here at Discovery Institute. So, if you’ve been struggling with alcohol or drug dependence, know that there is no time like the present to seek help.

Addiction has a way of changing people’s lives in very negative and harmful ways. It can come between spouses. It can cause problems at work and at home. Addiction can affect people’s daily, everyday lives and eventually lead to major health complications. Perhaps you are beginning to see some of the negative effects of addiction in your own life. If so, know that there is hope for you. Choosing to get help can make all the difference in your life.

Here at our treatment facility, we offer various resources to help our members find total healing from the impact of substance dependence. Our programs include:

We are all facing a very real problem as COVID-19 poses serious threats. But, this truth should not hinder you from doing what is necessary in order to become a healthier and safer individual. While you are in the midst of change and uncertainty, you can make the choice to gain the stability and peace that come with addiction recovery.

Addressing Your Concerns About Treatment During a Pandemic

Individuals who are suffering from addiction may feel unsafe or uncomfortable while at their treatment facility. While the world is struggling with various concerns regarding the spread of coronavirus, many individuals who are away from their families and familiar surroundings may begin to feel very unsettled. But, in all truth, your treatment facility is one of the safest places for you to be at this time. 

No doubt, you went through quite a bit before you decided to reach out for help for addiction. It’s not easy to make this choice. But, fortunately, you took a step toward recovery by simply contacting us here at Discovery Institute. Now that you are on the road to a new and healthier way of life, it’s important to avoid doing anything that may be detrimental to your recovery.

Here at Discovery Institute, we are committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for each of those who come to us for treatment. In doing so, we work to offer individuals a place where they can feel at peace, even in the midst of the chaos and worry that is present in our world. 

With that being said, our team of trained professionals wants you to know that we will take the necessary precautions, both now and always, to keep you safe while you’re at our facility. Please know that, should you have any concerns, we are here to help you and your family throughout this time. Whether you are currently getting treatment here at Discovery or you have a loved one in our treatment programs, contact us to learn more about our precautionary efforts during this challenging time for our nation and our world. Above all, know that we are all working together to help end this crisis.

COVID-19 Response at Discovery Institute

Read Our Full Statement Here

Discovery Institute has implemented several new policies to ensure the safety of our clients, staff, and their families. We are still accepting new clients and all programs will continue to operate as they normally would, except for outside activities. We will proceed with extreme caution during this time of increased risk and continue to update our protocols based on the CDC standards. Our number one priority is to stay in unity and continue to help individuals find long term recovery from substance use disorder. 

The CDC’s Page on COVID-19

New Admissions

  • New admissions will be screened for the Coronavirus prior to admitting to Discovery.
  • New admissions will also undergo an additional screening process once they arrive at Discovery and will be isolated until the screening takes place.  

Visitation/Family Programs

  • Family programming and visitation will still occur during the designated times but will be conducted over HIPAA compliant video chat or through a phone call.
  • Family may drop off items, those items will be collected wearing gloves and stored for 24 hours before given to clients.
  • Family therapy sessions will be done by phone or telehealth.

Outpatient Services

  • We are providing telehealth for all outpatient services. 


  • All staff and clients who enter and exit the building will have their temperature read by touchless infrared thermometers. 
  • Clients will not attend outside meetings, nor will outside presenters be allowed to bring in meetings.
  • Any outside urgent appointments for clients must be approved by the Medical and Clinical Director.
  • Clients will be rescreened upon re-entering the facility. 
  • Any employee who displays any of the identified symptoms, specifically a fever, or has been in contact with someone who has tested positive or with someone who has been to the identified countries, must contact Human Resources and Nursing Director. 

We would like to assure you that Discovery Institute’s main mission is to provide the best possible care for our clients. We will be continuously following the most up to date COVID-19 guidelines to maximize the safety of our clients and staff. Thank you for your understanding and patience during this turbulent time. We are all in this together. 

Nick Boatman
President of The Board

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