For many people in recovery from alcohol addiction, counseling services and alcohol support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous are an important part of maintaining long-term sobriety. These programs provide people with a sense of structure, routine and community in recovery, which often helps reduce the chances of a relapse. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult for many of these organizations to hold in-person meetings.
Fortunately, many South Florida counseling clinics are transitioning to easy-to-access teletherapy services that can be conducted in the comfort of one’s home. The same is true for 12-step support groups, who use platforms like Zoom to hold online group meetings each week.
Stress surrounding the coronavirus pandemic has created an even greater need for accessible online mental health services in Florida. According to a recent survey by The Recovery Village, 44% of respondents reported an increase in past-month alcohol use, while 18% reported a significant increase. Additionally, 78% reported that the pandemic has impacted their mental health, with 35% reporting a significant impact. Of the participants, 60% reported that these mental health concerns were not present before the pandemic.
Factors Leading to Increase in Alcohol Intake
Several factors may have influenced the reported increase in alcohol use. Working from home, social distancing guidelines and gathering restrictions have led many to feel isolated. Others have been furloughed or laid off entirely, which can easily cause financial stress and anxiety. Others fear themselves or loved ones getting sick during the pandemic. Boredom also plays a role: most recreational activities and social events have closed, canceled or postponed.
Feelings of stress, anxiety, depression and boredom can easily lead to substance abuse. Some South Florida alcohol rehab and mental health facilities have closed or limited services to protect their patients’ safety. While in-person options are still available for those in need, teletherapy options have grown immensely to fill the gap.
Accessing Teletherapy for Yourself
Online therapy platforms like Talkspace have been growing in popularity, and these services often accept insurance from many providers. However, not all teletherapy services are designed with addiction treatment in mind. The Recovery Village Telehealth app is focused on treating substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health conditions. Our professional addiction counselors and therapists can prescribe medication, provide life-changing therapies and conduct individual and group sessions.
For those looking to continue attending support groups, organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and SMART Recovery have moved to virtual services like In The Rooms to continue online meetings. The Recovery Village also offers free, confidential meeting rooms through our online recovery chat rooms, which allow recovery groups to meet in an easy-to-use online space.
If you’re looking for telehealth or in-person options for addiction treatment, The Recovery Village at Baptist Health is here to help. Contact us today to learn more about addiction treatment options that can work well for your needs.
Ovalle, David. “For Miami alcohol and drug addicts, recovery is tough enough. Then came the coronavirus.” Miami Herald, March 29, 2020. Accessed September 1, 2020.
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. “Director’s Blog: Alcohol poses different challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic.” Accessed September 1, 2020.
The Recovery Village. “South Florida Residents Experiencing Coronavirus Anxiety” As Pandemic Lingers On” Accessed September 1, 2020