Expert Pitch
West Virginia University

Addiction studies expert addresses the effects of social distancing on individuals in recovery

26-Mar-2020 12:15 PM EDT, by West Virginia University

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - The effects of social distancing and self-quarantine are weighing on all Americans, but a WVU expert in addiction studies suggests that individuals with substance use disorders who are in the recovery process may be more vulnerable to feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Frankie Tack, clinical assistant professor and addiction studies minor coordinator at the West Virginia University College of Education and Human Services says that among the key tools for individuals in recovery, especially those in the early stages of the journey, are forming connections and establishing community. These tools are difficult to employ during a pandemic.

“Isolation tends to be a feature of addiction,” Tack said. “The isolating environment created by social distancing can create triggers for individuals who remember days at home alone when they used drugs.”

Tack adds that other features of self-quarantine and social distancing, including boredom, decreased accountability and negative emotional states can also create triggers that can lead to the resumption of substance use.

“Negative emotional states are the biggest collective source of triggers for resuming substance use, and people in recovery often confuse emotional states with cravings,” Tack said. “We are all experiencing feelings of fear, anxiety, anger and hopelessness, and we worry about individuals in recovery, especially those who are early in the process, who may be experiencing some or all of these emotions as a result of the pandemic. They may feel like they have taken important steps in recovery and are now losing control.”

Since many recovery programs include peer support components that are enhanced by personal interactions, individuals in recovery may have decreased accountability and support in the current climate.

“Peer support has accountability built in,” Tack said. “Individuals in recovery are typically surrounded by people who know about their recovery and can provide them feedback if they appear to be abandoning their recovery plans. While virtual connections are still possible, it’s hard to beat face-to-face interaction.”

Despite these challenges, Tack sees great resilience in the recovery community. “Virtual support of all types is springing up and people are being very creative in meeting their recovery management needs,” Tack said.

Most importantly, Tack urges individuals who want to start their recovery journeys not to allow the pandemic to prevent them from seeking help.

“Don’t let this virus keep you from seeking recovery,” Tack said. “If now is your moment, seize it and don’t wait.”



Call 1-855-WVU-NEWS for the latest West Virginia University news and information from WVUToday.

Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.

Filters close

Showing results

110 of 2523
Released: 10-Jul-2020 11:50 AM EDT
COVID-19 Can Be Transmitted in the Womb, Reports Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal
Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins

A baby girl in Texas – born prematurely to a mother with COVID-19 – is the strongest evidence to date that intrauterine (in the womb) transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) can occur, reports The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, the official journal of The European Society for Paediatric Infectious Diseases. The journal is published in the Lippincott portfolio by Wolters Kluwer.

Released: 10-Jul-2020 9:45 AM EDT
How COVID-19 Shifted Inpatient Imaging Utilization
Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute

As medical resources shifted away from elective and non-urgent procedures toward emergent and critical care of COVID-19 patients, departments were forced to reconfigure their personnel and resources. In particular, many Radiology practices rescheduled non-urgent and routine imaging according to recommendations from the American College of Radiology (ACR). This new Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute study, published online in the Journal of American College of Radiology (JACR), evaluates the change in the inpatient imaging volumes and composition mix during the COVID-19 pandemic within a large healthcare system.

access_time Embargo lifts in 2 days
Embargo will expire: 12-Jul-2020 7:00 PM EDT Released to reporters: 10-Jul-2020 9:00 AM EDT

A reporter's PressPass is required to access this story until the embargo expires on 12-Jul-2020 7:00 PM EDT The Newswise PressPass gives verified journalists access to embargoed stories. Please log in to complete a presspass application. If you have not yet registered, please Register. When you fill out the registration form, please identify yourself as a reporter in order to advance to the presspass application form.

Released: 10-Jul-2020 9:00 AM EDT
Team is first in Texas to investigate convalescent plasma for prevention of COVID-19 onset and progression
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

A research team is the first in Texas to investigate whether plasma from COVID-19 survivors can be used in outpatient settings to prevent the onset and progression of the virus in two new clinical trials at UTHealth.

Newswise: Commentary in Pediatrics: Children Don’t Transmit Covid-19, Schools Should Reopen in Fall
7-Jul-2020 3:00 PM EDT
Commentary in Pediatrics: Children Don’t Transmit Covid-19, Schools Should Reopen in Fall
University of Vermont

Based on one new and three recent studies, the authors of this commentary in Pediatrics conclude that children rarely transmit Covid-19, either among themselves or to adults. The authors recommend that schools reopen in the fall, since staying home can adversely affects children's development.

Newswise: Team Sports Risks Go Well Beyond Injury During the Pandemic
Released: 9-Jul-2020 6:25 PM EDT
Team Sports Risks Go Well Beyond Injury During the Pandemic
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Health Sciences

Annabelle de St. Maurice, MD, MPH, co-chief infection prevention officer for UCLA Health, speaks on The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's guide for youth sports to resume.

Newswise: shutterstock_1658523400-300x300.jpg
Released: 9-Jul-2020 3:40 PM EDT
WashU Expert: America gains nothing by leaving WHO
Washington University in St. Louis

President Donald Trump’s recent announcement to suspend U.S. funding to, and withdraw from, the World Health Organization is “counter to our interests in addressing our needs to save the lives and further the health of Americans, as well as an abandonment of America’s position as a global leader,” says the director of Washington University in St.

Released: 9-Jul-2020 2:15 PM EDT
NFHS-AMSSM Guidance for Assessing Cardiac Issues in High School Student-Athletes with COVID-19 Infection
American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM)

An expert medical task force appointed by the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) and National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) has issued guidance for assessing potential cardiac issues in high school student-athletes with COVID-19 infection.

Showing results

110 of 2523