Texas State University

People with substance abuse among the most vulnerable during pandemic

9-Apr-2020 1:25 PM EDT, by Texas State University

Newswise — As the COVID-19 pandemic has rattled routines for both urban and rural residents, one group is fighting to gain ground while facing widespread shelter-in-place directives.

Dr. Ron Williams, Jr., associate professor in Texas State University’s Department of Health and Human Performance, is keeping a close eye on how the pandemic affects people who suffer from substance abuse disorders. “People who deal with substance disorders are definitely among a vulnerable group,” Williams said. “Cardio and respiratory issues are common issues for smokers who have some respiratory damage. People who use methamphetamine also have respiratory co-morbidity.”

One situation that often exacerbates many substance abuse issues is social isolation. “Social isolation is difficult on people in recovery,” Williams said. “For a lot of people, social isolation was linked to substance abuse before the pandemic. We are likely to see an increase in substance use disorders. Are people going to have access to the same healthcare services?”

 As people cope with social isolation, the development of smartphones, social media platforms and other communication avenues during the last decade have helped lessen the impact of isolation. “That is definitely a benefit of the time we are living in,” Williams said. “You can eliminate social isolation to a degree. A lot of local places are offering online group sessions. Social support is quite often an overlooked issue. Social support often becomes an important influence on recovery.”

Trying to gauge the pandemic's impact on sufferers of substance use disorder, the population as a whole and the healthcare system is a long-term proposition. “I don't know that we will know the impact for months or years,” Williams said. “As we have seen with every major economic downturn over history, they tend to lead to an increase in substance use as a coping mechanism.”

Much of Williams' research has to do with behavior. One of his current research interests is seeing the impact on people with substance use disorder who test positive for COVID-19. Is there going to be a higher mortality rate? “I don't think we have dealt with anything close to this,” Williams said.

One challenge within recovery involves trying to maintain a routine. As those daily routines have been turned upside down, Texas State faculty members have aimed to keep continuity in instruction through various methods – including mentoring each other when possible. “A lot of colleagues and I have moved classes and shared resources,” Williams said. “Teachers who have experience doing distance education are helping those who do not. Everyone is reacting on the fly.”

That has included spring university ceremonies being canceled and spring graduates being afforded the chance to participate in August commencement ceremonies. “It's challenging,” Williams said. “It's the new normal. My colleagues and I get frustrated. But we are not doing this for us. We are doing it for our students and their next steps. These are the cards we have been dealt.”

As sufferers of substance use disorder access telemedicine and other remote health resource options, Williams advises individuals and family members to keep tabs on insurance company policies connected to what is covered via treatment options and what is not. 

Within the scheduling and treatment adjustments, there is an obstacle that substance use disorder sufferers may continue to face: the stigma sometimes attached to treatment. “One of the things people in recovery deal with is the stigma of being in recovery,” Williams said. “That will be one of the issues going forward. “Is there going to be a stigma? Are they going to be able to receive compassionate care?”




Filters close

Showing results

110 of 3327
Newswise: How to Keep Children Safe from COVID-19 this Fall
Released: 18-Sep-2020 4:15 PM EDT
How to Keep Children Safe from COVID-19 this Fall
Rush University Medical Center

With the new school year started and autumn approaching, Colleen Nash, MD, MPH, Rush University Medical Center, pediatric infectious disease specialist, answers questions parents may have about keeping children safe from COVID, social distancing in the classroom and celebrating Halloween.

Released: 18-Sep-2020 4:05 PM EDT
Claims circulating on social media stating that the common cold or flu can be mistaken for COVID-19 are misleading
Newswise

The claims rely on the faulty assumption that there is no method to distinguish COVID-19 from the common cold and the flu.

Released: 18-Sep-2020 3:35 PM EDT
After developing CRISPR test, UConn researchers validate clinical feasibility for COVID-19 testing
University of Connecticut

In March, researchers in the Department of Biomedical Engineering-- a shared department in the schools of Dental Medicine, Medicine, and Engineering--began to develop a new, low-cost, CRISPR-based diagnostic platform to detect infectious diseases, including HIV virus, the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2).

Newswise:Video Embedded blowin-in-the-wind
VIDEO
Released: 18-Sep-2020 3:10 PM EDT
Blowin' in the wind
University of Utah

University of Utah chemical engineers have conducted an air flow study of the venue that the Utah Symphony performs in to determine the best ways to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 through the emissions of wind instrument players.

Newswise: holman1_toned-1-768x512.jpg
Released: 18-Sep-2020 2:50 PM EDT
Study links rising stress, depression in U.S. to pandemic-related losses, media consumption
University of California, Irvine

Irvine, Calif., Sept. 18, 2020 – Experiencing multiple stressors triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic – such as unemployment – and COVID-19-related media consumption are directly linked to rising acute stress and depressive symptoms across the U.S., according to a groundbreaking University of California, Irvine study. The report appears in Science Advances, published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Newswise: 243389_web.jpg
Released: 18-Sep-2020 10:55 AM EDT
Potential new drug to mitigate SARS-CoV-2 infection consequences
University of Malaga

Scientists from the Department of Cell Biology of the University of Malaga (UMA) and the Andalusian Centre for Nanomedicine and Biotechnology (BIONAND) have made progress in finding new rapid implementation therapies to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, identifying a new drug that could prevent or mitigate the consequences derived from SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Newswise: 243400_web.jpg
Released: 18-Sep-2020 10:40 AM EDT
Most homemade masks are doing a great job, even when we sneeze, study finds
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Studies indicate that homemade masks help combat the spread of viruses like COVID-19 when combined with frequent hand-washing and physical distancing.

access_time Embargo lifts in 2 days
Embargo will expire: 23-Sep-2020 8:00 AM EDT Released to reporters: 18-Sep-2020 10:00 AM EDT

A reporter's PressPass is required to access this story until the embargo expires on 23-Sep-2020 8:00 AM 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: 18-Sep-2020 8:30 AM EDT
Immunotherapy Drug Development Pipeline Continues Significant Growth in 2020 Despite Global Pandemic Impact
Cancer Research Institute

Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic across the globe, there has been a resurgence of interest in immuno-oncology (I-O) preclinical and clinical development, bringing hope to cancer patients and physicians who treat them.


Showing results

110 of 3327

close
0.88288