coronavirus

‘You’re Not Alone’: South Florida Rehab Facilities Dealing With Isolation Issues

Centers have made changes in part due to rules put in place because of the crisis

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For those who battle drug and alcohol addiction, experts say social distancing doesn’t mix well with rehabilitation efforts.

“I have people who have been ‘triggered.’ They are struggling with high levels of anxiety and they’re also falling into depression,” said Sarah Sanders, an outreach worker dealing with patients battling addictions.

Sanders works at a facility that has seen an increase in issues due in part to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’ve dealt with suicide and people writing out a plan of how they’re going to do it,” she told NBC 6’s Stephanie Bertini. “They write ‘if this isolation lasts another two weeks, this is what I’m going to do if I don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel’.”

Centers have made changes in part due to rules put in place because of the crisis.

“We suspended all outside activities, all community support efforts during these activities,” said Stephanie Catalano, the clinical director at Agape. “We’ve been practicing social distancing and educating clients on COVID-19.”

Even though they are doing everything they can to keep clients on track, the isolation they are facing during the pandemic can be hard to manage.

“The lack of human interaction, the lack of contact, not being around your support group is taking its told on the community,” said Diego Giraldo, an outreach worker with Agape.

Giraldo has been in recovery for five years and knows the dangers of a potential relapse.

“You’re not alone,” he said would be his message to clients.

Officials say they have seen an increase in patients during the recent coronavirus crisis and expect the numbers to rise in the coming weeks.

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