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Recovering from addiction during a time of uncertainty and social distancing

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Published: April 03, 2020

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Comments

Howard J. Shaffer, PhD, CAS
April 16, 2020

Comment 2: Between the physical back and leg pain and the increase in anxiety what do you do? Prozac, Tylenol and Advil do help, but the pain is overwhelming for this senior.

The pain symptoms you are experiencing can derive from many different sources. Certain drugs can contribute to muscle pain and cramps — during both use (e.g., statins) or withdrawal (e.g., opioids). Please remember that withdrawal from certain drugs can be dangerous. A careful plan for detoxification should be prepared for you by your doctor if that is your goal. It would be wrong for us to diagnose you from a brief comment. However, we do suggest that you contact your primary care provider to evaluate this situation. Once evaluated, your doctor might suggest a pain management program. Such a program should consider the value of and a plan for pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatment alternatives including exercise, meditation and relaxation activities. Each of these activities should help to reduce anxiety and pain.

Howard J. Shaffer, PhD, CAS
April 16, 2020

Comment 1: Can you explain what “escape and avoidance skills” means; what the skills are and when to use them?

Escape and avoidance skills are the activities that people with addiction use to manage risky situations – circumstances that can trigger addiction-related behavior (Marlatt & Gordon, 1985). These skills are diverse. Sometimes, people with addiction unexpectedly find themselves in risky situations. These situations test resilience by challenging the effectiveness of different escape skills. For example, people with addiction learn to (1) identify situations where drug use is likely and then (2) escape these conditions despite pressure from family or friends to be involved. With escape skills, people learn how to leave a gathering without insulting their host or social network. After developing effective escape skills, people with addiction then learn to avoid getting into risky situations in the first place. They learn to decline invitations that place them in risky situations. They learn to avoid socializing with risky social networks. Ultimately, they learn to avoid entering risky social situations. Some drinkers learn to have “sparkling cider” or something similar at hand to avoid having to explain their sobriety: others rarely ask what a bubbly beverage is, making it easier to avoid social pressures to drink. Often thought of as a relapse prevention skill, recovering people also can use these and many other escape and avoidance skills during the earlier phases of quitting and recovery.

Robert J Bohnert
April 14, 2020

Hi. Escape and avoidance are exactly that. How to escape a situation that places us into an environment that promotes usage, and how to avoid it in the first place. Avoidance should come first. This means don’t be around people , places or things that trigger our addiction. People we used with, the places we did it. Stay away from them! Very hard, I know! Escape is anything you can use to get away from the situation. My name is Robert and I’m an alcoholic. Have been for over 30 years. Addiction is the same, whatever we’re. using.

Sara Nida
April 13, 2020

Between the physical back and leg pain and the increase in anxiety what do you do? Prozac, Tylenol and Advil do help, but the pain is overwhelming for this senior

Monteze Snyder
April 13, 2020

We could use some links to online recovery meetings.

Steven
April 13, 2020

Thanks for addressing this!

Can you explain what “escape and avoidance skills” means; what the skills are; and when to use them?

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