Concern for substance abuse heading into the holidays

Local News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The isolation brought on by the pandemic is the last thing people struggling with substance abuse need, according to Joel Yager, the Director of Clinical Services for Huther Doyle – an addiction treatment center in Rochester.

“They normally drink by themselves at home, they begin to isolate for whatever reason, remove themselves from other social supports like their families,” he said.

Attorney Derek Andrews with Nave Firm says a lot of people entered the pandemic sober, but fell into problems again as they faced COVID-19 related stress.

“There was an increase of a number of clients who, coming into the pandemic were sober, kicked whatever problems they had … All of the financial and other struggles people experienced, have caused some people to relapse,” he said.

But Yager says there’s a silver lining. While most of his services have been virtual, there’s less intimidation when it comes to reaching out for help.

“What’s very interesting too, is clients open up even more over the phone than if they are with other people. So treatment hasn’t stopped, it’s increased the amount of people coming to our service,” he said. “We are getting a lot more people because we provide the services right away, patients immediately reached out to us.”

The adjustment to more clients over virtual visits hasn’t posed many challenges.

“We have been able to adjust very quickly to the behavioral needs for our clients.”

He says if this change can bring more opportunities to help during these times – it’s a good thing.

Yager says if you or loved ones are struggling with mental health this holiday season – consider changing up your routine, getting out of your living space for a walk or a run – and never hesitate to reach out for help when you need it.

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