Virtual help available for those battling addictions during coronavirus pandemic

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Those battling addictions are feeling the effects of the virus. Experts say isolation has been tough for those going through recovery.

"At NAMI we deal with all types of addictions, meth is probably the first contributor and alcohol is probably the second," said Stephanie Appleby.

Stephanie Appleby works for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, also known as NAMI.

Appleby says, right now, their offices are closed because of the virus, causing struggles for those battling addiction.

"We have lost a lot of touch with some of the clients that we see on a daily basis that we help through the day and coming to our agency was one of their coping skills," said Appleby.

She says the fear associated with the virus can drive people to a whole new level of anxiety.

"There is nothing else left to occupy your mind, and when you sit and you have time to think, again it's that idle time, your mind may revert back to old ways and you want to feel good and you want to feel better so a lot of these folks are used to turning to drugs and alcohol to feeling better," said Appleby.

Appleby says NAMI is offering virtual meetings to help anyone trying to recover.

She says more than 10 people a day are logging on each day.

"You can chose to be anonymous and have your camera off or not speak or be on mute," said Appleby.

"We are reaching out to some of our patients two or three times a week just to make sure they have adequate support," said Tressa Moyle.

Tressa Moyle with the CoxHealth Center for Addictions says they have also turned virtual.

Moyle says they are providing in-person services on an emergency basis.

"If we really had somebody that we felt needed to really come in or needed some medical intervention or stabilization we are still able to do that," said Moyle.

And for those who are caring for loved ones who are battling an addiction, Moyle says communication is key right now.

"One of the biggest things is to be understanding that this is going to be a difficult time, to recognize behaviors might change and anxiety is very high right now," said Moyle.

"This is a temporary thing and we will all get through it together and don't make permanent decisions for a temporary problem," said Appleby.

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