As the pandemic continues well into 2021, the surge for mental health services and psychologists heightens. Depression and anxiety are not the only issues people are facing.

Three months into – slow the curve – an increase of 13% of people admitted to using substances to alleviate their emotions related to the daunting pandemic of Covid-19. This trend in increasing use of substances can be seen throughout 2020 and now well into 2021. A report in December 2020 described more than 40 states who showed an increase of mortality rates due to opioid overdoses.

Mandy Owens, a clinical psychologist for the University of Washington noticed an uptick in her home state of Washington for those who use substances; stating that if a person cannot get ahold of their typical drug, they opt for ones laced with fentanyl. Through examination and scientific observations, experts have agreed that pandemic-related strains, from economic stress and isolation to general apprehension about the virus, are a major driver for the increase of these overdoses and opioid abuse.

Advances in telehealth and virtual meetings have made the ability to seek treatment easier. Telemedicine has been made more readily available through insurances. Groups like Alcoholics Anonymous or even Narcotics Anonymous have meetings virtually. Clinicians can even prescribe buprenorphine for opioid abuse through telehealth without an in-person examination or having the patient come in to an office every day for a pill.

Even with these positive advances in telemedicine and virtual meetings it is important to be ever vigilant and seek help when emotions become too overwhelming. The staff here at Inner Circle Billing urges those to avidly seek treatment.