COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) - As the number of COVID-19 cases in southern Colorado continues to rise and unemployment claims skyrocket, NewsChannel 13 talked to a local addiction counselor to find out how this is affecting the population of recovering addicts here in El Paso County.
In years past, El Paso County has had more overdose deaths than any other county in Colorado -- showing just how prevalent substance abuse is in the area.
Harbor House Clinic, a certified addiction-counseling center, supports hundreds of people here in Colorado Springs struggling with addiction.
"We haven’t seen face-to-face with our clients now in over a month," said Beth Roalstad, the clinic's Executive Director.
Roalstad tells KRDO that while tele-health options have been a godsend with the stay-at-home order, they don't provide the same human connection people need during such a hard time.
With unemployment numbers rising, studies show losing your job makes you much more likely to abuse illegal drugs and twice as likely to abuse alcohol.
"We know financial stress can contribute to poor mental health risk for substance use," Roalstad said.
When you’re stuck inside, Roalstad says it's easy to steer off the straight and narrow.
"The problem is, once you give into one craving, it's really hard not to repeat that pattern and just go downhill really quickly," she explained.
Roalstad says that keeping busy and having something predictable you can depend on is the best way to crush those cravings.
"Do some journaling or do some breathing exercises. All of the little things that you can do to nurture yourself would be a positive step," she said.
Roalstad gave us a few more helpful tips for when you feel those cravings kick in: take a bath, light a candle, cook your favorite meal, go for a walk, or if you have a pet -- take some time cuddle with your furry friend.