North Texas rehab centers seeing drastic increase in patients during COVID-19 pandemic

A drug and alcohol rehab center in Grand Prairie has seen a drastic increase in patients recently.

Greenhouse Treatment Center officials said there is a direct correlation between the COVID-19 pandemic and the current increase in patients.

Most are dealing with alcohol addiction, but others with substance-use disorder.

Greenhouse Treatment Center typically serves about 100 patients, but within a two-week timeframe that jumped to 175.

That was shortly after the stay-at-home began.

“You’ve got people that often times were able to hold it together during the day. They work, do things with the family, so on, and they just maybe drink at night. Well now, they’re put in a situation where they don’t have skills to deal with the amount of time they have on their hands. And if they are already teetering on the edge with their alcohol use, it’s even increased tenfold,” said Todd Garlington, lead therapist at Greenhouse Treatment Center.

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Right now, all outpatient care is offered through video conferencing.

The center has had to hire about a dozen employees to keep up with the influx of patients.

A large portion are referrals from area hospitals, since bed space is needed to care for COVID-19 patients.

Those dealing with an alcohol or substance-use disorder need to be medically detoxed.

“When they come in for services, they get an assessment to see where they are medically, make sure they meet the right criteria. The reason for that is alcohol, in particular, as opposed to some of the other drugs, can be very deadly when you’re detoxing on it. People can have seizures, strokes, heart attacks... it’s very, very dangerous," Garlington explained.

This week, the World Health Organization put out a statement reminding people that drinking alcohol does not protect them from COVID-19.

"Unfortunately, we do know [alcohol] is not great for your immune system, and again it also set you up for many other conditions like diabetes, heart disease, liver disease, you name it. it’s not great in large quantities," Dr. Arielle Levitan, co-founder of Vous Vitamin.

The Greenhouse Treatment Center said now is the time to help people find out their underlying issues and give them the coping skills they need to recover.

“It’s a hard decision sometimes, I mean, you’re leaving family, friends behind to do this. But it’s like I always tell them, this is probably the most right decision you’ll ever make in your life,” Garlington said.

The Grand Prairie center is still offering inpatient care during this time, which includes therapy groups and psychiatry sessions.

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