Psychologist: Free support groups; advice for patients on medications

By Sandra Hutchinson, Chronicle Chief Operating Officer

Many people on mental health medications are now hesitant to go to a pharmacy to pick up their prescriptions for fear of contracting the coronavirus, said Glens Falls psychologist Dr. Gina Scarano-Osika, who contacted The Chronicle.

She said it can lead to increased depression and anxiety and, in some cases, relapse on substances like alcohol and drugs. Additionally, she says, suddenly stopping some medications can result in serious side effects.

Dr. Scarano-Osika suggests that anyone with a concern call their pharmacist or health care provider and ask questions about what they can do to reduce the risk of transmission.

She said it’s possible for the primary care provider to switch the prescription to a mail order service, even if temporarily, after determining that the health insurance will still provide coverage. Also, some pharmacies offer home delivery.

Dr. Scarano-Osika said people struggling with social isolation and anxiety during the Covid-19 crisis can “reach out for support.”

She said her practice is offering four new remote support groups available for free to anyone who needs the help, even if they are not patients of her practice.

    The groups are focused on:

  • eating disorders
  • relapse prevention
  • parental support (for parents who have children home and are struggling to take on new roles)
  • coping skills (to help people who might have issues like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or are overly anxious).

Dr. Scarano-Osika said people can call her office, 518-745-0079 or 518-744-7978, to seek help, ask questions, or learn how to join one of the support groups. She adds that this is a particularly difficult time for people who suffer from anxiety and OCD.

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