Response to “The Other Pandemic: Addiction”


To the Editor: Normally I would skip the editorial; however, the title “The Other Pandemic: Addiction” caught my eye (Fed Pract. 2020;37[10]:440-441). This will, of course, require me going in for eye care in the next couple of days, but my concerns are low. After all, the hook you used wasn’t that big.

Bravo! Your choice to focus on the effects of isolation was a masterful touch. I started skimming with the assumption that you would say something along the lines of ‘COVID bad, everybody depressed, blah, blah.’ But you cut into the abscess of the issue cleanly, exposing the core—isolation “amplifies negative thoughts, dysphoria, and fearful emotions.” A deadly combination for our patients and ourselves.

I have been a physician assistant in the US Army, and as a civilian at Brooke Army Medical Center and US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Puget Sound Health Care System. One thing I have seen throughout that time was the effects of isolation on the active duty enlisted young, and even more so on retired older warriors. Throughout the time of our military service, we transfer to many places and make a lot of friends, but more so, we lose track of them over time.

I have cared for many older warriors who cannot get something as simple as a colonoscopy because they do not have someone to drive them home after they have been sedated. Family and friends were scattered over the country, or the world. At the VA, many older warriors come not just for an appointment, but also as a time to socialize and ‘BS’ with those who understand them.

One goal I set for myself many years ago was to have the warrior laughing before they left my office. If I did that, I knew I had made a difference. Thank you for your editorial.

Anthony J Passaniti, PA, USA (ret) [email protected]

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