Addiction, also known as substance use disorder (SUD), is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a chronic, relapsing brain disorder. It is characterized by compulsively engaging in rewarding stimuli despite adverse consequences. An individual that struggles with addiction will prioritize satisfying his or her drug cravings above all else, which can cause an array of unwanted (e.g., physiological, social, emotional, financial, occupational, etc.) outcomes. The general treatment process for addiction is often comprised of the following three stages in sequential order: detox, a substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment program, and aftercare. Data from 2022 presented by the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, indicate that addiction affects over 20 million Americans aged 12 and older. If left untreated addiction can lead to severe short- and long-term consequences.
What Is Telehealth?
Telehealth, or telemedicine, is an expanding healthcare service that allows medical professionals to care for patients remotely. Mental health treatment that is delivered through this method is commonly referred to online therapy, online counseling, or telemental health, and has become rather noteworthy in the mental health provider landscape. It is specifically defined as “the use of telecommunications or videoconferencing technology to provide mental health services.” Verywell Mind further explains that online treatment relies on communicating via email, real-time instant messaging, mobile device apps, video conferencing, text-based chats, and telephone. The psychotherapeutic techniques that work for traditional, in-person counseling can also be used online with equal success when treating certain conditions.
Is It Effective?
The short answer as to whether telehealth addiction treatment is effective is yes, sometimes it can be. However, everyone is unique with nuanced needs and distinct preferences. Additionally, there is no known universal treatment method that proves successful for every person struggling with substance abuse and/ or addiction. Nevertheless, seven out of the eight published studies that compared addiction treatment via telehealth with in-person treatment, found telehealth treatment as effective but not more effective than in-person treatment in terms of retention, therapeutic alliance, and substance use. New data suggests that providing virtual addiction treatment may increase patient engagement by improving access and convenience. However, additional research is required to confirm this benefit. While some individuals may find virtual addiction treatment unhelpful, telehealth addiction treatment may resonate more than traditional in-person treatment options for others. The recovery process is entirely personal, and it will be directly informed by one’s personality, mental health, and emotional needs.
For Information and Support
If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one regarding substance abuse and/ or addiction, we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. If left untreated, substance abuse can result in long lasting and potentially life-threatening consequences. Keep in mind: you are not alone! There is an entire network of professionals that are available to help and support you and your loved one throughout the recovery process. The earlier you seek support, the sooner your loved one can return to a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.
Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions regarding our specific program at Haven House Addiction Treatment and/ or general substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment related information. Our highly trained staff is readily available to discuss how we might best be able to help you and your loved one. We can be reached by phone at 424-258-6792. You are also welcomed to contact anytime us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.