Thanks to advances in technology, telehealth has become a common and effective way to access addiction treatment. Behavioral health experts, doctors, and nurses can now conduct health assessments virtually, and in person-meetings can take place anywhere there’s a reliable internet connection. Counselors can even host digital therapy sessions. With telehealth, healthcare providers can also consult with you, educate you, and share health information with you through smartphones, computers, tablets, and other digital devices. Here’s what you need to know about telehealth and how technology can help you access the addiction treatment and medical support you need.
What Is Telehealth?
Telehealth, sometimes called telemedicine, is the use of digital devices and telecommunications technology to access healthcare services remotely. Telehealth can be especially useful when you and your care team can’t be in the same place at the same time. With a phone or internet-enabled device, telehealth can help you:
- Receive care without driving to a hospital, clinic, or treatment center
- Talk to your doctor or other healthcare professionals on the phone or on video
- Send and receive text messages or emails from your care team
- Check-in with your care team while you’re at home, work, or school
- Receive guidance from medical personnel while using devices that gather your heartbeat and other vitals
- Upload your blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and medications you’re taking for review
- See test results, schedule appointments, or email your care team
The goal of telehealth is to make healthcare readily accessible to everyone. Telehealth also aims to:
- Make healthcare more readily available or convenient for people with limited time, transportation, or mobility
- Improve communication between you and your healthcare team
- Provide remote and long-distance access to medical and behavioral health specialists
- Encourage you to manage certain aspects of their healthcare and provide support as you do so
How Does Telehealth Work With Substance Abuse Treatment?
Most people know that telehealth can be used to manage chronic conditions like diabetes, physical ailments such as injuries, and mental health challenges like depression or anxiety. But telemedicine can also be used to diagnose and treat substance use disorders. In fact, telehealth and addiction treatment work well together. Telehealth services can be used for several different levels of addiction and substance use treatment.
Some of the most commonly used telemedicine services for substance abuse include:
- Computerized screenings and assessments. Doctors, nurses, and psychologists can conduct live tests and evaluations over the internet. Medical staff can also schedule a virtual appointment to gather your medical and family history.
- Telehealth-based recovery support. You can also attend peer support group meetings over the phone or internet.
- Telehealth therapy. Counselors, therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists can conduct appointments over smartphones and the internet. Like in-person meetings, these sessions can help you identify and resolve issues, emotions, thoughts, and behaviors that can disrupt or hinder the recovery process.
Even though telehealth is different than traditional forms of addiction treatment, research shows that many recovering individuals appreciate telehealth services and want more access to technology in their recovery. A recent study revealed that:
- More than 40% of people receiving substance abuse treatment wish they used a mobile app as part of their treatment plan but only about 5% currently do.
- 70% of recovering individuals would like to receive appointment reminders via text although only about 13% do.
- More than 53% of people in recovery want to receive supportive text messages but only 7% of people enrolled in addiction treatment programs do.
If you haven’t experienced a computerized assessment, online addiction counseling, or telephone-based recovery support, you may be surprised to learn about the many ways telehealth services can help you begin and maintain addiction treatment.
Benefits of Telehealth Drug Rehab Services
When you first begin looking for ways to stop addictive habits, you may not know where to begin. You may want help but worry about maintaining your privacy. Or perhaps you need focused care but may not have the time. You may be motivated to get sober for your family but may be conflicted about leaving them for rehab. Telehealth can help you find, receive, and maintain effective, professional addiction treatment. Here’s how.
- Telehealth allows you to talk to medical professionals privately. If you’re not sure what to do about your alcohol or drug use, telehealth allows you to schedule a private virtual appointment with a primary care physician or counselor. They can help connect you with a local rehabilitation facility that fits your needs. They can also assess your health and vitals. Telehealth also allows you to send confidential messages back and forth with medical professionals, which can provide valuable information about finding treatment for you, a family member, or a friend.
- Addiction programs can use telehealth programs to provide recovery services. Once you’re enrolled in an addiction treatment program, your treatment team can use telehealth services to help you recover. Video therapy sessions can help you heal from trauma, regulate emotions, reframe harmful thoughts, manage stress, and develop healthy coping skills. Support groups and messages can combat isolation and encourage a sense of community. Mobile recovery apps can help you connect with other people in recovery. Whether you choose to enroll in an online recovery program or recover at a rehab center that uses certain aspects of digital technology, telehealth services can be an effective, convenient way to receive professional addiction treatment.
- Text messages, digital check-ins, and virtual peer support groups can keep you motivated. Telehealth services can also help you stay motivated during and after treatment. Encouraging text messages can support you when you’re down. Digital check-ins can help hold you accountable. Virtual peer support groups can remind you that you’re not alone and inspire you to keep going. Should you relapse, receiving supportive text messages and digital check-ins can help you get back on track. In today’s fast-paced world, text messages, video chats, and online recovery groups can be a convenient and effective form of aftercare support.
Flexible, Convenient, and Effective Addiction Treatment
Here at Meta Addiction Treatment, we believe that addiction treatment should be flexible, convenient, and effective. Telehealth services can be especially beneficial for outpatient addiction programs like ours here. Like outpatient treatment, telehealth services are:
Rehabilitating your life after addiction can be difficult, but flexible treatment options like outpatient programs and telehealth services can help make long-term recovery more accessible and attainable. Contact us today to learn more about our flexible, convenient, and effective treatment programs.