Today’s world looks starkly different than it ever has before in modern times. From race wars and political unrest to a constantly surging pandemic, the American people are facing challenges to their mental, emotional, and physical health like they never have before. And in this time of great uncertainty and challenge, more people that usual are in dire need of addiction recovery.
A survey conducted by the Recovery Village found that since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, rates of substance abuse have increased significantly because of the effects it is having on the country. Some of their most notable findings include the following:
- 55% of participants reported an increase in past-month alcohol abuse
- 18% of participants reported a severe increase in past-month alcohol abuse
- 36% of participants reported an increase in illicit drug use within the past month
Interestingly enough, of those participants who found themselves increasing their drug and alcohol consumption as of late, the majority of them reported doing so for the following reasons:
- Attempting to cope with stress (53%)
- Relieving boredom (39%)
- Trying to cope with symptoms of mental illness (32%)
As we move forward in a fresh new year, many of the same challenges still plague the hundreds of millions of people living in the United States. And while everything has seemingly changed overnight, one thing remains the same (if not better) — access to addiction treatment for recovery purposes.
What is Telemedicine?
With the greatest obstacle being finding ways to still live as normally as possible at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, most everything has needed to change. This includes how people in need of addiction treatment and recovery services obtain the help they need. Thankfully, telemedicine is readily available.
So, what exactly is telemedicine? In short, telemedicine is the ability to provide medical and mental health services via the phone or internet. For example, someone who is having cold symptoms may speak with their healthcare provider via a communications platform like Zoom or Skype rather than going into the office and potentially spreading germs. The same services are available for people who need to obtain and maintain their addiction recovery so that they can keep getting the help they need without putting their lives and the lives of others at risk. People in recovery can utilize telemedicine to speak with their therapist, psychologist, primary care physician, and other addiction specialists.
Telemedicine in Addiction Recovery
Addiction recovery looks different for everyone, as each person has their own unique set of needs. And while usually those needs are met via different levels of programming, things have changed dramatically within the past year. This means that those who may have participated in in-person sessions for their addiction recovery are no longer able to do so. But, as with most other healthcare services, people can take to their phones and computers to get the help they need.
If you are looking to work on your addiction recovery at this time, you can do so via telemedicine. What this may mean for you is that instead of meeting up with others to address your needs, you will do it from the comfort of your own home. While some services (such as detox) cannot be performed over the internet, many can, including the following:
- Individual therapy sessions
- Group therapy sessions
- Support group meetings such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotic Anonymous (NA)
- Regular wellness check-ins
- Doctor’s appointments
- Prescriber appointments
Learning how to cope with uncertainties is a major part of addiction recovery, pandemic or not. However at this time, trying to develop these skills can feel like one big crash course. Thankfully, when you utilize the tools given to you via telemedicine, you can continue setting and meeting your goals in recovery.
Pros and Cons of Telemedicine for Addiction Recovery
No matter how much effort you put in to making the best of things during this time, it is also perfectly acceptable to be frustrated or even angry at the many changes you have had to make. But, staying upset will not do anything but add more to an already inescapable burden. When it comes to your addiction recovery, you can benefit from putting in as much effort as possible despite how hard it might be.
When you choose to make do with what you have available to you, you can benefit from telemedicine in several different ways, such as:
- Having easier access to addiction specialists
- Being able to attend a virtual meeting when it fits best in your schedule
- Avoiding the fear of stigma that you may have surrounding your addiction
- Engaging in more frequent online therapy sessions
Above all else, telemedicine in addiction recovery is as beneficial as it is because it still allows those in need of help the ability to get it, regardless of if they are able to leave their home or not.
Of course, telemedicine is simply a replacement for in-person care. And while we are lucky to have that option, it doesn’t come without a cost. Some of the cons associated with telemedicine for addiction recovery include:
- Lack of personal interaction that could otherwise help develop and strengthen interpersonal bonds
- Inability to benefit from recovering at a treatment center either daily or several times a week
- Does not provide the hands-on care required for those who need significant addiction treatment services, such as those who would require inpatient treatment
There are pros and cons to everything that you do. At this time, however, it is up to you to make the best out of your own personal situation. Telemedicine is there and available to you so that you can still work on your recovery from addiction, even if it is not how you imagined it.
Do You Need Help Maintaining Your Recovery? Are You Looking to End Your Substance Abuse For Good? Call Us Right Now.
No matter what is going on in the world, allowing an active addiction to continue can lead to a fatal ending. Getting help as quickly as possible for a substance use disorder is critical to help prevent death and/or other long-term consequences.
If you are struggling right now, reach out to us. We understand the challenges that you are facing and can help you get through them.
So, do not wait. Call us right now to learn more about how we can help you.