Online counseling is not only available to people who are struggling with mental health issues, but it’s also now an option for those who struggle with addiction. With telehealth addiction treatment, your counselor will meet with you through a video conferencing software that closely resembles in-office sessions. The technology allows you to have your sessions from the comfort of your home, office, or wherever else you are able to access the internet. In addition to individual meetings with your counselor, telehealth addiction treatment can include group therapy sessions that are held through virtual meeting software. These group sessions allow you to work on recovery skills with other people who are going through the same struggles that you are.
While telehealth addiction treatment is a newer option, many providers are now offering this service as an additional way to provide patients with the help that they need. This service offers convenience for those who may struggle with scheduling, fuel costs, traffic or travel time, and other factors that make in-person therapy a challenge. The technology has also increased accessibility for those with physical disabilities, or for those who may be too sick to leave their homes.
One study that explored telehealth for substance use disorder (SUD) analyzed eight studies, responses to an online survey from 100 California-based treatment providers, and interviews with 30 treatment providers and other stakeholders. The researchers found that telehealth can be an effective form of treatment, but it is not appropriate for all patients. For example, telehealth is not ideal for crisis intervention in patients with suicidal or homicidal thoughts, which requires immediate action and face-to-face assessments. Furthermore, some patients may find it difficult to participate in a group therapy session virtually because of social anxiety or difficulty with the technology.
Another drawback of telehealth is that it may not be feasible for some patient populations, such as those with limited phone or internet connectivity or who live in remote areas without easy access to services. This is because the technology depends on reliable and consistent internet access to function properly. Additionally, telehealth is not the best option for individuals who cannot participate in their treatment programs due to housing instability or financial problems.
Despite the drawbacks of telehealth, it remains an important tool for many people who are struggling with mental health issues and addiction. It is an important option for people who do not have the time or ability to attend in-person sessions, but it can also be a good way to maintain your progress in recovery after you transition from inpatient care to outpatient therapy. The technology will only continue to improve, making it an even more valuable tool for those working towards addiction recovery.