Telehealth combines alcohol addiction treatment with online, mobile convenience.
Because of COVID-19 concerns, many people haveto learn and practice new online technologies. The new tech includes group phone calls and virtual group meetings, to maintain social distancing while keeping everyone in contact. What if these same tools could start your alcohol addiction recovery?
It turns out, they can through telehealth (also called telemedicine, ehealth and mhealth). Telehealth, which the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation defines as “the clinical use of technology” for health purposes, can suit alcohol recovery. We’ve explained many alcohol addiction treatment formats, including inpatient, outpatient and medically-assisted programs. Now let’s look at how telehealth in its different forms fits alcohol addiction recovery.
But remember: telehealth for alcohol rehab provides many of the same treatment tools as in-person alcohol addiction treatment, just through a different format.
Telehealth Formats for Alcohol Recovery
Phone-Based Recovery Telehealth
Because smartphones are relatively common, telehealth options through calling, texting and videoconference are convenient ways to access addiction treatment. These phone-based service can help you contact a doctor, counselor or nurse, but their conversational avenue means that larger, more in-depth processes like rehab intake and medical assessment likely won’t happen over the phone.
This communication (virtual conversation through cameras and microphones – Zoom, Skype and Facetime are examples) also gives access to counselors, doctors and peers also in alcohol recovery. While videoconference doesn’t fully recreate in-person cognitive behavioral therapy or peer therapy groups, it can give you real-time access to the professional help you’d receive in person through an inpatient or outpatient alcohol rehab program.
Calling and Texting
We don’t have to explain how calls and texts work. But in service of alcohol addiction treatment, calls and texts can become easier access to addiction professionals and peers in recovery. You can receive text reminders from a counselor. Or you can call up someone else in your same recovery program for recovery accountability.
Another smart phone tool for alcohol recovery is an alcohol recovery app. Apps can provide a wider amount of resources: daily meditations, educational materials on things like alcohol withdrawal and relapse, tools to log and track your recovery behavior, companion texts for the 12 Steps, and live online recovery meetings. In fact, In The Rooms will release its own redesigned app to give anyone access to recovery community, online recovery meetings and recovery content. The point of the new app, like most alcohol recovery apps, is to give you recovery support any time, any place.
Web-Based Recovery Telehealth
Alongside phone-based recovery telehealth, you can also find online recovery programs to begin and sustain your alcohol recovery. An online alcohol recovery program can equip you with the same tools which an in-person program provides. There may be many options online, but take care to choose carefully. Like you’d choose an alcohol rehab center, you should also choose an evidence-based online recovery program.
In The Rooms can recommend two online programs which provide trustworthy, effective alcohol recovery for patients.
This online recovery program, available for purchase and designed by pyschiatrist Dr. Daniel Hochman, suits patients’ convenience, but it also maintains a clinical basis. “New habits take about 90 days to form,” says Dr. Hochman, “and so Self Recovery takes about three months to complete.” You choose your own pace of completion, though the features (five-to-ten minute learning modules, weekly online recovery meetings) remain available whenever you need them. “You can go back and revisit lessons – the format lets people be efficient with their time.”
Self Recovery also includes interpersonal connection for addiction recovery. Dr. Hochman explains, “The irony is that, while you’re online, you can include your spouse, family and friends in the program. That way, you can all learn together.” Feel free to learn more about Self Recovery, or to visit its FAQ page to answer your questions.
Two addiction researchers, Dr. Kitty Harris and Dr. Jared Dempsey, designed RecoverOnline as an accessible addiction recovery program based in scientific evidence. Although it’s online, the two experts made sure to keep high-quality standards: “We started by saying, ‘Everything we do has to be be proven by science to be effective,'” says Dr. Dempsey.
The online tools serve three strategies: cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing and mindfulness. “Those three techniques have been validated as effective in treating addiction,” says Dr. Dempsey. “RecoverOnline does those three things in sequence. The first week covers cognitive behavioral techniques, the second moves into motivation and the third and fourth weeks blend motivation and mindfulness.”
What do these proven addiction strategies look like for the person taking RecoverOnline? Tests to mark your progress, online therapy sessions with your counselor, interactive learning videos, and other resources (12 Step education and recovery testimonies). If you’d like to learn more, check out RecoverOnline and determine if it can help start your alcohol addiction recovery.
Alcohol Addiction Treatment through Telehealth: Next Steps
You should make sure to learn more about telehealth strategies for alcohol addiction. You can find telehealth resources, but they aren’t as common as many in-person alcohol rehab programs. After all, acceptance of new technologies usually takes time for many fields, and addiction medicine is no exception. However, Addiction Center and the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation have each pointed out the benefits of wider telehealth use. The American Society of Addiction Medicine even advocates reasonable adoption of telehealth for more-accessible addiction treatment.
But if you’d like to learn more about alcohol addiction and alcohol recovery, start with our “Getting Started” content at In The Rooms. We offer online recovery meetings with free membership, and you can even search our alcohol rehab directory to find the right treatment option for you. Why not join for free today?
“Using Telehealth for Addiction Treatment” – Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation
“12 Steps Companion AA Big Book” – App Store
“Home Page” – Self Recovery
“Got Questions? We’ve Got Answers” – Self Recovery
“The Future of Addiction Treatment” – RecoverOnline
“Telemedicine and Addiction Treatment” – Addiction Center
“Telemedicine and Addiction Medicine” – American Society of Addiction Medicine