Are Drug Rehabs Using Telehealth for Addiction Treatment?

According to a 2018 study published by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an annual nationwide survey detailing the use of legal and illegal drugs, along with mental health disorders, conducted by the United States federal government, more than 13 million Americans adults age 26 and over reported struggling with a substance abuse problem in 2017. To further put this into perspective, the study noted that an estimated 74 percent of American adults admitted to having an alcohol use disorder (AUD). And 38 percent of those surveyed admitted to routinely abusing illicit drugs, such as heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamines, for example.

It is worth noting that America’s collective struggle when it comes to substance abuse does not end there. According to the same study published by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in 2017, 1 in 8 American adults reported battling a co-occurring disorder involving the use of alcohol and one or more illicit substances. All in all, substance abuse is taking a toll on countless lives while costing the country upwards of $740 billion each year in terms of lost productivity in the workplace as well as healthcare and crime-related expenditures.

Fortunately, many Americans are choosing to put addiction behind them and improve their lives for the better. And to improve their chances of achieving sobriety, many are turning to rehab facilities that offer telemedicine for help.

How Many Rehab Facilities Offer Substance Abuse Treatments via Telemedicine?

Of the more than 14,000 licensed rehab facilities interspersed across America, a significant number of them have started offering addiction recovery services via telemedicine. For those who might not be familiar with telemedicine, it entails administering health-related services as well as information through the use of electronic information and telecommunication technologies.

Although telemedicine in terms of traditional healthcare has been around for a while now, it is fairly new when it comes to addiction recovery treatments. Nonetheless, it has been gaining a lot of attention lately. And there are several reasons why this is the case, one of them being the global coronavirus pandemic, which is forcing people all across the nation to self-quarantine. Some individuals also struggle with debilitating anxiety, which can make receiving in-person addiction recovery treatments at a rehab facility a challenging proposition.

What to Expect When Receiving Substance Abuse Treatments via Telemedicine

Something to note when it comes to telemedicine for addiction recovery is that this approach is not too dissimilar from that of conventional, in-person treatments at a licensed rehab facility. Except for medication-assisted detox, those who choose telemedicine to overcome addiction are provided with access to support groups, addiction counseling, physicians, addiction education, and other resources that can make breaking the cycle of addiction possible from the comfort of one’s home. Some of the more common telemedicine addiction recovery treatments are administered via the following:

Mobile apps – Considering the ubiquity of smartphones, it is not too surprising to find that many rehab facilities are providing addiction recovery services by way of mobile apps. According to a study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), an app that is known as A-CHESS (Addiction Comprehensive Health Enhancement Support System) was found to be effective in helping individuals either drink less or abstain from alcohol entirely.

Texting – Similar to A-CHESS, texting is an approach to telemedicine that allows individuals to access treatment from their smartphones. Texting enables individuals to quickly communicate with physicians, therapists, and other addiction experts who can provide them with information on how to cope with and avoid triggers that could lead to them using again.

It is important to note that the approach to telemedicine can vary depending on the severity of one’s addiction. That said, telemedicine addiction recovery treatments can also include one or more of the following:

  • Web-based treatment support
  • Videoconferencing
  • Virtual reality
  • Telephone-based support

Bottom Line

Thanks to modern-day technology, telemedicine is making it possible for individuals who are struggling with addiction to receive the help that they need through devices that they already own, namely smartphones, tablets, and laptops. And based on current data, this approach to addiction recovery has already helped countless people turn their lives around. To learn more about telemedicine or to start treatments, consider speaking with one of our addiction experts today at 772-266-5320.

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