Good addiction treatment and recovery resources are not always available in all areas, particularly in those places that are far from urban settings. Although bigger cities may have better alcohol or drug rehab programs, this does not mean that a recovering addict will be willing to go far from home for treatment. This is especially true for those who do not need inpatient care. Telehealth has greatly improved addiction treatment in these rural areas, and here is why this program is so important.
Rural Areas Have Fewer Resources
Unfortunately, the fact that rural areas have fewer resources than urban cities is a reality. This can make the decision to seek addiction treatment even more daunting and scary, which often makes fewer addicts willing to seek help. Those who do not require in-patient alcohol or drug rehab care may not need to leave the comfort of their homes, however. It also allows those in recovery to continue on with their daily lives and stay close to their support system.
What is Telehealth
Telehealth connects patients with doctors and therapists over the internet. This can be over video calls, over the phone, or via email or messaging. The mode of communication is typically chosen by the patient based on what they are comfortable with. This makes recovering addicts much more likely to seek and receive treatment, which has greatly improved the rate of addiction treatment in these rural areas.
How Does It Improve Addiction Treatment?
Telehealth improves addiction treatment in several ways, and it changes numerous elements of addiction treatment for recovering addicts living in rural settings. Here are some of the ways that telehealth has revolutionized rural addiction treatment and recovery.
Continued Recovery After Inpatient Care: In some cases, an alcohol or drug detox involves withdrawal symptoms that are too life-threatening to experience outside of a medical setting. Unfortunately, these individuals will need to go to a rehab program for initial addiction treatment. Treatment will need to go past this though. This is where telehealth comes in to make the process much easier and more successful. Continued therapy and care after rehab reduces the chances of a relapse taking place, but rural areas may not have these things available. However, telehealth allows this treatment to take place remotely, so recovering addicts can go back to living their daily lives.
Outpatient Care: For those who can expect alcohol or drug detoxes that are low risk, inpatient addiction treatment is not necessary. However, rural parts of the US might not have outpatient rehab programs available. Telehealth connects recovering addicts with this crucial resource.
It Improves Therapy: As mentioned before, addiction treatment needs to continue after the alcohol or drug detox in order to be successful. This can potentially improve multiple types of therapy such as addiction, clinical, behavioral, and trauma-based therapy. Oftentimes recovering addicts will require more than one type of therapy to be fully treated, and telehealth makes this part of addiction treatment much easier for everyone. In addition, it makes going back into this type of treatment much easier. Sometimes people feel as if they do not need therapy for a while, but later on in life something happens and they can benefit from therapy again. Telehealth makes these resources much more accessible for rural residents.
Online Support Groups: The populations of rural communities can be very small, so support groups may or may not meet in these areas. Like attending therapy, joining a support group can make addiction recovery go more smoothly. Connecting with others that have gone through similar experiences can make recovering addicts feel less lonely and isolated in their addiction treatment. This reduces the chances of a relapse and often improves the general well being of many people in treatment and recovery. Luckily, we live during a time where we can connect to others in this way virtually over the internet.
It Can Reduce Certain Risks: During times where we are very conscious about limiting the spread of potentially deadly infectious diseases, telehealth also provides an outlet for safe treatment. Those early into addiction treatment frequently have weakened immune systems, so receiving treatment virtually may be the safest option for recovering addicts during disease outbreaks. Similarly, this is also the case for those with autoimmune disease and other immune system weakening factors such as HIV or cancer. Telehealth may also be beneficial for those with loved ones with these conditions as well.
Telehealth has done wonders for rural addiction treatment in several ways. It makes resources like outpatient alcohol and drug rehab programs, various types of therapy, and support groups much more accessible to recovering addicts living in rural parts of the world. This kind of remote virtual addiction treatment greatly impacts the success rates of addiction recovery overall. This greatly impacts the success rates of addiction treatment and recovery as a whole.