How Telemedicine Can Help Patients Fight Addiction

Addiction can be an insidious and challenging thing to treat. Many addicts are hesitant to get treatment, or are unable to because of a lack of access to treatment facilities or specialists, or because of a lack of funds to pay for their treatment. However, more steps are being taken so that patients are able to use telemedicine to access effective, high-quality addiction treatments.

Telemedicine is the usage of technology to aid in the health care process. Whether it is video chats between a doctor and their patient for management of symptoms, or frequent email check-ins instead of in-person doctor’s office visits, telemedicine is helping to revolutionize the way patients communicate with their health care providers. With addiction treatment, individuals can take advantage of more personalized and frequent care from addiction specialists, physicians, and counselors to help with their ability to achieve and maintain sobriety.

Here’s a look at some ways that addiction patients can benefit from using telemedicine.

Easy access to interventional measures

One of the most important steps in the process of addiction treatment is to get the person to admit they need help. Counselors or physicians can have discussions with their patients through online video chats to help facilitate interventions and encourage the patient to seek proper treatment. Interventional measures can ensure that more patients are able to start the process of fighting their addictions, and telemedicine options make this step more convenient and simple than traditional in-person interventions.

Get help even if they live in remote areas

Many individuals who live in remote areas are unable to access appropriate help for their addictions. Telemedicine options can bring some treatment elements straight to the person’s home. This means that even patients who don’t have immediate access to top-notch treatment facilities can still access high-quality care, no matter where they’re located.


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Seeking treatment for addiction can be a stressful experience, but thankfully telemedicine can make things a lot easier.

Access to addiction specialists

The recovery process for those suffering from addiction can be a challenging and arduous journey. Individuals have a better shot at maintaining sobriety if they have access to counselors or physicians who specialize in addiction treatment. With telemedicine options like video chats or email communications, patients can easily access the very best and most well-respected specialists in the field, with the hope of obtaining recovery in a more supported and guided atmosphere.

Finding online support groups or in-person meetings

Telemedicine options use technology to develop stronger and more effective recovery methods. Patients can use the internet to locate in-person meetings near them if they would like to attend support groups (like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous). If individuals are uncomfortable seeking in-person help or are unable to get transportation to a meeting, they can also use the internet to connect with online support groups. These groups can be really helpful in encouraging sober lifestyles and helping patients interact with other individuals who are having similar experiences and struggles. There are even apps patients can download on their smartphones that can assist in promoting sobriety and help track progress of the individual’s recovery.

Provides privacy

Addicts who need help might be hesitant to seek treatment if they’re worried about friends, family, or co-workers finding out about their addiction. With telemedicine, patients can seek help from the privacy of their own homes, so they never have to worry about running into people they know when they visit a doctor or therapist’s office. This element of telemedicine is essential, because this privacy might mean that more patients can get the help they need without worrying about the stigma of being discovered seeking treatment for addiction.

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Through telemedicine, people struggling with addiction can get the treatment and support they need.

More affordable addiction treatment options

Telemedicine also has the great benefit of being cheaper than most in-person doctor’s appointments or therapy sessions. Virtual appointments can help the patient save money, since they don’t have to pay the same doctor’s office fees they would if they were seeing a doctor in person. Additionally, to visit an in-person specialist or counselor, individuals are often faced with paying for transportation, parking fees, etc. With telemedicine options, patients can skip extra fees and can save money instantly – which can be crucial for patients who might have limited funds during their recovery process.

Can view progress reports/updates

Telemedicine can also streamline the process of addiction treatment by allowing health care providers to connect directly with their patients – any time, any place. Providers can check in with their patients frequently to monitor progress and receive updates on how their patient is doing. This process is more convenient for both the patient and the provider, who doesn’t have to schedule in-person meetings. These check-ins can also benefit the patient’s progress by allowing them to be held accountable with frequent communication with members of their treatment team. This accountability and constant contact can result in a better shot at achieving and maintaining sobriety for the patient.

Telemedicine is changing the world of health care, and these changes are also evident in the treatment of addiction. With major benefits for both the patient and the provider, telemedicine can definitely help make the road to sobriety a smoother one.

How to Use Telemedicine to Cope with a National Tragedy

Many tragic events have occurred recently in the United States. Whether we are facing a brutal natural disaster (like Hurricane Harvey or the fires in California) or a devastating school shooting (like the one in Parkland, Florida), it has become crucial for us as a nation to reach out for help and support during the aftermath of these types of horrific events. While some people tend to isolate after traumatic events, the increase in telemedicine options is actually starting to allow more individuals to get easy access to support. If you’ve been struggling with complicated emotions due to a national tragedy, here are some suggestions on how you can use telemedicine to get help.

Find a safe space

Your first step should always to be to determine your parameters for feeling safe. If you come up with a list ahead of time of things (or people or places) that make you feel protected, you can start getting support from others. Feeling safer might mean that you get off social media and begin to connect more with people in your day-to-day life. It can also mean that you figure out which people in your life are the most supportive during a difficult time.

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Using telemedicine and the online space can help you to connect with others and work through your emotions after a tragedy.

Get online support from peers

One of the most healing things you can do is to talk about your experience and your feelings. The Internet has allowed us to connect more easily with others (despite our location or proximity to the event). So, you can gain a lot of support from going online and joining support groups. These groups (which are usually free to join) can give you an outlet to express how you’re doing and help you to connect with others about their feelings. This connection can help you feel less isolated and can help remind you that you aren’t the only one feeling distressed.

You can do an online search for support groups that apply to your situation, or you can ask your health care team or insurance provider if they’re able to provide information to connect you with a support group. There are also many Facebook groups that can be helpful if you’re just looking for a forum to connect to people struggling with the same issues as you. It can be extremely therapeutic to share your story with others – or just to be the one on the other side lending your support to those in need. The best guideline is just to remember to take a break if you’re feeling overwhelmed; then you can come back to the discussion boards or chat rooms when you’re feeling more centered.

Take a break from media consumption

It’s great if you’re using the Internet and telemedicine to help you cope with a national tragedy. However, if you’re getting bombarded by news stories and images about the tragedy, you could end up feeling even more traumatized. Try setting boundaries for yourself if you notice you’re getting overwhelmed or are emotionally drained. You can even try setting time limits for yourself (like only 30 minutes of media consumption a day, for example). You can get the online support you need during this time, but then you can allow yourself to turn to other social activities, work, or fun distractions to help get your mind away from the tragedy. Self-care is so critical in times of stress, so make sure you’re not letting yourself get carried away with the news coverage of the event or constant posts on your social media newsfeed.

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Telemedicine allows you to seek counseling and support from the comfort of your own home.

Find support

One of the most significant ways you can use telemedicine to get help is to connect with a mental health professional. While support from friends and family can be helpful, sometimes you might require care from a professional in the field to really get a handle on your emotions or symptoms. Because telemedicine allows you to have video chats or connect through email, you can get instant access to a professional who can come up with a plan to help you manage your feelings.

There are also many benefits to using telemedicine for mental health care instead of visiting someone in person. For example, it’s often cheaper because you don’t have added office visit fees, and it’s more convenient because you don’t have to leave your home, find transportation, or waste time making a trip to an office. Instead, you can get counseling or therapy all from the comfort of your home. If you’re apprehensive about seeking help, telemedicine can give you some peace of mind since you can conduct all of your appointments in a place that feels safest to you. Plus, mental health professionals that work through telemedicine can still promise you the utmost privacy and confidentiality.

Use apps to monitor feelings

Another telemedicine option is to use an app to help keep track of your symptoms. After a traumatic event (especially one on a national scale), you can start to notice that you’re feeling more stressed, anxious, sad, or hopeless. By using an app (like ReallifeChange or iMoodJournal), you can track your moods to see how you’re doing. This can be a helpful way to see if you need to reach out for more support or make an appointment with a mental health professional. You can also use apps for guided meditations and breathing exercises to help you feel more grounded and centered while you’re coping with a traumatic event.

National tragedies are, sadly, becoming increasingly common events. If you’re needing support, you can use these tips and telemedicine options to help get you through a difficult and challenging time.

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