Telehealth is quickly becoming a realistic option for addiction treatment. The current pandemic has limited many people’s access to addiction treatment. This makes telehealth a reasonable choice for those who need help with substance use disorders. However, this problem isn’t new. Treatment options in rural or low socio-economic areas have long been a problem. Telehealth might be the needed solution. If you’re ready to get treatment for your addiction, please contact our team today at 866.957.7885.
Former Barriers to Telehealth Addiction Treatment
There are several former barriers to telehealth addiction treatment that have recently been removed, at least temporarily. The most notable is the Ryan Haight Act, which prevents prescribers from writing prescriptions for controlled medications for patients without an inpatient visit. This included opiate addiction medications like buprenorphine. The government has slightly relaxed these regulations so that doctors can provide needed addiction treatment during the pandemic. Insurance companies have also improved their telehealth policies, providing coverage for many telehealth services that they didn’t cover previously.
Telehealth Is As Effective as In-Person Treatment
Telehealth has been shown to be just as effective as an in-person treatment for many conditions, including addiction treatment and psychological therapy for conditions like anxiety and depression. It gives addiction treatment facilities a broader reach in two ways. First, it allows them to treat those that may not be able to travel to the facility for treatment. Second, it doesn’t limit treatment to the number of physically available spaces. Increased capacity gives facilities the opportunity to offer help to more individuals.
Telehealth also provides unique benefits. These include:
- Removes barriers to treatment like transportation and location
- Is more convenient for the client, making them more likely to stick with the program
- Allows access to a wide range of professionals
- Clients can be more comfortable speaking and interacting virtually
What Are Your Telehealth Treatment Options?
Outpatient, intensive outpatient, and partial hospitalization programs can all be conducted virtually. Providers can also prescribe addiction treatment medications through telehealth. Detox is often the most dangerous time for clients. Inpatient detox treatment was considered the norm, even if the patient went on to complete an outpatient program once they were physically stable.
However, telemedicine can provide a safe way for those with a mild-to-moderate addiction to detox from the comfort of their home. Peripheral devices can be used to monitor blood pressure, oxygen levels, and pulse rate. These can either be reported to the treating physician periodically or sent automatically via a wireless connection. Addiction treatment medications can be provided via a prescription, and the client can be closely monitored.
One area of telehealth that is becoming much more popular is virtual therapy sessions. Treatment centers often conduct them over video chat. They can be one on one or group chats, similar to in-person meetings. Addiction education and counseling can also be provided virtually through video chats and virtual lessons. Some clients say they find it easier to open up to others when chatting virtually vs. in-person meetings.
Telehealth Treatment Limitations
Telehealth does have some limitations. It does not replace a support system of family and friends. Virtual interaction can sometimes lack the warmth of physical interaction, so it’s important to maintain an in-person support network during recovery.
The second limitation is that telehealth addiction treatment can not replace residential therapy. Those who need residential therapy need the safety of a supervised, controlled environment free from the temptations of the outside world. It can be an excellent tool for transitioning from residential care to an IOP or POP program, but it is not ideal for those who genuinely need residential care.
Lastly, it is not for those who need closely supervised medical detox services. This includes people with severe addictions, previous history of dangerous withdrawal symptoms, or those with underlying health conditions that put them at greater risk.
Telehealth Treatment at San Antonio Recovery Center
Telehealth treatment is one of the many options we offer for San Antonio, Texas substance abuse treatment at San Antonio Recovery Center. There are many reasons to see if telehealth treatment might be right for you. If you are struggling with an addiction, don’t wait. Contact us today at 866.957.7885 to learn more.