Online alcohol abuse counseling confirms that new developments in technology and telehealth can showcase addiction treatment efficacy for some.
Alcohol addiction treatment modalities are evolving as science acquires a new understanding of alcohol use disorder (AUD). Before, it was long believed that a magic bullet could be identified and used to treat all forms of substance addiction. However, new insight shows that the one size fits all form of alcohol and drug treatment is ineffective and, in many ways, a disservice to those who need care. Our unique experiences, lineage, and environments lend themselves to all of life’s complex decision making – good and bad. Addiction is hardly an exception.
There’s a prevalent barrier to accessibility in substance rehabilitation pronounced by the time and cost associated with traditional recovery programs. Drug epidemics and a worldwide pandemic have accelerated the demand for telemedicine to treat alcohol abuse and substance addiction. Learn more about online alcohol abuse counseling and how it works below.
Rise in Telemedicine for Addiction Treatment
Nationwide, overdose deaths have been climbing over the past year, putting 2020 on track to be one of the deadliest yet for drug overdoses. In May 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted an 18% increase in overdose deaths over the previous 12-month period.
In the wake of a global pandemic, those suffering from mental health concerns and substance use disorders (SUD) are particularly vulnerable to the ongoing isolation and long bouts of treatment facility closures. Fortunately, the addiction treatment industry – showcasing its moment of true resiliency – quickly pivoted toward online options for addiction treatment.
Allowing treatment providers to counsel clients over the phone has inadvertently addressed a pre-pandemic addiction treatment concern: barriers to rehab programs can be alleviated through a simplified connection.
A survey conducted by researchers at Brown University found that people in treatment for alcohol and drug addiction said they preferred talking to their counselors by phone rather than in person. Additionally, more than 90% of the surveyed clients said that online alcohol abuse counseling and drug addiction therapy was not only easier but more useful than in-person counseling.
How Does Online Alcohol Abuse Counseling Work?
Previous research has shown that people often fail to seek help with alcohol abuse due to issues associated with fear of recovery, plus the cost and time required. Also, there’s an incredible amount of stigma and, consequently, shame associated with alcohol dependency.
According to the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), there are 14.1 million adults ages 18 and older living with AUD. Only about 8% received treatment. Online alcohol abuse counseling can offer a more affordable option with minimum disruption to life commitments and routines.
So how does online alcohol abuse counseling work? Online addiction treatment addresses substance abuse similarly to in-person programs. Given the prevalence of drinking in society, virtual substance counseling can combat the progressive nature of alcohol abuse.
Online Therapy Options
There are several different online therapy options available for addiction treatment. A few include:
Therapist-led online therapy: Licensed therapists can use online video, phone calls, email, and chat to meet with clients virtually. Using various HIPAA compliant tools such as VSee, Doxy.me, or Zoom, therapists can conduct formal sessions with clients in a similar fashion as in-person.
Web-assisted therapy: This treatment approach utilizes mobile apps or online therapy websites to help guide clients through sessions or activities. It may incorporate computerized assessments.
Technology-supplemented therapy: As the name would imply, this process combines traditional face-to-face therapy with technology such as text messaging, phone calls, and video chats.
While the evidence is still being collected, online counseling’s overall positive results further verify that virtual processes are needed to expand the reach of care. However, every program should offer a customized approach to fit clients’ needs. The method that works best depends on various factors, including the severity of alcohol abuse or AUD symptoms. For example, those that require supervised medical detox or hospitalization would not be suited for online alcohol abuse counseling.
Treatment Methods for Online Addiction Therapy
Traditional addiction treatment combines therapy that addresses specific substance use as well as individual and group counseling. In addition, conventional rehab programs integrate various other modalities such as:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
- Trauma-focused therapy
Online therapy doesn’t differ all that much. Some evidence-based therapeutic approaches are easier to adapt to online formats than others, such as:
Cognitive-behavioral therapy: this approach is used most often and focuses on helping clients recognize and avoid negative thoughts and actions. CBT may be used to help people learn how to identify relapse triggers that lead to substance cravings.
Motivational interviewing: this approach can work easily in an online format. In this technique, licensed clinicians lead collaborative and structured conversations. Its purpose is to strengthen the client’s own motivation to draw out the readiness to change.
Benefits of Online Alcohol Abuse Counseling
Research has found that people who receive online therapy for alcohol abuse show improvement in dependency over those who do not accept any treatment.
Given the hurdles of in-person addiction therapy, online alcohol abuse counseling may prove to be more beneficial in certain areas such as:
- Effectively reducing substance use
- Ease of access to online therapy
- Provides more options
- Addresses barriers to treatment
Furthermore, online alcohol abuse counseling can help people who may not be physically capable of attending individual treatments or group meetings. During COVID-19, most treatment facilities and local resource support groups shutdown. Online counseling quickly became essential.
How Effective is Online Alcohol Abuse Counseling?
The American Journal of Psychiatry found that participants in a web-based treatment had higher success rates and were less likely to drop out of the program than those treated in-person.
A common concern for many is that online treatment exposes individuals to the chaotic environment that has led to the misuse of alcohol in the first place. However, preliminary studies show that exposure to this environment, combined with online alcohol abuse counseling, strengthens clients’ skills in overcoming relapse triggers. Clients are, therefore, ready for real-world triggers much sooner.
Furthermore, research has shown that computer-assisted cognitive behavior therapy showed both short-term and long-term success for addressing alcohol and drug use on a 12-month follow-up.
AspenRidge REACH Online Alcohol Abuse Counseling
Online addiction therapy is not exactly the same as traditional treatments, but it doesn’t automatically make it inferior. So far, there’s sufficient evidence to suggest that it can be just as effective. As with other treatment options, each should be considered with respect to client needs.
Take control of alcohol recovery. AspenRidge REACH is a dual diagnosis online program offering various treatment options tailored to individual clients. Our licensed therapists and certified staff members are knowledgeable and supportive. The methodologies deployed through our programs often incorporate multiple therapeutic techniques that can alleviate strong, negative emotions. These treatment options include:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Group Support
- Ongoing individual therapy
- Co-Occurring Treatment Options
- Life skills training
- Holistic treatments
- 12-Step methodologies
We are experienced in addressing alcohol abuse and AUD. In addition, our online treatment programs offer continuum care through intensive outpatient and outpatient approaches, which allow clients to maintain flexible schedules. REACH proves to support clients through recovery and long-term care.
Our licensed therapists can give you the tools you need to find relief from addiction. Contact us today at 833-90-REACH.