The pandemic has impacted the healthcare system forever. Many healthcare facilities have closed as a result, and individuals have lost access to necessary medical treatments. However, the pandemic has also made telehealth care a primary way to receive care.
Those who sought treatment for substance use disorder (SUD) amidst the pandemic faced unique challenges and barriers to receiving care. As a result, telehealth care is now used in the addiction recovery space to ensure individuals access the necessary treatment and can heal from addiction.
What Is Telehealth Care?
It is likely you are already familiar with telehealth care. If you’ve ever filled out an online survey or questionnaire for a medical provider about your health, you have already tried out this method of health care provision.
Telehealth care is defined as the “[U]se of communications technologies to provide health care from a distance.” For the purpose of addiction recovery, this includes virtual screenings with your provider, Zoom sessions with your therapist, online group therapy sessions and check-ins, or even texts from your pharmacist saying your prescription is ready for pickup. Telehealth is a method of care that has been steadily expanding as access to the internet has become more ubiquitous.
We live in a digital age, but we are also living during a pandemic. Reducing in-person care also reduces the opportunities for COVID-19 transmission and other illnesses to spread. In response to COVID-19, the need and use of telehealth care options have increased.
When Is Telehealth Care Needed?
In 2020, the nationwide adoption of social distancing rules was enforced to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This necessitated the evolution of methods by which healthcare can safely be provided to the public without advancing the pandemic.
In addition to a virtual way for one-on-one care access with therapists and other medical health providers becoming urgent, the need for digital peer support grew. Community is an integral component of care for addiction recovery. In response to the pandemic, new ways to maintain addiction recovery communities, such as Zoom meetings with groups and therapists, naturally evolved.
Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth care has become widely used in the healthcare industry. However, telehealth is beneficial beyond preventing the spread of pathogens. There are various other times telehealth care might be needed for someone seeking addiction recovery. These include a lack of access to transportation or maintaining continuity of care, among other possibilities.
Knowing if Telehealth Care Is Right for You
Along with many other health care facilities, West Coast Recovery Centers recognizes that social distancing is necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while also recognizing the isolation social distancing can create. Since 2020, our facility has offered telehealth care options for remaining connected to your recovery community. This includes the use of multiple digital platforms such as Zoom for group and individual therapy sessions that do not sacrifice the quality of care or peer support.
Our use of telehealth care means you can seek care for alcohol or drug addiction from home. Telehealth care availability also means that you may be able to complete screenings, which determine what services you need prior to committing to a facility for treatment. You can then do the research to discover what addiction recovery treatment methods feel best for you.
When to Pursue In-Person Care
Although telehealth care is an excellent option for a variety of needs, there are some times when in-person care is required. Addiction recovery can be accompanied by symptoms of physical and mental withdrawal, which can be dangerous to your immediate health.
Withdrawal happens when a person stops or decreases the amount of drugs or alcohol they are using after a long period of consumption. Symptoms vary depending on the substances that were being used and for how long. They can often include:
- Shakiness or tremors
- Mood swings
- Changes in heart rate or blood pressure
- Seizures and hallucinations.
Detoxing in person at a healthcare facility allows for medical supervision. While there are risks associated with the detox process, these risks can be mitigated by in-person care. Continued use of drugs or alcohol also poses significant risks to the long-term health and well-being of the individual and can only be mitigated by discontinuing their use.
Because withdrawal symptoms can pose a severe health risk, it is essential to consult a medical health professional to guide the detox process. A doctor, nurse, or therapist can review your alcohol or drug use history, make you aware of any potential withdrawal dangers, and advise you on whether you need in-person care. Speaking to a healthcare professional about the risks related to withdrawal and detox will help inform the safest and best decision for drug or alcohol addiction recovery.
If you or a loved one need support with alcohol or drug addiction recovery that reduces the risk of COVID-19 transmission, telehealth care may be a good option. Telehealth care includes using technology to provide necessary healthcare, such as online surveys, phone screenings, and virtual therapy sessions. The availability and quality of telehealth care have increased exponentially in the last two years as new ways of providing safe care to patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. At West Coast Recovery Centers, we offer ongoing telehealth care options that maintain your high quality of care on various digital platforms. Our treatment program can help you find healing from addiction through multiple traditional and holistic methods of treatment. Assessments and evaluations completed by our staff can also help you determine if in-person care may be the best option for treatment. For more about our services, call West Coast Recovery Centers at (760) 492-6509.