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Traditional in-person treatment for addiction can be inaccessible for some people. Telehealth offers a more convenient and affordable alternative.
Addiction is a chronic and complex condition that requires comprehensive treatment and support. However, not everyone has or wants access to addiction treatment services for
Telehealth is one solution that may help bridge the gap and expand access to treatment.
This article discusses telehealth for addiction, its potential benefits and drawbacks, and how to find help.
Telehealth uses digital communication technologies to provide healthcare services remotely. This includes phone calls, video conferences, text messaging, and online platforms.
Yes, telehealth can be effective at helping with addiction.
However, it is important to note that the effectiveness of telehealth for addiction may vary depending on individual circumstances, needs, and
A person’s mental health, social support system, and financial resources may also play a role in determining the effectiveness of telehealth treatment.
Read about the complications of addiction.
The following sections describe the possible benefits and drawbacks of telehealth.
Potential benefits of telehealth for addiction treatment include:
- Convenience: Telehealth can be more convenient than in-person treatment, as it takes place in a person’s home. This eliminates the need for travel time and expenses and can increase access to treatment for individuals who live in remote or rural areas.
- Reduced stigma: Telehealth allows individuals to receive addiction treatment discreetly and without the fear of judgment or stigma.
- Insight into individuals’ daily lives and home environment: Through video sessions, healthcare professionals can better understand a person’s daily life and home environment.
- Comfort and privacy: People living with addiction may feel more comfortable opening up and sharing their difficulties in the privacy of their own homes.
Potential drawbacks of telehealth for addiction treatment include:
- Technological limitations: The lack of reliable internet access, smart devices, or the skills to use telehealth platforms can limit access to telehealth services.
- Financial barriers: Telehealth services may not always have insurance coverage, making them less accessible to people who cannot pay out-of-pocket.
- Security concerns: Some people may have concerns about the security and confidentiality of their health information when using telehealth platforms.
- Limited physical contact: Telehealth may not provide the same personal connection and physical presence as traditional in-person therapy or support group settings.
Learn more about treatment for addiction.
A person can follow these steps to get a telehealth appointment for addiction treatment:
- Research telehealth healthcare professionals: A person can find a healthcare professional by searching online or asking a doctor for a referral. Some examples of well-known organizations providing telehealth for addiction treatment include BetterHelp and Lionrock Recovery. The
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholismalso offers a directory of telehealth resources for addiction treatment.
- Check insurance coverage: If a person’s insurance does not cover telehealth, they could find an organization that offers sliding-scale fees or a payment plan option.
- Schedule an appointment: Once a person has found a healthcare professional, they can schedule an appointment. Most telehealth appointments take place via video conferencing, such as Zoom or Skype.
Here are some general tips for preparing for a telehealth appointment:
- Gather information or documents the healthcare professional may need, such as medical history, prior treatment records, and current medications.
- Make a list of questions or concerns to discuss during the appointment.
- Find a quiet, private space to attend the appointment without interruptions or distractions.
- Test the internet connection beforehand to ensure a stable connection during the appointment.
- Ensure the device for the telehealth appointment, such as a computer, smartphone, or tablet, is fully charged or connected to a power source.
Most insurance companies cover some form of telehealth services, including addiction treatment. However, coverage may vary depending on the plan.
When choosing a telehealth healthcare professional, a person can:
- Check their insurance coverage for included services.
- Look for in-network professionals.
- Check if preauthorization is necessary.
- Check if the healthcare professional is licensed and accredited.
- Read reviews of the healthcare professional.
- Ask about their policies on confidentiality and security.
Read more about telehealth and Medicare.
Telehealth uses digital communication technologies to provide remote healthcare services. Many telehealth appointments take place via video conferencing.
Telehealth can be valuable in supporting addiction treatment by improving accessibility, providing resources, and offering continuous care.
However, it is not an effective treatment option for everyone and may be unsuitable for individuals with severe addiction or those needing intensive in-person care.