When it comes to recovering from addiction to alcohol and drugs, an online recovery programme may not be the first thing that springs to mind. Can a programme that takes place entirely in virtual space be effective at combating such a powerful disease? As the research demonstrates, the answer is a resounding YES.
Learn more about what online recovery programmes are all about and find answers to your most pressing questions about this exciting new treatment tool.
What does an online recovery program look like?
Online recovery programmes are comprehensive treatment programmes for addiction that occur virtually. They often include elements that would typically be featured in in-person addiction treatment, just transposed into virtual space, as well as engaging new materials. Group and individual therapy may be combined with a range of videos, quizzes, interactive exercises, and more.
Above all, these programs and courses are designed to be as accessible as possible. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, patients often suffered from feelings of anxiety or intimidation when visiting residential addiction facilities. With online recovery programs, the need to undergo great personal challenges while in an unfamiliar space is totally eliminated. Online recovery programs offer a lifeline to recovering addicts in need, and they will likely continue to be a powerful and popular pool even after lockdown is lifted. There is a great deal of potential for remote tools to increase accessibility and ease of use in addiction treatments.
At Home Detox, we offer telephone counselling or Skype counselling to our patients in the UK. We provide the opportunity to speak to a professional from the comfort of your own home, helping you start or stay in recovery from addiction. It’s a safe, private, and convenient alternative to in-person counselling that can help you empower yourself on your terms.
Why do we need online recovery programs now more than ever?
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt the lives of millions, the compulsion to turn to addiction is more compelling than ever. With rising feelings of isolation, frustration, and anxiety, it’s no surprise that people are falling back on old habits or forming new habits of addiction. When trapped in lockdown, it can be difficult to avoid these emotional triggers for alcohol or drug use.
In the UK, a wide-scale Global Drug Survey shows that Britons have consumed more alcohol and marijuana due to feelings of anxiety, depression, and loneliness during the pandemic. 48% of the people surveyed said that they were drinking more frequently than before the pandemic. 40% of drinkers reported that their drinking had become more frequent because of stress, 29% attributed it to depression, and 27% blamed feelings of loneliness. Dishearteningly, 30% of drinkers said that they believed their drinking was negatively affecting their mental health. Additionally, 44% of those surveyed said that they used marijuana more often.
A study from the University of Sheffield reports a particular increase in drinking along in demographics like students and single-adult households. Further studies suggest that people already prone to heavy drinking are likely to have upped their alcohol consumption even more while in lockdown.
In addition to alcohol and marijuana use, people have also turned to anxiety drugs and sleeping pills, often obtained illegally, to self-medicate. While international lockdowns have affected the supply chains of hard drugs and their availability, people have still been purchasing a type of drug called benzodiazepines in high quantities online. These are troubling trends that show the pandemic has a serious, adverse effect on mental health, causing people to turn to substance use in droves.
With many traditional face-to-face treatment options no longer possible due to lockdown restrictions, another option is needed. Online recovery programmes meet this need and meet it with a high rate of success. COVID-19 has forced many aspects of life to find a new home online, from work to schooling to even some forms of healthcare. Counselling is no different, and the research shows that it can be just as effective, if not more, as standard face-to-face counselling.
Do online recovery programs really work?
The evidence suggests that online recovery programs work and that they can be even more effective than traditional in-person therapy. One report by researchers from Yale University, which surveyed 137 users of alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, and opioids, found highly promising results. One-third of the group received group therapy, one-third individual therapy sessions, and the final third participated in an online treatment program.
The findings showed that the online treatment group was more likely to complete the treatment than those in other groups. Only a quarter of online learners failed to make it to the end of the online programme, while about a half of those in group and individual therapy dropped out before treatment was finished.
And by the end of treatment, 67% of online learners were no longer able to meet the official criteria for substance abuse diagnosis. Compare that with 43% of those in group therapy and 52% in individual therapy. Further evidence shows that users who underwent the online programme were less likely to use drugs and alcohol both during treatment and six months later.
Does an online recovery program sound like the right plan for you?
If you’re excited to kickstart your recovery journey with an online recovery program, consider Home Detox’s telephone counselling or Skype counselling treatment plans. At Home Detox, we fully recognize that addiction is a complex phenomenon involving both physical and psychological difficulties. That’s why we offer mental health support that is empathetic and absolutely judgement-free. Our professional counsellors are highly trained in providing treatment and guidance to help you build coping strategies and avoid relapses. We also have a deep understanding of addiction issues, like anxiety, depression, trauma, personality disorders, and more.
Visit Home Detox today to find out more about what we do. You can also contact us on our free helpline at 0333 444 0315.