The Covid-19 pandemic caused a surge in demand for online services and the majority of important services we use on a daily basis are now easily accessible online. Banking, shopping, and many aspects of work have become digitized and accessible remotely from wherever you may be. Necessity has seen us undergo a complete transformation in the way we live, work and communicate with each other.
The pandemic inevitably dictated that remote communication be essential to create and put in place measures to curb and manage the deadly virus. Work, education, and even healthcare moved online as we adapted to the lockdown limitations, curfews, and social distancing rules and regulations.
Several studies have shown that drug and substance abuse challenges did not go away during the pandemic, and did in fact worsened due to the restrictions on social gatherings and the nightlife with some people taking to using drugs in the comfort of their own homes.
The restrictions imposed in several areas have made face-to-face addiction treatment difficult to plan and execute successfully, causing the demand for internet rehabilitation treatment services and virtual rehab facilities to inevitably increase as loneliness, depression and anxiety have caused a rise in alcohol and substance use.
What exactly is an online recovery program, and are they effective?
An online detox facility, also known as online therapy, is a personalized therapeutic program provided over the internet. The exact structure of the program can vary widely but they typically have all of the elements seen in a conventional face-to-face therapy and care facility.
Techniques applied may include different therapy types, including group and one-to-one therapies, interactive lectures, one-to-one psychotherapy and counselling sessions, with additional resources such as videos and documents also made available online.
Online treatment enables most classes, services and detox tools to be accessible to everyone. Such programs will often use platforms that are now familiar to many people, such as Zoom, Skype or Facetime.
Not only in structure but also in intensity, programs may differ. Others would encourage you to ‘dip’ in and out, while some programs would take a more substantial time and energy investment. Some can take a holistic approach to rehabilitation, focusing on your overall health and well-being and your addiction’s root causes.
Addiction during a pandemic – Lockdown remote rehab
The current pandemic has changed every part of our lives, and research shows that it has shaped how many people access and drink medications, substances, and alcohol. According to a one-of-a-kind Global Drug Survey (GDS) based on coronavirus symptoms, almost half of UK respondents (48%) said they drank more after the outbreak started than before.
44% of cannabis users said they were taking the drug more often. Drinkers said they increased their intake due to tension 40% of the time, isolation 27% of the time, and sadness 29% of the time.
Nearly a third of drinkers (30%) claim that their alcohol consumption has damaged their mental health, while almost half (47%) believe that their physical health has worsened.
The University of Sheffield discovered in a recent study that alcohol’s overall consumption had actually reduced, with the increase of at-home drinking not quite overtaking or comparing with the alcohol usually consumed in a pub or restaurant. Although overall consumption has dropped, the report did highlight that heavier drinkers were more likely to have increased their alcohol consumption during lockdown. This indicates that individuals with a drinking problem or who battle alcoholism are more likely to have struggled during the pandemic.
While it may at first seem that hard drugs would have been harder to purchase during a lockdown, due to international lockdowns affecting supply chains, research suggests addictions may have become more severe in light of the pandemic.
Benzodiazepines, also known as benzos, are highly addictive sleeping pills and anxiety drugs becoming more popular online. According to estimates, the number of diazepam and alprazolam pills acquired unlawfully and submitted to a public laboratory for research has risen. There are also concerns that people are using the internet to self-medicate due to their mental health issues.
During this challenging time, online rehab programs and facilities, have provided an essential lifeline for those battling addiction.
Even when it seems that we are beginning to emerge from certain lockout limits, online alcohol and opioids will have created a lifeline for many and will continue to do so. The main advantage identified by many users in drug and alcohol rehab online services is the anonymity offered by accessing an online addiction treatment service. Physical rehabilitation centres will often protect a patient’s or client’s privacy, but it can be challenging to go for weeks without speaking to a professional about your recovery. Since most people can continue living and functioning from home, remote recovery and care may become much more critical now than before the height of lockdown restrictions.
Do online treatments and remote rehab work?
Taking an online course or travelling to an online therapy facility provides you with a lot more versatility than traditional treatment options, while also delivering high-quality care and recovery tools, such as one-on-one virtual consultations with qualified psychologists, nurses, clinicians, and other drug rehabilitation professionals. Often, one should keep track of their diet and make sure they’re using withdrawal recovery options.
A 2018 report looked at three classes of individuals who had drug abuse problems. One received monthly group therapy, another received face-to-face cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), and the third used CBT Serenity+, a specially developed online drug care service.
More than two-thirds of patients who received online therapy (67%) no longer met the official medical criterion for opioid withdrawal after the service ended, a much better result than the other two categories. Web-based programs employ multimedia strategies such as short movies through which actors show cognitive-behavioural therapy strategies to cope with real-life challenges.
Many individuals have considered online rehabilitation services beneficial and moving forward, online support may be accessible and able to help greater numbers of people.