The Value of Online Support in Addiction Treatment
There’s something for everyone looking for online recovery support.
Chat rooms, forums and web sites with regular meeting schedules offer a nearly infinite number of ways for people to connect with a community.
If you need a live 12-step meeting, IntheRooms.org has daily meetings, as does AA.Intergroup.org, NAChatroom.org and MeetingsOnline.com. These regular meetings, like face-to-face meetings, have meeting leaders and follow certain guidelines and traditions. IntheRooms.org is also a great place to socialize.
There are sites that offer information about treatment and recovery and how to find the best aftercare solutions for your individual needs. Other sites serve as news aggregators with essays, in-depth coverage of addiction-related stories, interviews and advice from professionals in the field and rehab reviews. All of these recovery support sources are meant to encourage camaraderie and community, while not replacing or taking away from the effectiveness of face-to-face sources of group support. Generally speaking, online tools are seen as supplements for face-to-face contact with another person in recovery.
There are treatment programs that offer 24/7 ongoing online support for patients and their families. This type of care is often beneficial for patients who are putting their newfound recovery skills into practice in everyday life situations.
You’ll also find treatment programs with ongoing care services that focus on the positive aspects of recovery and provide access to tools helpful in dealing with relationships, workforce challenges or overall self-care. There are coaching sessions, alumni discussion boards, learning libraries, live chat sessions and crisis intervention services.
Recovery is Still Evolving
There’s another form of online recovery support that is growing in popularity—and proving effective. As an alternative to seeing clients face-to-face, some therapists and counselors have added video calls. Some counselors even say the option is better than trying to schedule an in-person visit because it eases the stress of working around child-care, pet-care, transportation or mobility issues.
Several major studies support the effectiveness of video therapy and, in some cases, provide evidence that video counseling is slightly more effective in maintaining long-term mental health. For example, a University of Zurich study found that depression was eased in 53 percent of participants given online therapy, compared to 50 percent who had in-person counseling.
The future of recovery may very well be in online support services but we would do well to remember the history of the world’s long-standing recovery program, Alcoholics Anonymous, rests on one of the greatest face-to-face meetings ever recorded—two men and a coffee pot.
Learn more about the many addiction treatment options available.
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