Research shows online addiction treatment highly effective

A recent study released in the American Journal of Psychiatry suggests that online treatment for addiction may be even more effective than face to face treatment.

According to the author of the study, the program is beneficial because “… it concentrate(s) on teaching new skills in an engaging way,”

The abilities to engage and teach vary from one professional to another. My biggest criticism of most counselors is that they have good intentions and maybe even some good ideas, but they don’t get down to, AND HERE’S HOW YOU ACTUALLY DO IT…! Talking about change has very little value if we can’t envision the steps that create it.

Effective addiction recovery treatment increases awareness of self. It emphasizes identifying and fulfilling unmet needs, soliciting support, and most of all, it helps develop proactive plans for relapse prevention.

The simple but often overlooked aspect of recovery is that no one ever just stops doing something without starting something else. Example: folks who quit cigarette smoking tend to gain weight. That’s rarely a conscious choice. It is replacing one unhealthy habit with another. This type of subconscious decision making is why we need to develop realistic goals and maintain accountability for our choices.

Recovery processes allow us to replace destructive habits with productive investments and healthy forms of coping. We need to prepare for changes in managing time, stress, and finances. Recovery is a lifestyle and we’re learning to live manageable and sustainable lives.

One of the toughest aspects of early recovery is that we’re trying to do all of that and more at a time when we’re emotionally raw, physically compromised, and feeling mentally unstable. This is no small undertaking. We need support in the forms of clear direction and guidance.

Years ago, I started taking personalized notes for my clients. Early recovery involves a symptom known as CRS (Can’t Remember Shit). This sets me apart from most professionals but it also highlights some of the benefits of online treatment. Having written guidance to reflect on and journal from is more practical than talk therapy alone.

Online programs are of further benefit when they are presented in a multi-media format. If a client doesn’t understand something a clinician is describing, they have to tolerate the vulnerability of admitting they don’t get it and asking for clarification. If a client doesn’t understand a concept described in a video, they can simply watch it again and/or email questions (far less vulnerable that face to face communication).

Online programs can utilize self-study formats that are less time limited than traditional treatment. This is especially important when we’re developing foundational elements of recovery like relapse prevention plans. Identifying triggers for cravings, and the people, places, and things that need to be removed from our lives is something that gradually unfolds and needs to be revisited over time.

There’s an adage that if the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. The average professional has a limited set of tools. Adding an online program to further our recovery goals simply makes sense.

Online recovery supports strip away our excuses for not seeking help Online options are more flexible in scheduling and in many cases are extremely affordable. Online treatment removes obstacles like transportation and child care because they can be done from home.

It can even be provided with greater protection of anonymity and confidentiality than face to face treatment. All of these benefits are demonstrated by the program, Sobernow.com, a 28-day home study program that combines videos, daily readings, daily objectives/homework, and music that support early recovery in an easy to follow and pragmatic fashion.

Jim LaPierre

About Jim LaPierre

Jim LaPierre LCSW CCS is the Executive Director of Higher Ground Services in Brewer, Maine. He is a Recovery Ally, mental health therapist and addictions counselor. He specializes in facilitating recovery (whether from addiction, trauma, depression, anxiety, or past abuse) overcome obstacles, and improve their quality of life. Jim is the cofounder of Sobernow.com an online addiction recovery program that is affordable and provides complete anonymity