What was lost when covid forced addiction support groups online — and what was gained
Authored by Ken Redmile
The explosion of virtual support group meetings mirrors the rapid shift to telehealth services among providers who work with those suffering from substance-use disorders. The change, which has been widely adopted by many mental health professionals, has given experts hope of reaching the roughly 90 percent of people who are not getting treatment even though they may meet the diagnostic criteria for substance-use disorder, said Deni Carise, chief science officer of Recovery Centers of America.
“This is our opportunity not just to make getting treatment easier for people, more frequent for people, more confidential, but also a time when we can reach that 90 percent of people,” Carise said.
But although it is likely that telehealth will continue to be part of addiction care even after the pandemic, Carise said she anticipates that “a vast majority” of community support groups will resume in-person meetings once it is safe.
“They will do that because that’s what we know has worked for so long,” she said.
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