“I can’t let go of my laptop”.
“Social media is the only life I like to be a part of”.
“I get more aggressive after drinking alcohol”.
If any of these statements resonate with you or you can recall someone saying something similar, you may be familiar with our dependence on certain objects. These objects can vary from coffee and video games to psychoactive substances and alcohol, but just like a coin, they all have two sides. One side gives us the rush, the excitement to use that object even more, whereas the other side creates increasing dependence or addiction.
When we think of addiction, we imagine a person drinking bottles of alcohol or someone using drugs just to get through the day. These behaviors are often categorized under substance use disorders.
However, addiction comes in different shapes and sizes. We now also recognize an upsurge in behavioral addictions. These can range from gambling to online video gaming and many more that don’t have an official diagnosis but damage well-being.
To be in a position where substance use takes over all areas of your life and decreases your well-being can be scary and difficult. However, if you are planning to seek help for yourself or a significant other, you are not alone.
According to a recent report published by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), around 275 million people used drugs worldwide last year, out of which 36 million were diagnosed with substance use disorders.
The difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have made the use of substances more appealing and justifiable but also made more people reach out for online addiction therapy.
On TED Talks, Johann Hari gave an interesting speech about addiction:
What Is Online Addiction Therapy?
Online therapy is a safe and non-judgmental space. It helps us acquire new skills to foster our growth and well-being. Is it a one-stop solution for all problems? Not necessarily, but it helps restore essential life skills we sometimes lose due to addiction.
Substance use disorder and behavioral addictions require professional support, and addiction therapy is one of the most promising ways to go about it.
Often, clients may come to therapy after they’ve failed to control the urge to use the substance they’re addicted to, which is indicative of impaired control. At other times, social impact can be so negative that it pushes you to seek help. We may feel that we can overcome it by ourselves, but often we drive ourselves to relapse and start using the substance again.
Due to a rampant increase in distress all over the world, the need for online therapy has significantly increased. Online addiction therapy has taken the front seat in this process. One primary reason for this is the range of effective techniques and interventions that can help identify and manage substance use problems and substance use disorders.
Addiction therapy or counseling, like other forms of therapy, follows similar processes, tools, and techniques. The effectiveness of the treatment is enhanced by therapists who devise the treatment according to the key features of these disorders. The counselor or therapist may first begin by gauging the features and then taking constructive steps with you to alleviate them.
Recognizing the biopsychosocial impact of addiction, mental health professionals are increasingly narrowing their attention to evidence-based interventions and psychosocial treatments.
The aim is not only to bring about change on a behavioral level but also at the level of cognition and emotion. The main criteria for the effectiveness of addiction therapy are the reduction or abstinence from the substance and improvement in broad areas of functioning.
There are many benefits of addiction counseling. It helps people see situations from a new perspective. The addiction counselor identifies harmful patterns and replaces them with helpful ones. It allows clients to identify their own triggers and prepare their first aid kit to deal with them. Addiction therapy has a domino effect on all domains of life, including interpersonal relationships.
How Does Online Addiction Therapy Work?
Online addiction therapy is tailor-made. What works for one individual may not work for another, so the counselor works following your personal needs and goals. The primary approaches used in online addiction counseling are:
Online supportive therapy focuses on helping the client develop effective coping strategies to control or reduce substance use and stay engaged in the therapeutic process. This therapy emphasizes a strong therapeutic relationship and helps clients reduce anxiety or dysphoria to minimize the risk of relapse.
Clients often come to therapy after facing the severe consequences of their addiction. Since they’ve previously enjoyed or had fun using the substance, motivational interviewing helps explore and resolve their ambivalence about changing. The premise of this online addiction treatment is that clients can decide to make changes based on their shifts in motivation.
Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)
The core factors of this therapeutic approach are acceptance and change. This approach to online addiction counseling will help you develop emotional and social skills that bring about change. The skills include mindfulness, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, and emotional regulation that are effective in reducing substance use.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
In this approach, the therapist will help you find connections between thoughts, feelings, and actions and also help you increase your awareness of how these impact the recovery process. If you have substance use disorder, chances are you have certain automatic negative thoughts, assumptions, and beliefs, such as “I can’t work without drinking”. CBT helps identify such thoughts and learn more effective ways to deal with and replace them.
This is not an exhaustive list of online addiction therapies. Therapists generally work with the approaches that best meet the client’s needs. There is no one-size-fits-all in addiction therapy.
Is Online Addiction Therapy Right for Me?
The first step to seeking therapy can be difficult, but if you are willing to get your life back on track, then addiction therapy is the way to go. There are many benefits associated with seeking online addiction counseling:
- No traveling needed: The thought of traveling from one place to another can be exhausting in and by itself. Online counseling provides a quick way to get in touch with your therapist from the comfort of your home.
- Privacy and anonymity: A lot of individuals opt for online addiction counseling because they have the option to keep their cameras off and identity hidden. Eventually, most of them become comfortable enough to open up, but doing so at their own pace makes them feel more secure.
- Ease of scheduling: Scheduling is simply more convenient with more options at your disposal. Selecting a particular type of therapy and therapist is only a few clicks away.
- Your mode of communication: Comfort and convenience are a highlight of addiction counseling. Whether it’s on an audio call, voice or text messaging, you choose how your therapy happens.
It’s natural to be scared. It’s completely understandable to feel anxious before taking the first step. However, it’s important to remember that you deserve it. It is time for you to reap the benefits of therapy and receive the support to achieve optimal well-being.
Therapists work with us day and night to help people in the best way possible. You might have to step out of your comfort zone, but at DoMental, you’ll find a safe space of growth, recovery, and well-being.
You are looking in the right direction.