Taking Advantage of Telehealth During COVID-19

April 19, 2020 , Agape Treatment Center

telehealth and covid-19As COVID-19 continues to sweep the globe, people are left dealing with the side effects of job loss, economic and financial insecurity, social distancing, and major disruptions to daily life. People are scared, stressed out, and anxious, so it’s easy to see why people with mental health conditions or substance use disorders are particularly vulnerable during this time. These groups of people flourish when they have a regular routine and a stable support network. However, amid social distancing guidelines and widespread closures, many people have lost their daily routine and have seen their support groups halt in-person meetings. Plus, people with substance use disorders may fear seeking treatment, so their addiction progresses and people get hurt. 

Fortunately, we live in a digital age where endless services are offered to us right at our fingertips via smartphone, tablet, or computer. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of telehealth services for people with mental health conditions and substance use disorders has become an essential tool in helping them maintain optimal health. If you’re facing difficulties during this time and fear that you or loved one needs help, take advantage of the telehealth services being offered during COVID-19. 

Advantages of Telehealth During COVID-19

HIPAA-compliant programs and apps enable providers to offer telehealth services to patients during COVID-19. This eliminates the need for in-person visits where patients may transmit or become ill from the virus. Instead, patients are able to receive these services in the comfort of their own homes. Furthermore, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (FDA) has expanded prescribing guidelines to make it easier for providers to prescribe medications on secure telemedicine programs.[1] This Public Health Emergency Declaration allows registered practitioners to prescribe Schedule II-V controlled substances via telehealth if they meet the three following guidelines:

  1. Prescriptions are being used for legitimate medical purposes for a person’s usual course of treatment.
  2. Telemedicine is conducted in real-time with a two-way communication system using audio and visual communications.
  3. The physician is acting in compliance with both federal and state laws. 

This allows patients with mental health conditions and substance use disorders to continue getting their medication regimen while avoiding unnecessary in-person appointments.

Whether you’re continuing a regular treatment regimen and require ongoing care or you’re struggling with your mental health during the pandemic, telehealth services are there to help. You don’t have to risk leaving your home and breaking social distancing guidelines to get the help that you need. 

Supporting our Patients and Their Families via Telehealth

If you’re suffering from the effects of social distancing, you’re not alone. In fact, most people are struggling with isolation during COVID-19 which leads to anxiety and depression. What’s happening across the world right now is unprecedented – so it’s okay if you don’t know exactly how to handle it.[2] What matters is what you do to cope with isolation, anxiety, and depression. Do you reach out for help in times like these or do you turn back to unhealthy patterns and coping mechanisms?

People with addictions or mental illness are prone to feeling anxiety and depression already and are discouraged from isolating from their peers. As a result, many individuals with pre-existing mental health conditions are susceptible to falling back into old behaviors while social distancing. Similarly, people in recovery are more likely to relapse while under the stress and fear of the unknown surrounding the pandemic.[3] That’s why it’s important to reach out for help before you slip back into these old behaviors. That’s why we’re encouraging patients to take advantage of 1 on 1 therapy and family therapy via telehealth during COVID-19.

1 on 1 Individual Therapy

Individual therapy is great for focusing on issues such as mental illness or substance abuse. Oftentimes, there are events or circumstances that trigger mental health conditions and addiction. These underlying factors need to be addressed in order for a person to heal. 1 on 1 virtual therapy pairs up patients with a clinical therapist to help uncover and cope with these issues. By targeting the root of mental health conditions, people begin to move past these things, learn healthy ways to cope, and grow into a healthier person. 

During COVID-19, isolation can take a serious toll on your mental health – especially if you live alone or live with someone who is not healthy. Be sure to reach out for help and make sure your needs are met before you slip back into negative behaviors. Individual therapy can help you process the emotions you’re feeling and allow you to create an actionable plan to prevent relapse or return to old behaviors. Every person is different with unique needs and individual therapy provides people with the personalized attention needed to create a treatment plan that works for you. 

Family Therapy

Like 1 on 1 therapy, family therapy also aims to address underlying issues but on a family level. Right now, families are restricted to their homes and are spending more time with their loved ones. While this may be healthy for some as a bonding opportunity, dysfunctional families are likely to struggle. Past resentments and current tensions may come to a head while the nation is on lockdown and emotions can start running high. However, there’s no better time to address these issues through family therapy than right now. While you’re all couped up together, virtual family therapy can help you improve communication skills in the household, work past unaddressed resentments, and help bring balance back into the home. 

Get the Help You Need Today

If COVID-19 is taking a toll on your mental health, your family dynamic, or has led you to return to old habits, contact us today to see how we’re using telemedicine to meet the needs of our patients and their families. 

 

References:

  1. https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/covid-19-emergency-update-physicians-11179/
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html
  3. https://annals.org/aim/fullarticle/2764313/collision-covid-19-addiction-epidemics