In an ever more connected and digitised world, the Internet has become more important than ever. From staying in touch to shopping and banking, more of us are doing more and more things online.

The lockdowns accompanying the Covid-19 pandemic led to a lot of people doing things online that they probably would have done in a face to face setting otherwise – including work, schooling and even addiction recovery.

The best setting for addiction recovery remains the physical setting of a drug or alcohol rehab. This puts you in a safe and secure environment, away from the stresses, triggers and temptations that may be associated with your day-to-day life. You will have round the clock support and addiction treatment programmes administered by trained addiction recovery professionals.

You can undergo the difficult detoxification stage in a medically supervised setting, which can be very important when you consider the severity of withdrawal symptoms associated with drug or alcohol detox.

When the country was locked down, however, many people turned to online resources to help with addiction recovery. These provided a lifeline for many people and, even as things return slowly to something resembling normal, they can still be very valuable for many people struggling with addiction.


The Pandemic and its effects on Addiction Recovery

The fallout from the pandemic continues to have an impact on many areas of life. Covid-19 has been linked to depression, for example, which may have implications for mental health areas such as anxiety treatment and depression treatment.

It seems likely that the pandemic will also have a major impact on addiction recovery, although the exact effects may take a while to measure. An international study of the impact that the pandemic and lockdowns have had on the recovery of people suffering from drug addiction was recently announced and will run over the course of the next two years.

Professor Clare Brindley, Dean of Research at the University of Derby, said: “The impact of Covid on all of our lives is the focus of global attention at the moment but for some of the most vulnerable groups in society, it is particularly acute. When recovery from long-term addiction is at stake, it can be a matter of life or death.”

There is certainly evidence that substance misuse rose in many areas during the pandemic and rehabilitation and other types of addiction treatment are more important than ever.


Benefits of Online Resources for Addiction Recovery

One question you may be asking yourself is, ‘Do online addiction resources work?’ Again, there is evidence that they do. One recent study carried out by researchers at Yale University looked at the outcomes of a number of alcohol, cocaine, opioids and marijuana users with diagnosed dependency or substance misuse problems.

One group received therapy sessions of the sort typically associated with outpatient addiction treatment, while another received cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and a third participated in an online programme called CBT4CBT.

At the end of the programme more than two thirds (67%) of those using the web-based programme were found to no longer meet the official diagnostic criteria for substance abuse, a higher figure than the other two groups.

It is worth reiterating, though, that a holistic rehab programme offers a more complete treatment than any of these treatment options, including drug detox and aftercare.
The value of online resources to help with addiction recovery should not be overlooked, however.

Another earlier study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry and reported in Psychology Today was concerned with another web-based programme called the Therapeutic Education System (TES). The online programme was found to reduce drug and alcohol use when used on its own but the completion rates for face-to-face treatments also increased when supplementary online treatments were used.

Online addiction resources can provide free, remote help that can be extremely useful for people who may be self-isolating, have mobility issues, or otherwise might struggle to attend face-to-face appointments. Motivation and organisation can also be barriers when you are struggling with an addiction problem and remote programmes can be beneficial in that regard.

Finally, there is also the issue of privacy. While the stigma around addiction is gradually and rightly being broken down, many people would still like to keep their addiction and recovery journey to themselves and those close to them.

Private rehabs and clinics will always keep client confidentiality of course but there is always the chance of being spotted by someone you know on the way into or out of treatment – which is not the case for online resources.


Free Online Addiction Recovery Services

There are many online addiction recovery resources and services out there. Many private rehabs began online services during lockdowns, and some may have continued to offer these services even as the country opened up. Organisations such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and SMART Recovery also offered online services and meetings over platforms such as Zoom.

There are also numerous apps that can help with relapse prevention and other areas of recovery. The WEconnect app, for example, was founded by people in recovery and aims to ‘empower you in your personal growth and recovery’. The app issues daily reminders to help you stick to your recovery plan and can also check into meetings and treatment sessions. There are plenty of other free apps available offering similar features.


Contact Nova Recovery

While online addiction recovery resources can be very helpful, professional alcohol or drug rehab remains the single most effective way to treat a serious addiction problem. If you are struggling with an addiction, we could help you to turn your life around and give you the best chance of making a full and long-lasting recovery.

We accept self-referrals, family referrals, friend referrals and professional referrals and, even if rehab is not the right option for you, we can offer confidential help and advice whether it’s about you or a loved one. It’s never too early – or too late – to seek help for an addiction, so contact our admissions team today.

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John Gillen - Author - Last updated: September 8, 2023

John has travelled extensively around the world, culminating in 19 years’ experience looking at different models. He is the European pioneer of NAD+ (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide) treatment to Europe in 2010; and recently back from the USA bringing state of the art Virtual Reality Relapse Prevention and stress reduction therapy. His passion extends to other metabolic disturbances and neurodegenerative diseases. The journey continues. In recent times, John has travelled to Russia to study and research into a new therapy photobiomudulation or systemic laser therapy working with NAD+ scientists and the very best of the medical professionals in the UK and the USA, together with Nadcell, Bionad Hospitals own select Doctors, nurses, dieticians and therapists. Johns’ passion continues to endeavour to bring to the UK and Europe new developments with NAD+ Therapy in preventive and restorative medicine and Wellness. In 2017 John Gillen was made a visiting Professor at the John Naisbitt university in Belgrade Serbia.