The internet has become the ultimate hub of connection in our modern world. It allows us to search for answers to almost any question or problem we might have. In the field of addiction treatment, people who formerly suffered in silence are now turning to the internet in search of help.
Everyday people who are struggling with substance abuse are now using their computers to look for resources and learn about addiction. Some people are trying to understand their problem in the search for a solution. Others are looking to virtually connect with people who understand what they’re going through. And, ultimately, the internet is now the primary place where people in need or their loved ones find an addiction treatment option.
How will your treatment program stay relevant online? How will you capitalize on this digital revolution to improve your services and connect with new clients? Here’s what you need to know about the online landscape of addiction treatment–and how it can change your program for the better.
Finding Help Online is Private
The internet is publicly accessible, and around 3 out of every 4 people in the United States go online on a daily basis. It’s become our go-to source for information, as well as social connection. People struggling with substance abuse today often turn to the internet, because they don’t want to come forward about their problem.
In the dark days of addiction, during those sleepless nights, lots of people struggling are on their computers doing private, late-night research. At the end of 2016, the Google search term “definition of addiction” reached its peak popularity (meaning it was searched more than ever), and it’s been searched more and more over the last 5 years.
Other internet search terms that have become increasingly popular in 2016 are:
- “addiction treatment”
- “inpatient drug rehab”
- “opioid use disorder”
- “opioid addiction treatment”
- “definition of addict”
Substance abuse is a controversial issue, which makes it difficult for those struggling to talk about it and ask for help. The internet is becoming a place where people can privately inform themselves about substance abuse and treatment options, as they make a decision about which action to take
National Organizations are Raising Awareness
The internet has helped substance abuse issues come into public awareness. National organizations have emerged that are conducting research about substance abuse trends and treatment programs, then making that research available to the public. Through their websites, organizations like these are raising awareness about substance abuse and slowly changing the way society views addiction treatment:
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
- National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
- Partnership for Drug-Free Kids
- National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD)
Even the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website now provides information about opioids and the opioid epidemic, as well as resources to learn about mental health conditions. Addiction is becoming an issue of national concern through online media, opening the door for more people in need to seek help
Digital Brands are Breaking Stigmas
Beyond these national organizations, there are so many digital brands that are using the internet as a platform to fight addiction and support people in recovery. The internet allows these brands to unite people from all across the globe in a common cause. Rather than keeping addiction swept under the rug, these organizations are facing the problem head-on.
There are hugely popular websites like Sober Nation and Reach Out Recovery that provide reliable informational resources about addiction, news related to recovery, and support for people searching for help. Other organizations, like Facing Addiction, Rise Together, and Faces & Voices of Recovery, are advocacy and action-based, but use their websites as a place to organize and unite their movements.
Brands like these are helping to dismantle old stigmas about addiction. We have to be able to talk about substance abuse without old fears and taboos in order to help more people find freedom in recovery. Through the internet, these brands create an atmosphere of acceptance that’s crucial to people in recovery–and your treatment program can do this, too.
Social Media Creates Recovery Communities
For your treatment program, social media is an important aspect of your presence online. So many people are online–both potential clients and those that graduate from your program–and social media can connect you with them. When people search for your treatment program, likes on your Facebook page or positive comments and reviews can build your credibility.
Through Facebook groups and regular alumni emails, you can stay in touch with graduates, monitor their progress, and build a sense of community within your program. The privacy of interacting online can encourage more honest reporting from your graduates, and may even encourage them to reach out to that online community for help when they need it. Ultimately, social media is a way to build a support system for past clients, and establish trust with potential clients.
An Online Presence is Key to Your Business
If it hasn’t been made clear yet, an online presence is crucial to keeping up with the digital revolution that’s happening in addiction treatment. Old methods of doing business through print advertisements, face-to-face interactions, and communications by mail are slowly fading away. More people are using the internet to educate themselves about addiction and research a quality treatment option.
At this point, treatment programs that don’t build an online presence will slowly go out of business. It’s imperative that your program has a quality website that’s searchable online and gives potential clients insight into your program. You need a social media presence that builds your credibility and builds a loyal community.
Start translating your knowledge and expertise in the treatment field into online media and you’ll see major success–both within your community of graduates and with potential clients.