How Treatment Centers Can Use Social Media to Assist in Recovery
It’s difficult to isolate any facet of modern life from social media. Even for people without an active presence on social networking sites, interacting with the world looks different today from the way it did 15 years ago.
From the perspective of treatment centers that work with patients as they deal with drug and alcohol addiction recovery, integrating social media into core recovery programs can prove beneficial and relevant.
Three Tips for Using Social Media in Recovery
For people on the outside looking in, it’s impossible to grasp the weight and scope of the opioid crisis in the U.S. today. With increased health-care costs, criminal justice system costs, and decreased workplace productivity, opioid addiction carries a conservative price tag of $78.5 billion annually.
When you add alcohol and other addictive substances to the equation, it’s likely that the total cost of addiction is hundreds of billions of dollars per year. Social media isn’t the answer to all our nation’s addiction problems, but there’s reason to believe it could help reduce the frequency of relapse (which is as high as 40 to 60 percent in drug cases).
So how can treatment centers and recovery specialists use social media for good? Here are three specific ideas.
1. Encourage Private Accountability Groups
After leaving a formal treatment center, addicts are urged to find social support through accountability groups. Most people have to plug into a local group in their community; there’s something to be said for maintaining relationships that were built into the program as well.
Treatment centers may find success using social media as an avenue for hosting ongoing accountability groups with former participants. Being in constant contact with people who are going through the same thing you are, at the same time, with a similar treatment background, can be invaluable.
2. Publish Advice and Opinions
For businesses, social media can be employed as a platform for content dissemination as much as client interaction. Accountability groups have to be held in private and confidential groups, of course, but the broader social media newsfeed can be used to disseminate general advice and opinions on matters that may be relevant to followers.
For example, a treatment center may find it helpful to publish a weekly blog post from one of the doctors on staff on a topic related to drug relapse and recovery. Perhaps there’s a need for publishing a concise, 60-second video spot to encourage followers now and then to stay on course.
Not only does a content distribution strategy keep followers and past clients engaged, but it also serves as a branding tool for attracting future participants.
3. Boost Self-Esteem
One of the downsides of social media is that people pick and choose which facets of their lives to show to the world. Most people aren’t fully honest on social media.
We’ll publish the highs and hide the lows. And though it’s worthwhile for everyone to take what they see on social media with a grain of salt, that doesn’t mean we should ignore the way it can boost self-esteem.
Encouraging people to post their positive experiences and progress on social media is a fine way to help them experience instant gratification and positive feedback. Seeing likes and comments roll in can keep addicts motivated to stay sober and on task.
Recovery from alcohol and drug addiction can rarely be launched with a single step or course of action. In most cases, a multi-faceted strategy is required.
Many caregivers understandably regard social media as a negative feature of modern life, but treatment centers and patients that use it in their recovery could see better results. Keep an eye on this trend and see where things progress in the coming years, because this could become a staple component of modern addiction recovery.
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