- The risk of relapse is a major challenge, especially during the first four years of alcohol addiction recovery.
- Alcohol Use Disorder is a condition that requires long-term care for successful recovery.
- Remote alcohol monitoring is a viable solution for relapse prevention.
Table of Contents:
- What Is Remote Alcohol Monitoring?
- The Importance of Monitoring During Early Recovery
- Remote Alcohol Monitoring for Real-Time Intervention
- Remote Alcohol Monitoring Supports Aftercare
- Improved Outcomes
Treatment professionals understand the likelihood of relapse. About 90% of people suffering from Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) are likely to experience a relapse or slip at least once over four years following treatment. This data suggests that AUD is a chronic illness that requires long-term care.
Relapse prevention has been one of the most critical challenges in Addiction Treatment, but there is some hope with remote alcohol monitoring technology. Modern testing systems can prove sobriety without regular lab visits, making them a critical component of relapse prevention programs.
Experiencing improved client outcomes, many Treatment Professionals are implementing alcohol monitoring into their practice to use in conjunction with treatment.
What Is Remote Alcohol Monitoring?
As the name suggests, remote alcohol monitoring is the process of testing a person’s blood-alcohol level. Like lab or EtG testing, standard alcohol monitoring practices require individuals to test at a specific location to submit their sample. As technology advances, however, some companies have developed remote systems that measure a person’s BAC and send their results in real-time to an individual’s Recovery Circle. Gaining in popularity by the Treatment Community, remote alcohol monitoring allows clinicians to track client progress without the challenge of waiting on results from a testing facility.
Further, remote alcohol monitoring provides Recovery Circles peace of mind that the monitored client is staying on track with their recovery plan.
Moreover, remote alcohol monitoring can motivate individuals to stay sober. According to an OMNI Institute study, 100% of participants reported decreased substance use after using Soberlink’s remote alcohol monitoring system. It also improved the ability to resist drinking for 91% of participants. Additionally, 86% of participants experienced a stronger connection with their treatment team.
The Importance of Monitoring During Early Recovery
Clinicians understand that the first few months are critical in Addiction Treatment because that is when patients are most susceptible to relapse. Many studies show approximately 50% relapse rates during the first 12 weeks after completing an intensive inpatient program.
During this period, patients are still in the “abstinence stage” and may be struggling to cope with their cravings, attributing to a higher risk of relapse. Successful detoxification during the first few days, however, can promote prolonged sobriety.
One of the primary goals of Treatment Professionals is to prevent relapse — making it crucial to closely monitor patients during the early stages of alcohol recovery to ensure that they are staying sober.
Remote Alcohol Monitoring for Real-Time Intervention
Even with a clinician’s support during treatment and remote monitoring technology, relapses can still happen. When individuals with AUD relapse, they may experience a wave of emotions — from feelings of shame and confusion to fear and disappointment.
These negative thinking patterns may further set back the patient’s recovery, sending them into a downward spiral. Quick intervention is critical even in the event of relapses, so the individual can immediately get back on track and continue on their journey to sobriety.
Oppositely, quick intervention may be a challenge if the individual does not seek help immediately after relapsing. Due to the shame and disappointment, they may feel, they may withdraw into themselves and avoid reaching out to loved ones and their Treatment Professional.
Scenarios like the one described above could be eradicated with real-time remote alcohol monitoring. Comprehensive systems like Soberlink allow other parties to intervene immediately in the event of a slip or relapse. Using the intuitive system, Treatment Professionals are instantly notified about a positive result and have the opportunity to reach out to the individual to offer support or reassess the treatment plan. This feature can be critical in preventing a slip from becoming a full-blown relapse.
Remote Alcohol Monitoring Supports Aftercare
AUD is a condition that requires long-term care. The recovery process does not end after an individual leaves inpatient care or completes an intensive outpatient program (IOP). Because of this, the Aftercare component needs to be substantial, attainable, and appropriate for the person’s needs and lifestyle.
Aftercare support may be in the form of an alumni program for AUD clients “graduating” from their treatment program. Treatment facilities may also provide recovering individuals with resources that can help them maintain their sobriety, including information about counseling sessions and AA meetings.
Remote alcohol monitoring can also be used in conjunction with treatment as it often gives individuals the confidence to get back to a normal lifestyle. The OMNI study also found that Soberlink helped 88% of participants to become more independent/self-sufficient.
Although consistent monitoring can be helpful, individuals still in the early recovery stage may still be at risk of post-acute withdrawal and relapse. Experts suggest that remote monitoring for a minimum of one year during and after outpatient treatment is a clinically viable option for preventing relapse.
In addition to fostering accountability and establishing healthy routines, individuals using Soberlink can also begin repairing strained relationships and rebuilding trust with loved ones. Trusted by thousands of Treatment Professionals, Soberlink can provide family members with the proof of sobriety they need to ensure that their loved one is serious about recovery. The OMNI study even found that 100% of participants saw an improvement in their family relationships with the help of Soberlink.
Although other treatment strategies are just as important, remote alcohol monitoring can play a critical role at every stage of the recovery process. As such, Treatment Professionals should make a serious effort to incorporate new technology into their practice and treatment plans to experience improved client outcomes.