Managing Drug Addiction Online

Drug addiction is a chronic disease that creates changes in the brain that can be long lasting and can lead to harmful behaviors. Because of these brain changes, a person's ability to choose not to use drugs becomes compromised. When one becomes addicted, is it often hard to stop for good and remains an ongoing struggle.

People turn to drugs or alcohol when for many reasons including pain and stress, and some peoples’ brains are even genetically predisposed to addiction. The problem arises because use of a substance or engagement in an activity that is pleasurable stimulates the brain’s "reward center", releasing a brain chemical called dopamine. Dopamine regulates emotional responses and levels of motivation. A destructive cycle is created in the brain whereby it seeks more and more of the pleasurable experience, making it difficult for the person to control those urges.

Eventually, the brain adjusts to the excess dopamine and the reward circuit becomes desensitized to it, requiring more and more of the substance or activity in order to feel the same level of pleasure. This causes issues known as tolerance and craving. 

Drug addiction is a relapsing disease, meaning very often one returns to use the drug after an attempt to stop. For this reason, it is very difficult for one to be cured from drug addiction. However, drug addiction can be successfully managed with the proper professional help which many include a combination of medication management by a psychiatrist, counseling from a trained therapist, and peer support groups. 

You and your online psychiatrist and/or therapist can help determine the severity of your addiction, what type of treatment is needed, and if a referral to an inpatient program is needed.

During a video consult on TelaCare, one of our board-certified psychiatrists and/or therapists will ask you a series of targeted questions to determine the severity of your addiction. Your diagnosis will be based on the exam, your medical history, and the duration and severity of symptoms.

Addiction is a very complex disease. As every patient is different, your treatment plan will be unique and individually tailored to your situation and needs. 

Effective substance use treatment depends on an accurate understanding of a patient’s history and a thorough assessment of all presenting symptoms. Our psychiatrists and therapists are experienced in treating all presenting symptoms and will look at each patient as a whole person and a unique individual. 

Often, our providers will recommend that individuals pursuing addiction treatment will make TelaCare teletherapy part of a greater treatment plan with other community resources. This may include regular meetings with a psychiatrist and medication management, self-help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, and other addiction focused community therapies. It is important to note that patients requiring medically supported detox treatment are likely not appropriate for teletherapy in isolation, and teletherapy is not a substitution for inpatient or physician supported care. Treatment using TelaCare online therapy may, however, be an effective addition to a greater treatment plan once a patient is medically stabilized and appropriate for outpatient care.

IMPORTANT: Although there are many options for psychiatric or medications management of addiction, only some can be prescribed through online treatment. Only non-controlled prescriptions such as antidepressants for compulsive behaviors, anticonvulsants to stabilize brain cell activity, acamprosate (Campral), disulfiram (Antabuse), naltrexone (ReVia, Vivitrol), varenicline (Chantix), and nicotine patches for cravings and abstinence can be prescribed online. Controlled substances such as benzodiazepines, naloxone (Suboxone), buprenorphine (Subutex) and methadone cannot be prescribed online and would require in-person care.

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Got Questions? We've got answers.

See below for answers to some of our most common questions. You can also call us anytime 24 hours a day at 1-800-317-0280 to speak to a medical professional about your symptoms or conditions.



 What is the difference between ADD and ADHD?

ADD stands for attention deficit disorder, while ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The “H” in ADHD is when hyperactivity is a symptom. Adults will typically not express hyperactivity and only have the attentional issues.


 Depression vs Anxiety: what are the key differences?

Depression is when one is constantly in a low mood with loss of interests and enjoyment, accompanied by other changes such as low energy, disturbed sleep, changes in appetite and poor concentration. Anxiety does not always include this feeling of a low mood – typically, it is excessive or inappropriate worry.

 What is Telepsychiatry?

Through the TelaCare website or mobile app, you can speak to a therapist from the privacy and comfort of your own home to address common behavioral health challenges. TelaCare's therapists do not have the ability to prescribe medications for the treatment of diagnosed mental disorders. They will refer to you psychiatrist in your area who can prescribe medication if is necessary.

 Is my online doctor visit private and secure?

Yes, we feel it is of utmost importance to maintain patient privacy and keep information secure. TelaCare is designed to be a private, secure, HIPAA-compliant tool that allows you to safely and confidentially consult with a doctor online.


 Can I get a prescription online?

Yes, in general you can get a prescription online. There is support for this nationwide, however there are several exceptions. 


 What is online therapy?

With the TelaCare web or mobile app, you can speak to a therapist, anytime, anywhere to address common behavioral health challenges, from the privacy and comfort of your own home. TelaCare's online therapy services are available nationwide and include a network of more than 650 therapists, social workers and other mental health disciplines with a wide variety of specialties.

 What are the controlled substances that cannot be prescribed online?

There are hundreds of controlled substances that cannot be prescribed online. However, some controlled substances are more common than others and these include:

  • Adderall
  • Alprazolam
  • Ambien
  • Ativan
  • Carfentanil
  • Clonazepam
  • Cocaine
  • Codeine
  • Codoxyn
  • Concerta
  • Demerol
  • Diazepam
  • Dilaudid
  • Fentanyl
  • Focalin
  • Hydrocet
  • Hydrocodone
  • Klonopin
  • Lorazepam
  • Lunesta
  • Methadone
  • Methamphetamine
  • Morphine
  • Naloxone, Narcan
  • Opium
  • Opium Tincture
  • Oxycodone
  • OxyContin
  • Percocet
  • Restoril
  • Ritalin
  • Soma
  • Temazepam
  • Testosterone
  • Tramadol
  • Valium
  • Vicodin
  • Vyvanse
  • Xanax

You can find a full list of controlled substances here: DEA Controlled Substances List

 What is the difference between a therapist and psychiatrist?

A patient would see a psychiatrist for medication management and a psychologist for talk therapy. Sometimes the best form of treatment is a combination of both talk therapy and medication management. Psychiatrists and therapists are each able to evaluate a person to determine whether one or both treatments approaches are necessary, and can make recommendations based on their assessment.


 Can a doctor on TelaCare be my regular provider?

Unfortunately, no. Doctors on TelaCare are there to support your care between office visits, such as when you are traveling or when you have a non-emergency or low acuity health condition.

 Who are the doctors?

The doctors on TelaCare are part of the TelaCare Medical Group, Inc., which is a primary care practice with a national network of board-certified doctors who, on average, have 15 years of experience. Doctors are both single- and multi-state licensed and credentialed to work in your state of residence; 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Each of our doctors goes through a rigorous selection process to become a part of the network.

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