Coronavirus outbreak also affected patient-physician communication. Those who have psychological problems may not meet face to face with their psychologists and psychiatrists. In this case, telepsychiatry can come into play, but experts warn fraudsters, saying that online psychotherapy, which is preferred especially in the treatment of anxiety disorders and phobia, is open to abuse.
What is telepsychiatry?
Telepsychiatry is when psychiatrists (or other health care providers with the appropriate diploma) treat people who are in their office or in a hospital over an extended period of time via telecommunication. Virginia Mason pioneered this “distance psychiatric treatment” in 1998, originally coined “video psychiatry.” Other doctors around the country quickly followed suit.
Patients do not go to hospitals or clinics unless it is mandatory because of the Coronavirus outbreak. For this reason, many patients prefer online applications to reach their doctors.
With the Coronavirus outbreak, there is an increase in the number of people turning to online psychotherapy.
Online psychotherapy provides convenience for clients and clients who cannot meet with the psychologist and psychiatrist. Any computer or smartphone with an internet connection is sufficient for the method to be applied. Thanks to e-mail, video conferencing, and various chat programs, psychiatric sessions can be established on the internet.
In Online Psychotherapy, Exposure Therapies May be More Effective.
Scientific evidence is growing that telepsychiatry practice is as effective as a face-to-face interview in many psychological problems. In fact, telepsychiatry may be the first option for some diseases. For example; anxiety disorders and virtual exposure therapies appear to be more effective in phobia. Again, avoidant individuals, children, adolescents, patients with post-traumatic stress disorder who experience severe avoidance can sometimes only agree to meet with videoconference. Face-to-face interviews can be challenging for these patients, so psychotherapy through videoconferencing can offer a better option in the first place.
Coronavirus outbreak has increased the level of social anxiety. If there are bodily symptoms and feelings of helplessness such as high anxiety, hopelessness, palpitations, shortness of breath, and tremor, then anxiety disorder may occur.
Feeling sick all the time, not being able to continue daily activities with the fear that something will happen to your loved ones, showing extra hygiene obsessions above the recommended hygiene rules can lead to psychiatric disorders. In particular, anxiety disorder, depression, and obsessive diseases carry an increased risk during these periods.
Be Wary of Fraudsters in Online Therapy
The internet environment is open to abuse and people can show themselves as they want. Legal sanctions against this are very limited. There is already serious confusion about what is psychotherapy and who can do psychotherapy. This confusion can increase when it comes to online psychotherapy.
So there are two things to do;
Documents of professional competence and psychotherapy competence should be requested from psychotherapists.
Documents about the training that are completed by the psychiatrist or references may be requested if the training/supervision they receive is not certified.