Rehab Online: What Is It and Does It Work?

online rehab

Addiction can be an isolating (and expensive) disease. Not everyone has the good fortune to be located near excellent addiction treatment facilities. Additionally, not everyone has the resources to travel for the best possible treatment.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, you’ve probably exhausted all options in your search for help. This is why the addiction recovery community created online rehab. Online rehab provides an alternative treatment plan for those who want the benefits of an inpatient or outpatient rehab program, but with more flexibility. Still, you might be wondering: do virtual rehab programs really work? Here, we look at strategies used by online rehab programs and explore whether they work.

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, Outpatient Services is here to help. For more information about the addiction treatment services we offer, call us at (844) 211-7944 or contact us online.

What Is Online Rehab?

Online Rehab 2Ideally, every addicted person would have the free time to spend in face-to-face recovery programs. Realistically, this isn’t always the case. The addiction treatment community created online rehab to give addicts a new way to access the care they need to get and stay sober. Online rehab usually uses distance interaction, such as video conferencing, to offer treatment to patients. In theory, online rehab isn’t very different from physical rehab. The only real difference is that, with online rehab, patients can stay home during treatment. Ideally, this would create a comfortable, private environment for recovery.

Benefits of Online Rehab

Online Rehab Offers Non-Invasive Treatment Solutions

With online rehab, patients can complete a treatment program without interrupting their everyday lives. They wouldn’t have to worry about travel or transportation. In fact, there’d be no lapse in work, school, or family responsibilities. Plus, online rehab would give patients the ability to undergo a delicate process in the comfort of their own homes.

Online Rehab is One of the Most Affordable Options

Generally speaking, online rehab programs cost a fraction of what traditional rehab programs do. For patients without insurance, or for those whose insurance doesn’t cover inpatient treatment, online rehab is a valid option. It might even mean the difference between receiving treatment and not.

Online Rehab is Judgment-Free

A major issue that recovery patients have with traditional rehab is that they think other people may find out about their struggles. Studies on the subject prove that fear of being judged is a factor that can dissuade an addict from even asking for help and entering rehab in the first place. So, in theory, the ability to receive treatment in total anonymity is a significant (and appealing) benefit.

Online Rehab Allows Patients to Set Their Own Pace

Because online rehab is so affordable and accessible, patients can potentially complete a treatment program at their own pace instead of facing pressures during treatment in a facility. Plus, they’d be more comfortable doing it. This, ideally, can increase the chances of treatment effectiveness.

Online Rehab Can Achieve Many of the Same Goals

An issue that comes up when comparing in-person and long-distance rehab is whether or not issues can be properly addressed in therapy sessions and group meetings. As at least one program has shown, though, that distance learning can complete many of the same objectives.

In fact, one computer program developed by scientists at Yale University— Computer Based Training for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT4CBT)— introduces patients to real-life scenarios through the point of view of Anna, a fictitious addict in recovery. The program allows patients to place themselves in Anna’s situations to help them identify their triggers and the negative consequences of their addiction.

Issues With Online Rehab

Online rehab 3In theory, online rehab provides a simple, private way to recover from substance abuse and addiction, something that 23 million Americans struggle with at any given time. However, if the treatment community were genuinely able to standardize distance treatment for addiction, the country’s drug and alcohol addiction epidemic would be much less severe. Realistically, there are several issues with the concept of online rehab.

Online Rehab Cannot Provide Medical Detox

One of the most uncomfortable and dangerous times during recovery is the detox process. If patients try to detox on their own, the company facilitating the online rehab program would be liable for any medical consequences. This is because 1) unsupervised detox is dangerous and potentially fatal, and 2) detoxing from drugs or alcohol without medical intervention has a very low rate of success.

Medical supervision in a clinical setting, whether inpatient or outpatient, is the safest and most effective way to help a patient detox during the early stages of the recovery process.

Online Rehab and Meetings Are Not as Effective

Although patients may make some progress with online rehab, clinical success rates have shown that therapy accessed through residential and outpatient treatment fosters a sense of community that is far more effective than a weekly video conference. This includes family and group therapy, face-to-face counseling, 12-step meetings, and much more.

The effectiveness of group meetings requires having a group of people to provide support, strength, and positivity when you’re feeling weak. This necessary level of support just isn’t available online in the same way as in real life.

Online Rehab is Not Widely Available Yet

Online rehab does have the potential to be the solution that many addicts and their families need for a successful recovery. However, it’s too soon to tell for sure if it will be. Too little is known about the online rehab programs that exist, most of which are still in a pilot stage. Plus, there is no way of truly knowing if patients are receiving help from certified professionals. In addiction recovery, online or not, there’s no room for mistakes.


Personable Rehab at The Outpatient Treatment Center

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, you need to find a treatment method that works. Inpatient, outpatient, or otherwise, the counselors at The Treatment Center are standing by to answer your questions, address your concerns about treatment, and help you find the strategy that will work for you. For more information about our Outpatient Services, call (844) 211-7944 today.