Online or in person, it doesn’t matter where you seek help for addiction. All that matters is that you do find help.
For some people, however, the web is the way to go.
Whether people live in a rural area without a lot of resources, or have busy schedules that keep them away from meetings or a 30-day stay in a center, or would rather focus on recovery in the comfort of their own homes, online rehab assistance can keep people’s eyes on the prize of sobriety.
Get Online, Get Off Substance Use Disorder
There is evidence that web-based therapies can be a big help in rehabilitation. Yale University researchers found that an online program — CBT4CBT (Computer Based Training for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) — designed to teach coping strategies gave people an edge in battling their addictions.
The study included users of alcohol, cocaine, and opioids. It focused on three types of treatments: group therapy, individual sessions, and web-based CBT4CBT. The last treatment included short films, quizzes, and practical exercises that taught cognitive behavioral therapies to help people address problems they typically face in recovery. Members of the web therapy group also met briefly with a therapist each week to follow up and report on their progress.
About half of the subjects quit the group and stopped attending one-on-one therapy sessions before the study was complete, but only a quarter of the subjects dropped out of the web-based treatment.
Yale University first launched the program in part to make CBT therapy — which has proven effective in treating substance use disorders — more accessible to treatment seekers. Other studies are in the works to further gauge the success of different types of treatment protocols.
Rehab Help Online
There aren’t really a huge number of online rehabilitation programs, but there are a wealth of online resources to lead sobriety seekers to the people, places, and information they need to succeed.
Online addiction treatment means a person isn’t limited by geography. It also can mean more privacy, which is helpful when people want to find help but are afraid of being stigmatized. For someone with mobility restrictions, finding online rehab programs may be a godsend as well.
When people seek online drug rehab or online alcohol addiction help, they may find it easier to swiftly find like-minded individuals seeking the same sober outcomes.
If being able to log in for treatment makes the difference between seeking help or not, then online drug and alcohol addiction assistance should definitely be an option.
Online Addiction Treatment
When making a life-altering decision, such as finding rehabilitation online, a visit to the web can be a great starting point.
The Substance Use Disorder and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has a website, FindTreatment.gov, that gives visitors a wealth of information, including treatments by location, recovery options, and therapy costs.
It should be noted that online recovery programs typically offer better results after people undergo professional detoxification (detox) procedures first. People should always undergo such detox procedures under medical supervision. They provide safer, more comfortable ways to help people through the intense withdrawal process.
Depending on the addictive substance, a do-it-yourself detox can be deadly, especially in cases of severe, prolonged alcohol abuse. If not monitored properly, going cold turkey from alcohol use (abruptly quitting drinking) can put people at risk for seizures, heart attacks, and strokes.
Help Is Just a Few Clicks Away
There are online support groups galore, but a great many aren’t programs for people seeking rehab online. Rather, the groups offer support that supplements the recovery process.
Sobriety groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) have online meetings. Visit 12step-online.com and there are options to search for chats and meetings, including for AA, Narcotics Anonymous, Al-Anon, and Nar-Anon. There are also group forums for men, women, Christians, and other groups.
Other groups include:
- LifeRing Secular Recovery is a nonprofit group. It’s for recovering substance users. It’s not antireligion, but it doesn’t have a higher power belief system, unlike other sobriety groups. LifeRing holds online meetings, hosts chat rooms, and offers other forums.
- Women for Sobriety offers help for women wanting to overcome substance use disorders. It offers a New Life Program that features 13 Acceptance Statements that focus on positive reinforcement and thinking and also promotes relaxation, meditation, exercise, diet, and group therapies. Women for Sobriety has weekly meetings in the U.S. and Canada, but it also has an online forum where women can discuss their struggles and successes and attend daily (if needed) meetings via text and chat features.
- Groups that focus on sobriety for smaller subsets of the population (women, women of color, Latina women, agnostic, transgender, etc.) may make for a safer or more inclusive-feeling space to focus on recovery. Women who may not want to become a man’s so-called 13th step (an occurrence where an experienced support group member tries to date a new group member) may prefer a female-only group as a primary means to recovery or as a supplemental support resource.
- Reddit has a popular thread, r/StopDrinking, that has more than 200,000 members. It’s an online community focused on recovery. It’s not a portal to some online rehabilitation program, but the site’s subscribers discuss challenges, success stories and more.
- Secular Organizations for Sobriety (also known as SOS) is a nonprofit network of local groups focused on helping people achieve sobriety. It lists online meetings.
- Sober Mommies — the name is self-explanatory — has meetings, both in person and online.
- SMART Recovery (Self-Management and Recovery Training) bills itself as a “global community of mutual-support groups.” It has a science-based 4-Point Program and offers online meetings, chat rooms that are available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, community forums, and more. It features various ongoing discussions in its groups, covering topics such as coping with urges and managing behaviors.
- Recovery Resource Hub provides a wealth of resources, including information about community events, counseling, and recovery.
- Still other groups are both narrow and broad. SHE RECOVERS is an organization for women seeking recovery. It’s not limited to substance use, though. Eating disorders, cancer, grief, low self-esteem and “other life challenges” are part of the organization’s goals. The group provides coaching and offers free programs but takes donations to cover costs and encourages people to “pay what you can.”Some groups also have retreats and seminars; most require money to cover costs. Many online support groups require a log-in before people can jump in and begin chatting.
Some rehabilitation centers offer online treatment or video conferencing options, including individual, group, and family counseling sessions. Each facility is unique, and online treatment is still a new field. Because online treatment can be more cost-effective (saving time and money on brick-and-mortar facilities and travel, for starters) and is showing promising results, there’s a good chance that more centers will offer some sort of online treatment, at least as a supplement to traditional recovery stays.
Many health care providers and insurance companies, after all, are making online doctor visits and quick care clinics more accessible. Treating addiction to opioids or alcohol is a bigger investment of time and money compared to treating the common cold or flu, obviously, but making addiction treatment more readily available and accessible may be the push someone needs.
- ncbi.nlm.nih.gov – Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Substance Use Disorders
- womenforsobriety.org – Community
- pubs.niaaa.nih.gov – Complications of Alcohol Withdrawal
- news.yale.edu – Computer-Based Behavioral Therapy Effective Tool for Addiction Treatment
- findtreatment.gov – Find a Treatment Facility Near You
- drugabuse.gov – Medical Detoxification
- news.yale.edu – Online Program Outperforms Standard Addiction Treatment
- recoveryresourcehub.org – Recovery Resource Hub
- reddit.com – Stop Drinking
- washingtonpost.com – The Surprising Internet Forum Some Alcoholics Are Choosing Over AA
Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.
Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.