In the U.S. alone, over 29.5 million people (ages 12 and older) grapple with alcohol use disorder (AUD), with factors like genetic disposition, social and cultural influences, and stress acting as catalysts.
For those caught in the cycle, addiction can feel like a dark and lonely path with no way out. There is, however, light ahead once you summon the courage to seek help, whether for yourself or a loved one.
Fortunately, innovations in telecare and virtual rehab services are making it easier and less overwhelming than ever to seek help. You can now access peer support, recovery programs, and medical care from the comfort and privacy of your home, regardless of which corner of the world you’re in.
Here’s how to find the kind of online alcohol treatment program that fits your needs.
Overview of Alcohol Use Disorder
Alcohol use disorder, or alcohol addiction, refers to compulsive consumption that turns into dependence.
As per the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), an AUD diagnosis requires experiencing two or more symptoms in 12 months.
Some of the symptoms include:
- Cravings or strong desires/urges to use alcohol.
- Consuming alcohol over longer periods or in larger amounts than intended.
- Unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control alcohol consumption.
- Recurrent alcohol use despite negative impact on work, health, or relationships.
- High tolerance—the need for increased amounts to achieve intoxication.
- Reduced social, occupational, or recreational activities as a result of alcohol use.
- A large portion of time is spent in activities associated with alcohol.
These patterns can range from mild to severe based on the number of criteria met.
Binge drinking, defined as having 4+ drinks in a 2-hour period for women and 5+ for men, also qualifies for an AUD diagnosis if it occurs at least once a week over several months.
While alcohol may seem to “help” at first, it ends up causing far more problems than it solves. The effects of alcohol on the brain lead to distorted thinking that fuels addiction. Without treatment, AUDs usually get worse over time.
The good news is that AUDs are highly treatable with evidence-based care. But it all starts with the decision to make a change and take the first step toward regaining your health, happiness, and sense of freedom.
Benefits of Online Alcohol Addiction Treatment
Online outpatient alcohol treatment services provide clinical treatment remotely using telehealth platforms, where you can participate from the comfort of your home using your phone, tablet, or computer.
This approach has a wide range of benefits, including:
Convenience and Accessibility
The most notable advantage of online alcohol treatment is the convenience and flexibility it provides, which makes it easier to stick with the treatment long-term.
There’s no need to rearrange work schedules, childcare, or other family obligations to attend treatment. You can join counseling sessions, support groups, and more on a schedule that fits your lifestyle.
Some treatment programs even allow participation from different countries or states, making it possible to receive the care you deserve wherever you are in the world.
Privacy and Anonymity
Virtual rehab allows patients to maintain privacy while getting help. You won’t experience the stigma of walking into a treatment clinic, and you won’t have to disclose to coworkers the reason for taking time off.
The anonymity also gives those hesitant about in-person rehab an accessible option without the risk of judgment, providing sensitive care in a comfortable setting.
Quality online treatment programs utilize proven treatment techniques like cognitive behavioral therapy, contingency management, and motivational interviewing.
Counseling is led by licensed healthcare professionals who are trained in virtually delivering these specialized forms of therapy.
Note: Seven out of eight reviewed studies found that telehealth addiction treatment is just as effective as in-person therapy, according to a literature review published in Psychiatric Services in 2021.
Online addiction programs are more affordable than traditional inpatient or outpatient programs since there are no facility costs and they require fewer staff members. Also, many online therapy options are covered by insurance.
Aside from that, online treatment eliminates the need to commute to and from the treatment center, which cuts the costs of gas or transit, wear and tear, parking fees, etc.
Another advantage of online rehab is the ability to fully customize the treatment plan based on each patient’s unique needs and circumstances.
Upon enrollment, you’ll work with a team of providers to create a personalized program that addresses your specific addiction history, risks, complications, and goals. The program will then be adjusted according to your progress.
This individualized treatment approach helps keep participants comfortable and motivated.
Core Components of Virtual Alcohol Rehab
Online alcohol treatment programs provide comprehensive, structured care based on proven methodologies. While the approach will differ based on the provider, many incorporate the following core components.
Screening and Assessment
Upon enrolling in a virtual recovery program, participants undergo thorough screening and assessment that typically involve but aren’t limited to:
- Lab tests
- Review of medical history
- Physical exams
- Psychiatric evaluation
The goal of this process is to identify any co-occurring medical or mental illness that may need treatment alongside addiction to alcohol or other substances.
By assessing health status and potential risk factors, treatment providers can create a fully customized program for each individual participant.
24/7 Medical Care
24/7 access to medical care from doctors and psychiatrists is a hallmark of reputable online rehab programs, where you can connect on-demand via phone, video chat, or even text if any concerning symptoms arise during treatment that require prompt attention.
Common reasons you may want to reach out during treatment include:
- You’re reaching out for general check-ins.
- You have medication questions to which you need answers.
- You need help with a mental health emergency.
- You’re experiencing side effects or detox issues.
One-on-one counseling is a core component of virtual alcohol treatment. This is when you’re scheduled for a regular meeting with a licensed therapist via video conferencing.
These private sessions help participants process their emotions, identify personal triggers, learn coping strategies to prevent relapse, and work through past traumas that might be driving their substance abuse.
In addition to individual therapy, virtual rehab programs provide group therapy sessions.
Led by a clinician, small groups of participants at similar points in the recovery journey may choose to meet to discuss challenges, successes, healthy coping techniques, and more.
The shared experiences provide motivation and a sense of accountability. Moreover, support from peers facing the same struggle helps forge powerful connections.
Family Therapy Sessions
Another common element of online treatment plans is family therapy. These sessions involve loved ones, if willing, in helping repair any damaged relationships and establish a supportive home environment.
These sessions aim to help those struggling with addiction understand how their past drinking behaviors impacted family members while teaching relatives how to assist in recovery constructively.
Best Candidates for Online Therapy Sessions
Virtual rehab programs can help anyone struggling with addiction, but they’re especially beneficial for:
- Those hesitant about traditional rehab whether because of costs or privacy concerns.
- People without access to nearby care or needing access to international treatment.
- Individuals with mild to moderate alcohol addiction—severe cases often need inpatient support.
- Anyone seeking continued care and ongoing support after inpatient treatment.
- Those needing a flexible schedule due to commitments like work, school, or family.
- Individuals needing psychiatric care alongside addiction treatment.
- Anyone wanting to vet options first and then ease into the process through online assessments.
- People who relapse and need to quickly resume treatment and modify their program.
Getting the Most Out of Online Alcohol Treatment
Enrolled in a program? Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your experience:
- Attend Every Session: It’s important to prioritize appointments and engage fully with your treatment team to see noteworthy results. Consistency and honest participation are key.
- Do Your Assigned Homework: From regular self-monitoring to completing journaling exercises and reading materials, the tasks you’re assigned in an online treatment program play a major role in the recovery process and shouldn’t be neglected.
- Lean on Your Loved Ones: Let your family and friends know how they can best support your recovery. Not only will their involvement create a caring network, but it will also strengthen your bond, easing the recovery process.
- Remove Temptations: All alcohol and drinking-related triggers should, ideally, be eliminated from your environment, even if it means asking your loved ones not to drink around you.
- Practice Open Communication: You need to discuss your challenges as openly and honestly as possible with your counselor so they can quickly adjust your treatment.
- Be Patient: Healing from addiction takes time. Don’t get discouraged by setbacks or relapses. Instead, you should let your providers know you’re struggling so that they can help you.
Last but not least, take things one day at a time. Celebrate and cherish every alcohol-free day, all the while learning new skills and techniques to maintain your sobriety.
Start Your Recovery Journey Today
Many assume that treatment is only necessary if you’ve “hit rock bottom.” But in reality, the earlier you intervene, the better your odds of regaining control before consequences escalate.
Don’t wait until life becomes unmanageable to seek help! If it feels like abusing alcohol—or any substance—is taking over your life, book an appointment with Curednation today and we’ll provide the help you deserve.