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Alcohol & Health
Treatment
Helping Alcoholics
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Updated on April 14, 2023
6 min read

Online Treatment for Alcoholism

How Does Online Therapy Work?

Also known as teletherapy or telepsychology, online therapy is a type of mental health service provided via:

  • Internet
  • Video
  • Email 
  • Text

Online treatment for alcoholism and other addictions has been made even more popular over the last few years by the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, online therapy is used by millions to connect with licensed, qualified mental health professionals from the comfort of their homes.

This type of therapy is similar to regular therapy. However, it’s provided online instead of in an office. 

Sessions are usually an hour long. They may occur weekly or at whatever frequency you and your therapist decide. You may have limited contact with your therapist between sessions through text messages and emails.

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Is Online Alcoholism Treatment Effective?

Online treatment for alcoholism can be effective for some people. 

However, its effectiveness depends on various factors, including the:

  • Severity of the alcohol addiction
  • Commitment to treatment
  • Type of treatment program
  • Level of support from family and friends

Online therapy may help people cut back on substance use immediately after treatment and in long-term follow-ups.3

However, further research is required. This is partly to explore and compare the effectiveness of different online options.

Other research suggests that online therapy may one day outperform traditional therapy in various ways.

The American Journal of Psychiatry discovered that participants using online-based treatment had higher success rates. They were also less likely to drop out of treatment than those who attended individual or group counseling in person.4

Is online therapy covered by health insurance?

Online therapy can be paid for with health insurance. However, you’ll need to check with your insurance company to ensure they cover online therapy.

Most insurance companies have a list of providers they cover. This list will often include information about which therapists provide online sessions.

If you can’t find a therapist covered by your insurance, you may be able to pay for the meetings out-of-pocket and then be reimbursed by your insurance company.

8 Places to Get Online Treatment for Alcoholism

Here are some resources on where to find online treatment for alcoholism.

BetterHelp

BetterHelp is an online counseling platform providing individual and group therapy for alcoholism and other mental health conditions. 

People can access licensed therapists through: 

  • Text messaging
  • Online chat
  • Phone
  • Video 

Sunnyside

Sunnyside is an online addiction treatment program providing a range of services, including: 

  • Teletherapy
  • Peer support
  • Self-help resources

The program is designed to help people overcome alcoholism and achieve long-term recovery.

Tempest

Tempest Recovery is an online sobriety program. It focuses on a holistic approach to alcohol addiction treatment. 

The program provides:

  • Coaching
  • Group support
  • Access to online courses and resources

She Recovers

She Recovers is an online community and support network for women in recovery from alcoholism and other addictions.

The program provides access to online:

  • Retreats
  • Workshops
  • Courses

Members can also join a private Facebook group to connect with and support each other.

Man Therapy

Man Therapy is an online platform offering resources and support for men dealing with mental health issues, including alcoholism. 

The program provides access to: 

  • Anonymous mental health screenings
  • A self-help toolbox
  • A directory of local treatment resources

Lionrock Recovery

Lionrock Recovery is an online addiction treatment program. It provides individual and group therapy for alcohol addiction and other substance use disorders. 

The program offers access to licensed therapists via video sessions. It also provides a range of treatment options to suit various needs and preferences.

Sober Grid

Sober Grid is a digital health company providing mental health addiction care globally in over 170 countries. The mobile user base is the largest social networking app for people with substance abuse issues on a mobile platform.

The app enables people to:

  • Connect with others in recovery
  • Share their experiences with alcohol
  • Access a range of recovery resources

Talkspace

Talkspace is an online therapy platform offering individual counseling for various mental health conditions, including alcoholism. 

The platform provides a selection of treatment plans to fit various needs and budgets. 

Talkspace offers: 

  • Access to licensed therapists through text, audio, and video sessions
  • Support groups for people experiencing addiction or recovery
  • Access to a library of self-help resources
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Pros and Cons of Online Treatment for Alcoholism

Here are some pros and cons of online treatment for alcoholism.

Pros

  • Enhanced privacy: Social stigmas still surround addiction treatment. Some people may worry about being recognized when arriving or leaving an addiction treatment center. As a result, they may not feel comfortable seeking help. Accessing treatment from anywhere can more effectively control who knows about your therapy. It can remove some of the fear of treatment.
  • Accessibility: Around 75% of people with a substance use disorder don't receive treatment.2 Many people can't physically access treatment. The availability of online therapy may help make it more likely for people to receive treatment. Online treatment can help people who may not be able to physically attend therapy get the help that they need. Online options are also available anytime.
  • More Options: Online therapy can sometimes help as a first step toward more intensive treatment. In some cases, people who try web-based therapy first may be more likely to look for traditional, face-to-face treatment services in the future. Studies have proven that people may also be more likely to continue with face-to-face therapy when it’s supplemented with online treatment.5
  • Effectiveness: Traditional addiction treatments often have high dropout rates and are underutilized. This suggests that traditional options may not completely meet people’s needs. Online treatment may help fill this gap for those who aren’t looking for or sticking with conventional therapy.
  • Affordability: Online treatment for alcoholism is typically more cost-effective than in-person therapy.

Cons

  • Harder to assess body language: Therapists may find it harder to read body language when working with people online. Sessions might feel less intimate. As you communicate with a therapist through a screen, sessions can feel less personal, making it harder to open up, trust, and be vulnerable.1
  • Potential technical issues: Depending on your location and circumstances, your internet connection may be poor. There can also be disruptions due to bad weather. These technology issues can sometimes complicate the therapy process.
  • Security and privacy concerns: Online therapy may pose security and privacy risks. This is mainly if the therapist or client uses unsecured technology or accesses sessions from a public or shared computer.
  • Limited access to resources: Some online therapy options may have limited access to resources and services to help treat alcoholism. For example, group therapy or in-person support groups.
  • Inability to address emergencies: Online therapy may not be suitable for people in crisis or experiencing a medical emergency related to alcoholism. In these situations, in-person treatment may be required for the person’s safety and well-being.
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How to Get Started with Online Alcoholism Treatment

Reaching out to a qualified therapist is typically the first step in online alcoholism treatment.

Some ways to find a therapist include:

  • Searching an online directory
  • Asking your primary care provider for a referral
  • Researching online therapy providers

As with face-to-face therapy, it’s essential to find an experienced therapist you feel comfortable with. While finding someone you can connect with may seem daunting, it’s worth the effort.

Summary

  • Online therapy is a type of mental health service provided via the internet, video, email, and text
  • This type of therapy may help people cut back on substance use. However, more research is necessary
  • Some popular resources for online alcoholism treatment include BetterHelp, Sunnyside, and Tempest
  • Pros for online alcoholism therapy include its affordability, accessibility, and privacy. Cons include potential technical issues and the lack of intimacy
Updated on April 14, 2023
6 sources cited
Updated on April 14, 2023
All Alcoholrehabhelp content is medically reviewed or fact checked to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable media sites, academic research institutions and, whenever possible, medically peer reviewed studies.
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All content created by Alcohol Rehab Help is sourced from current scientific research and fact-checked by an addiction counseling expert. However, the information provided by Alcohol Rehab Help is not a substitute for professional treatment advice.
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