Many of the things people need to do can now be done online. Buying groceries, going to school, and even getting a bank loan can occur online. In addition, clients can now find substance abuse treatment online. LA Detox of Los Angeles, California, offers online options for substance abuse treatment. In this way, we hope to broaden our reach and remove barriers to treatment that many people face when seeking help for addiction.

What Is Online Substance Abuse Treatment?

Online substance abuse treatment occurs via any online device. Addiction professionals provide care through video, audio, text, or all of the above. Lastly, the level and type of care clients receive depend on their program and the type of therapy.

Woman beginning substance abuse treatment online

During online treatment, addiction professionals use the same therapeutic techniques, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), motivational interviewing (MI), and group therapy. Clients can still attend peer support meetings to build recovery skills. The only difference is that it is not in person but through any online device, however.

Most online substance abuse treatments provide care via all communication methods. Nonetheless, some online therapy sessions are most effective through a video conference. Thus, video conferencing more closely resembles in-person sessions and allows providers to verify a person’s wellbeing. 

Methods Of Online Substance Abuse Treatment

Online therapy sessions for substance abuse rely on a variety of methods, which include the following:

Therapist-Led Treatment 

Therapists can meet clients through video, phone calls, emails, and chats. To ensure privacy, sessions should be held through HIPAA-compliant platforms. These sessions can include group or individual sessions. In addition, a therapist might follow up via text messages or emails between sessions.

Computer-Assisted Treatment  

Clients can participate in interactive programs that guide them through recovery. Treatment occurs through a series of programs or videos. Clients can also take assessments, follow tutorials, and complete assignments without interacting with a person. Last but not least, these programs can occur online or via software.

Web-Assisted Treatment 

Substance abuse treatment uses mobile apps and websites to assist in recovery. For instance, a client can install an app to remind them of upcoming appointments. Additionally, they can draft journal entries, or read positive affirmations. Several types of web-assisted treatment are available for all types of physical and mental health concerns. Some also include substance abuse treatment online.

Online Supplemental Treatment 

Supplementing traditional treatment with web-based therapy is growing in popularity. In fact, combining both online and in-person treatments can increase the success of treatment. 

Benefits Of Substance Treatment Online

Overall, online treatment has become increasingly popular. In addition, under the right circumstances and depending on a person’s addiction, online treatment can be highly beneficial. While traditional substance abuse treatment is the best route for many people, many others are finding success with online treatment.

Thus, the benefits of online substance abuse treatment include but are not limited to the following:

Treatment Longevity

Research suggests that clients who participate in online treatment stay in treatment longer than in some traditional treatments. Furthermore, for some, online treatment is more effective. People who have struggled in traditional treatment have found that combining online tools increased their participation in treatment. 


Online substance abuse treatment can take place anywhere with an internet connection. Since most people have a cell phone with internet access, treatment and support are available at the push of a button. This is also great for those with busy schedules who struggle to make in-person appointments.


People hiding their substance abuse from friends, family, and coworkers might fear that their secret will be revealed if they seek treatment. However, online substance abuse treatment takes away that risk. Being in the privacy and comfort of home helps people feel safe enough to expose their struggles.

Access in Rural Areas

Alcohol, tobacco, and drug use are high in small towns, but access to treatment is minimal. Around 34% of adults in rural areas struggle with substance abuse issues. Online substance abuse treatment allows individuals in rural areas to receive treatment. 

Treatment from Home

Those who have a difficult time leaving home or are homebound for health issues can easily access substance abuse treatment online. Still, others do not have access to traditional substance abuse treatment because they lack transportation. However, with online treatment, those in need can get treatment without transportation being a factor.

Is Substance Abuse Treatment Online Safe?

The number one priority of any online treatment provider must be confidentiality and security. Laws and regulations that protect clients include the following:

  • HIPAA, the Health and Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, provides rules to protect a person’s Protected Health Information (PHI). This applies to online medical services the same way it works in office settings.
  • HIPAA refers to a person’s PHI and health history. But, it does not apply to the treatment itself. In an office setting, privacy can be controlled due to walls and doors. However, during online substance abuse treatment, the amount of privacy cannot always be controlled on the receiver’s end. 

Thus, all online interactions, whether video, text, voice, or email, should be encrypted. In other words, it should be scrambled into something that can’t be read. All data should ensure the highest level of privacy. 

The 3 ways to know this information about the treatment facility are:

  1. Certification
  2. Accreditation
  3. Licensure

A trusted substance abuse treatment center should be licensed in their state. The facility should also have accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). CARF accredits more than 6,700 treatment centers. As a note, the licensing and accreditation process is rigorous and ensures the client’s privacy and confidentiality. 

Online Substance Abuse Treatment Programs

Many therapy programs that are provided in traditional substance abuse treatment can also be offered online. 

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based form of substance abuse treatment that can be provided online. CBT focuses on identifying and avoiding negative thoughts and behaviors. Thus, CBT can help individuals recognize triggers that can lead to relapse and how to avoid them. 

Dialectical-Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a therapist-led structured conversation that allows individuals to recognize the effects of substance abuse. Clients learn that changing negative thinking produces positive behaviors. In addition, DBT is great for those who struggle with emotional regulation and relationship issues.

Family Therapy is an essential aspect of substance abuse treatment. Families in treatment learn to support their loved ones and encourage lasting sobriety. With substance abuse treatment online, families can connect no matter where they live.

Online Peer Support For Substance Abuse 

With ever-changing technologies and the use of social media, support for substance abuse is at its highest. Before the internet, people received support via the phone or in person. Now there are online meetings, addiction forums, Twitter, Facebook groups, apps, and many other ways to receive support. 

There are many benefits to online support for substance abuse, including:


Online support groups are great for individuals who are uncomfortable with others seeing them. Those who fear their friends or family finding out or those who have social issues can receive support from their homes’ safety. 


People are on the internet 24/7, so finding support at any hour is possible. In the middle of the night, a person may connect with someone across the world. An individual’s support group size is always growing through the internet.

Online Meetings 

It is easy to access meetings online through Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA). These popular support groups also offer apps for those in recovery. In addition, other groups, like SMART Recovery, also have online platforms.

Individualized Pace 

Some people may feel rushed or that they are falling behind in treatment. But with online treatment, clients can go as fast or slow as they feel comfortable. Some people might send a text message to their support system daily, while others might check in once a week.


People are always sharing links to educational information. During online meetings, many people share resources about recovery and addiction with one another. As a result, peers learn more about their symptoms and sobriety. 

Maintenance Tool  

Many apps and support groups are great at helping a person maintain sobriety. A person could get notifications on their phones about meetings or simply as a check-in with their mental wellness, for instance. Other apps also offer daily readings and meditations to help a person focus on recovery.


Many individuals may feel uncomfortable during in-person support meetings. Women may feel vulnerable around men and vice versa. In addition, people with social anxiety might fail to attend in-person meetings. Thus, online support groups eliminate some of these barriers.

Begin Substance Abuse Treatment Online Today

If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, LA Detox in Los Angeles, California, can help. Our licensed substance abuse professionals are here to answer all your questions about starting a life of sobriety. By offering substance abuse treatment online, we aim to help more people gain access to treatment.

Contact us today, and we will help you choose the program to fit your addiction needs.