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Virtual rehab helps drug addicts by providing online therapy for alcohol or drug addiction, allowing those unable to access traditional rehabs to get the help they need.

While online addiction treatment is not a new concept, many restrictions triggered by the pandemic – social distancing and self-isolation, for instance – prompted more drug and alcohol rehabs to offer virtual rehab services. Most estimates suggest that less than 10% of those who need addiction treatment engage with professional therapy. Virtual rehab programs could help to narrow this significant treatment gap.

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What Is Virtual Rehab?

Virtual rehab is also known as online rehab or remote therapy. These terms are used to describe a specific type of telehealth that delivers addiction treatment programs and services through a secure online platform. 

All you need to engage with online rehab services is an internet connection and an internet-enabled device. 

An online addiction treatment program works in the same way as a traditional rehab program. You can access the same counseling services and behavioral therapies you would find at an inpatient or outpatient rehab center, connecting with licensed and certified specialists using video conferencing applications like Skype. 

In addition to real-time remote therapy sessions, many treatment centers providing virtual rehab offer interactive videos and around-the-clock support to help you more confidently transition from active addiction to ongoing recovery. 

Some people choose to engage with an online treatment program for alcoholism or drug addiction instead of regular rehab while others supplement outpatient addiction treatment with online therapy sessions. 

Virtual rehab is especially effective in these situations: 

  • For those who live in remote or isolated areas: If you live in an area lacking in high quality addiction treatment centers, access to remote therapy widens your options for recovery.
  • For anyone with a busy schedule: Many busy professionals might find it challenging to take a month away from the office to attend residential rehab. Even intensive outpatient therapy could be difficult to fit around your commitments. Remote rehab lets you get the treatment you need without compromising your personal and professional commitments.
  • For those with disabilities or physical limitations: If you struggle with mobility, virtual rehab is a seamless way to kickstart your recovery.
  • For students: If you run into problems with substance abuse while at college, a virtual rehab program will allow you to connect with a therapist without impacting your academic schedule.
An image of a woman engaging in a virtual rehab, group therapy session

What Happens at Virtual Rehab?

Virtual rehab typically involves a personalized combination of the following services: 

  • Individual therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Psychiatric care
  • Family therapy

Individual therapy

Whether you attend inpatient rehab, outpatient rehab, or virtual rehab, individual counseling is a core component of all addiction treatment plans. 

With online individual counseling, you’ll meet remotely with a counselor or therapist to unpack the specifics of your addiction. 

Virtual one-to-one therapy sessions also work well for treating the symptoms of co-occurring mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, or PTSD. 

Addictions and mental health conditions often respond favorably to psychotherapy – talk therapies like CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and DBT (dialectical behavior therapy). You will work remotely with a therapist to identify what triggers you to use substances. Your online therapist will then help you to create healthy coping mechanisms so you maximize your chances of sustained recovery without relapse.

Group Therapy

With virtual group therapy sessions, you join other members of the remote rehab program and the treatment team via conference calls. 

While group sessions lack the personalized input of one-to-one sessions, you’ll benefit from the support of peers undergoing similar experiences. Additionally, you will have access to a sober support network, a valuable asset during your ongoing recovery.

Psychiatric care

When you engage with a virtual rehab program, you will regularly meet with your treatment team to check that all your mental health needs are met. 

The treatment team will include specialists in the diagnosis and management of both addictions, mental health conditions, and co-occurring disorders (dual diagnosis). 

In addition to counseling and psychotherapy, many treatment programs for alcohol use disorders, substance use disorders, and mental health disorders involves MAT (medication-assisted treatment). If you require MAT as part of your treatment plan, you will need to physically obtain medication, but all therapy can still be delivered online. 

Family therapy

The consequences of addiction ripple outwards beyond the person using substances. Involving family members in treatment can be challenging in both inpatient and outpatient settings. 

Virtual family therapy, by contrast, makes it easier for loved ones to participate in family therapy, helping to improve communication and minimize conflict between family members with the help of an experienced intermediary.

Benefits of Online Addiction Treatment

You may be wondering, “Does rehab work?” So if you are unsure about whether virtual rehab makes sense for you, consider the following key benefits of remote therapy: 

  1. Total discretion and the ability to engage with addiction treatment without experiencing any stigma.
  2. Complete flexibility to arrange therapy sessions around your existing commitments.
  3. No need to travel for therapy sessions.
  4. Ideal for anyone living far from reputable rehab centers.
  5. Ability to develop sober relationships and to take advantage of peer support during remote group therapy sessions.
  6. Imparts skills and techniques useful in your ongoing recovery.
  7. Access the same services and therapies as in residential rehab.
  8. One of the most affordable forms of addiction treatment.
  9. Highly effective for the treatment of mental health disorders as well as addictions.
  10. Individualized treatment plan.
image of woman on beach representing phases of recovery

Virtual Rehab at California Detox

Rates of drug addiction and alcoholism have increased dramatically over the past two years, according to NSDUH 2020. If you are one of the 40 million people grappling with an addiction, we can help you initiate your recovery here at California Detox. 

In addition to our medical detox service, inpatient rehab, and outpatient rehab, we also provide virtual outpatient rehab for those unable to visit our beachside treatment center in California. 

By choosing to engage with our remote rehab program, you’ll benefit from the same evidence-based therapies offered in our face-to-face programs from the comfort of your home.

After a course of counseling, psychotherapy, and MAT if required, you will have a firm foundation from which you can start embracing sober living. 

To get started right away with addiction treatment without leaving home, reach out to California Detox today. Whether you need virtual alcohol rehab or virtual drug rehab, call 949.390.5377.


Telehealth and teletherapy have been shown to be effective ways to combat addiction and improve chances of sobriety.
Virtual rehab is a great option if there are reasons you can’t attend an inpatient or outpatient rehab in person, however those are still the preferred options for addiction treatment.


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