Online addiction treatment is becoming an increasingly popular choice seeking anonymous treatment programs they can do from the privacy of their own home.
In an age when people conduct their daily lives at the click of a button, from banking to dating, ordering food to booking a holiday, it is little wonder this should also include recovery programs for addiction.
But the big question remains, is online addiction assistance effective?
Of course many doubt the value of Internet programs, but their reach is unparalleled and evidence suggests they can work.
The Life Process Program, developed by renowned addiction expert Dr. Stanton Peele, is one such example of online addiction treatment.
Developed as an alternative option to standard treatments such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Dr. Peele and his colleagues wanted to create a viable option for those that do not agree with 12-step philosophy or did not find success with the steps. Focusing on an individual’s values and goals, the program promotes an ongoing self- narrative in which clients explore their past decisions and alternative scenarios. The goal is to incorporate clients’ sense of purpose and their decision-making to empower them to reject addictive activities in favor of productive ones that lead to eliminating or curtailing substance use.
CARF-accredited as a residential program, Dr. Peele started to realize the benefit of bringing this cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for addictions to an online platform.
For one, instant access—which is offered online—has generally been shown to be crucial in avoiding relapse.
The freedom of self-determination is another crucial advantage of online addiction treatments, like the Life Process Program. If people are there, it’s because they want to be there.
Indeed, outpatient settings have the advantage of allowing people to follow through in their “real” lives by practicing the addiction-fighting techniques they are learning.
Can quality of care and access be guaranteed?
Quality control issues such as recruitment, training and supervision may be even more important for online addiction coaching than for more technologically conventional kinds. An online addiction treatment program is able to call on a pool of non-staff private counselors compatible with the program’s approach and to allow supervisors to monitor sessions between clients and helpers, including by video.
Is an online addiction treatment program able to provide safeguards against client harm comparable to in-person treatment?
Providers face liability issues whenever they try to care for severely addicted individuals on an outpatient basis. Unlike in a residential program, online addiction treatment programs, do not enable us to control the environment and supervise addicts’ lives full-time.
But because of the need for readily accessed help, online may be a big boon for those with the worst addiction problems, many of whom are poor and will be eligible for Medicaid-funded treatment. Harm-reduction programs such as needle exchanges and safe injection sites (like Insite, in Vancouver) focus almost exclusively on this population, who are the most underserved and most at risk for serious misfortune—and for whom instant, on-the-spot help can be lifesaving. Research has consistently shown that simply by bringing injecting addicts into contact with a health (or help) provider makes it more likely that they will begin to address their overall health and safety needs.
Does participating in online addiction treatment prevent people who need more intensive help from seeking it?
Severely addicted clients—ones who might become involved in accidents or develop afflictions—are not suitable for online treatment. Unfortunately, the choice for them is often not between a less intensive and more secure treatment, but whether they develop any therapeutic connection at all. On the other hand, as has been shown with needle exchanges and treatment for depression, giving people access to non- intensive counseling is a definite help and can sometimes serve as a path to more intensive treatment as clients become accustomed to receiving care.
Ultimately online treatment programs for addictions can provide empowering assistance for certain people to do what they must ultimately do for themselves—come to grips with their addictions.
The Life Process Program has helped many people to recover with anonymous and effective online addiction treatment. Find out more about this proven alternative to AA/12 Steps.