Contact Sober Nation's Sponsored Hotline

If you are seeking drug and alcohol related addiction rehab for yourself or a loved one, the hotline is a confidential and convenient solution.

Calls to any general hotline (non-facility) will be answered by Behavioral Health Innovators

Alternatives to finding addiction treatment or learning about substance:

If you wish to contact a specific rehab facility then find a specific rehab facility using our treatment locator page or visit

To learn more about how Sober Nation operates, please contact us

Request A Call Back From A Sober Nation Sponsor

    Prove You Are Human!
    [recaptcha size:compact]

    REQUEST A CALL FROM A REHAB SPECIALIST Please Enter Your Phone Number And Someone Will Be With You Shortly

      Prove You Are Human!
      [recaptcha size:compact]

      Professional & Completely Confidential Help is Standing By. We're here to help!
      CONTACT FORM Request A Call-Back From A Certified Addiction Specialist Send Message
      Sober Nation

      Putting Recovery On The Map

      02-13-23 | By

      Telehealth for Addiction Therapy: Is It Effective?

      Telehealth for Addiction Therapy: Is it Effective?

      In 2018, AspenRidge Recovery, a Colorado-based rehab and treatment center specializing in mental health, complex trauma, and substance use disorders launched AspenRidge REACH, the state’s first comprehensive, 100% online intensive outpatient program (IOP) for adults. Upon realizing that every year thousands of Coloradans who live with substance use disorders and cooccurring mental health issues do not seek treatment due to lack of availability, concerns regarding their privacy, the anxiety associated with stigmatization, and personal career and family responsibilities AspenRidge embarked on establishing a program offering nearly 3 million Coloradans access to IOP services who previously would have continued to be without resources to access qualified recovery care. After COVID-19 it was even more obvious to the behavioral health professions at large just how relevant telehealth and online mental health care would become, and especially with regard to addiction treatment, recovery care, and relapse prevention.

      According to Ethan Castro, CEO of AspenRidge Recovery, “In 2018, nearly 975 Coloradans died from substance overdoses, with rates being highest in rural counties with limited resources and access to treatment,” he said. “ApenRidge REACH makes quality treatment available to approximately 3 million Coloradans who previously did not have access, more than doubling the total availability of IOP services in the state.” 

      As with their in-person IOP, the REACH program is led by licensed clinicians and delivers all the same treatment services directly to the client at home in a private, HIPAA-compliant virtual format. In the same way that many patients access telehealth appointments through internet connections with their primary healthcare providers via cell phones, tablets, and computers patients accessing virtual online therapy for substance use disorders and mental health issues can join an online IOP program. Treatment services in this program include:

      • 12-weeks of individual, group, and family sessions
      • 10+ hours of online therapy each week
      • Dual diagnosis treatment and trauma-informed care
      • Psychiatric and case management support services
      • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), relapse prevention, and ACT (mindfulness-based-treatment modality) curricula
      • Focus on therapeutic process and peer support in every session
      • Addiction and recovery skill building and education
      • Random urinalysis and DNA testing for accountability?

      How Effective Is Virtual Therapy and Online Addiction Treatment?


      Determining the efficacy of any recovery treatment modality is a tricky conversation. How we measure sobriety, long-term recovery, and good mental health while realizing that we are dealing with a disorder that has a high rate of slips and relapses can be confounding. What we do know is that when we are dealing with substance use disorders isolation is among the top reasons most patients relapse. A program that offers accessibility especially if a person is in a rural or remote situation could be the difference between life and death. Since the launch of the online IOP AspenRidge reports a 20% increase in attendance of the REACH sessions. AspenRidge alumni from the in-person program report an astounding 80% rate of sobriety one year or more after starting treatment. After reviewing studies regarding the efficacy of telehealth for addiction therapy and virtual online sessions it is expected that the REACH program can anticipate similar results. Especially since it integrates a number of tools and modalities that ensures participation and accountability such as urinalysis and online attendance and engagement checks. Often, the weak link in many inpatient treatment programs is the continued care plan, or aftercare as it is sometimes referred to once the patient is discharged from the facility or program. This is when the patient is urged to join a follow up IOP, get some type of professional recovery coaching, perhaps seek out sober living or transitional living arrangements, and avail themselves to support groups for recovery with others overcoming their similar substances or behaviors. Far too often the patient leaves treatment with no link to a program and eventually flounders due to availability of quality care in their geographical area, lack of encouragement to continue pursuing a program, and generally feeling left behind by the place where they have just invested the past several weeks of their lives. While some treatment facilities have developed their own app for smartphones giving their patients access to a coach or a Peer Recovery Specialist upon discharge, an online IOP such as the one developed by AspenRidge can serve as a follow up aftercare plan for former patients helping them experience continued support and recovery care therapy as well as serving as an entry point for care to those in more remote areas that lack resources and access to professional in-person care.

      As the online mental health space sees more and more millennials already utilizing other online therapy resources such as BetterHelp and Talkspace, it is a natural progression to see them gravitating toward more specialized areas of mental health care including the addiction recovery space. According to a recent survey by Ctel (a nationally recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit research organization focused on telemedicine and virtual care); millennials were “far more likely to express an interest in telemedicine as compared to prior generations.” The American Psychological Association also reports that telehealth is an acceptable alternative to traditional face-to-face care, is believed to be just as effective, and offers several benefits such as convenience, accessibility, and removal of barriers to care. 

      “As telehealth demand and adoption continue to grow, it’s important that all healthcare providers, including those for mental health and recovery treatment, respond to meet the need,” Castro said. “We’re excited to lead this effort in Colorado, bringing a proven, affordable, and convenient treatment option to people in all areas of the state.”

      While we can anticipate the rise of other care models like REACH to begin to emerge in other states, some addiction recovery professionals are cautiously optimistic regarding their efficacy for their substance use disorder patients. One concern is that patients might see the online recovery group as their primary means of support and not delve into developing recovery partners in their own local communities leaving them vulnerable without a local connection to call upon in a time of crisis. Others question whether online communities really offer the opportunity for patients to experience feeling known as they might in an in-person community. At the end of the day, whether in-person or in a virtual meeting online most clinicians will emphasize that an individual must take responsibility for their level of participation. It is as easy to hide in an in-person program as it is to go dark in an online meeting. Also, with programs like REACH there are individual therapy opportunities built into the program as well that will potentially bridge any gaps that feeling lost in an online group might create for some individuals. A good online program will make sure to offer as many opportunities for the individual to be engaged as possible even though it is on a screen through an internet connection.   

      The consensus of data gathered by multiple studies around telehealth and online therapy modalities indicate that there is no difference in patient satisfaction, efficacy of treatment, and positive outcomes with telehealth therapies as opposed to in-person sessions. It is widely agreed that CBT and Motivational Interviewing is equally effective online as it is in-person further making the case that online recovery models could expect to be equally effective and can be expected to increase in availability. 

      While technology continues to create wonderful opportunities in the areas of taking mental health and recovery care to places that have rarely had access to it in the past, one caution is that it isn’t designed to be one’s only support system. Treating addiction is a multi-pronged approach. It includes not only the mental and emotional and spiritual wellbeing of a patient but also making sure that patient can have access to any prescription medicines that might become necessary. Since somewhere between 45% – 50% of those suffering with a substance use disorder also experience cooccurring mental health issues this will require that they are able to access medication for anything from anxiety disorders and depression to other more complicated mental health challenges. Online programs can help bridge that gap by engaging practitioners within their state and region to be part of their online assessment and treatment team such as what the REACH program offers.

      Despite some of the concerns that emerge regarding this new world of virtual engagement as it pertains to addiction therapy and the treatment of mental health the evidence seems strong that an online IOP can provide an equally satisfactory and effective entry into sobriety and a sober lifestyle by providing quality mental health services around addiction treatment and continued relapse prevention and recovery care. At the end of the day, much depends on the patient and their own personal determination to work any program. The model is only as good as is a patient’s willingness to embrace their reality and implement the tools offered by the program. Online telehealth recovery models can offer encouragement, accountability, and engagement to those who may have had no other access to recovery care resources and in doing so have the opportunity to save countless lives. 

      More About AspenRidge Recovery


      AspenRidge REACH online addiction treatment is currently available to Colorado residents. AspenRidge Recovery accepts most major insurance policies and offers affordable options for those without insurance. For more information visit or call (970) 818-5287 see if this program is a good fit for you.

      AspenRidge Recovery is a Joint Commission-accredited, dual-diagnosis treatment center that specializes in treating co-occurring substance use disorders, mental health disorders, and complex trauma for adults. Using a combination of holistic and evidence-based mental health, trauma, and addiction treatment modalities, AspenRidge provides everyone with a personalized, unique treatment plan that addresses their specific needs. AspenRidge Recovery has two physical locations in Lakewood and Fort Collins, Colorado. For more information, visit AspenRidge Recovery.

      AspenRidge/REACH Online Recovery Resources


      • AspenRidge is also offering a 15% discount on AspenRidge REACH Online IOP Program for Colorado residents experiencing hardship in this time.  If you or someone you know is ready to get help, please give us a call at (970) 818-5287 or email for a free initial consult.


      • AspenRidge Recovery is hosting online recovery support meetings open to the public every Monday Wednesday and Friday at 8PM. Click Here to Join


      • Marty Rein, AspenRidge’s Clinical Director is hosting a free session on codependency to support friends and family members of those struggling with addiction on Thursday March 26th at 6PM. Click here to register.
      • AspenRidge is hosting a free community meditation Friday, March 27th at 9AM in collaboration with Harmony Foundation. The meditation will be 15-20 minutes followed by Q&A. Click here to register












      Join The Conversation

      Leave a Reply

      Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

      Reboot Your Recovery