One of the most challenging problems in life is overcoming addiction. Not only are there severe mental and physical withdrawal symptoms to manage, but facing people in a public setting can be difficult. We have researched and reviewed the top online addiction and substance abuse websites and detail the services they provide.
Best Online Addiction and Substance Abuse Counseling Sites
BetterHelp is the largest online counseling platform in the world and helps its clients with a number of addictions. BetterHelp has many different counselors, but all are nationally certified and licensed counselors with experience in treating addiction and substance abuse.
Clients are matched with experienced counselors who help with addiction and underlying issues like trauma, depression, anxiety, and grief. Clients create an account and get access to their chatroom at any time. Therapists return messages whenever they log in to the system. Live video sessions can also be scheduled from the chatroom.
BetterHelp is one of the most affordable online therapy options, with prices ranging from $40 to $70 a week (billed monthly), with no contract necessary. The company also has a low acceptance rate for new doctors and counselors, who must have special qualifications and experience to be listed on the site.
BetterHelp provides multiple options for meetings, from anonymous chat to video or phone call messages, or even live chat with video and phone connectivity. You can change therapists at any time and start your therapy on the same day of signing up. Read BetterHelp Review in Detail.
Online-Therapy provides a complete “toolbox” of services besides chat therapy. Founded by Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo, Ph.D., the site has been providing flexible online services since 2009 with advanced treatment based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
The site assigns therapists to new clients, and the same therapist stays with you from beginning to end. Therapists come from academic backgrounds and meet all licensing and certification requirements, along with office experience.
Besides unlimited messaging, users also get a toolbox of services like activity planning, journaling, and worksheets. The addiction treatment at online-therapy.com is based on CBT. Therapists will assign “homework” in the form of worksheets that are also accessible online. You can message your therapist anytime if you feel stuck or need any help. You can also schedule live video sessions based on your subscription plan.
The Basic plan costs $31.96 a week and includes daily therapist feedback, while the Standard plan costs $47.96 and offers extra therapist support through chat and messaging. The Premium package costs $63.96 a week but gives you more time with a therapist, including more video and voice chats and “express replies.”
TalkSpace connects clients with a licensed therapist anywhere and any time, from any device. The company claims to have thousands of therapists, all licensed and experienced in addiction treatment, trauma, depression, and other related issues.
Clients can expect daily responses at specified times with unlimited messaging therapy for couples, individuals, or teens. Talkspace’s therapists are all fully licensed and have completed over 3,000 hours of clinical experience. They also have additional training in modern sciences like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy to treat addiction problems.
TalkSpace offers flexible payment options starting at $65 a week for individuals, or teens, or $99 for couples. The company is now accepting insurance through companies like Humana, Cigna, and Resources for Living.
TalkSpace matches you with a therapist after an assessment, and responses are sent twice a day. Another nice feature is that TalkSpace offers gift cards, paid for by someone else for a client that may be considering addiction counseling.
4. Lionrock Recovery
Lionrock Recovery exclusively works with addiction and substance abuse treatment. The online recovery program is recognized by the Joint Commission, an independent organization that accredits healthcare facilities.
Clients start the process by calling and speaking to a counselor. Based on an interview, a therapist works with you to develop a schedule that works with your availability. The Intensive program requires 40 hours a month, three 3-hour group sessions, and several other meetings with a customized treatment plan. The Ascend plan requires fewer hours and meetings.
Lionrock is founded by career professionals and doctors and staffed by accredited, licensed, and certified counselors, with addiction treatment experience. Because of the difficulty of recovering from drug addiction, the program encourages personal interaction and video conferencing.
Lionrock also offers low-cost options and accepts most private health insurance. Once a client starts with an assessment, usually 1-2 hours long, the counselors get to know the client’s story and discuss a range of treatment options. Counselors also assist with transition planning to help reinforce a patient’s sobriety and hopeful future.
Use the site’s free helpline, watch a free workshop, or take a quiz to get started at no obligation.
5. New Horizons
New Horizons provides online substance abuse counseling services through HIPAA compliant telehealth software. Schedule private and one-on-one sessions with Certified Substance Abuse Counselor Mark Turansky, who is also Executive Director.
Turansky personally understands the struggle clients face when trying to beat their addiction. Kelli Turansky, co-director, is a Certified Marriage and Addiction Life Coach. The company offers a Skype appointment for an initial consultation at no charge.
The Hawaii-based service does not provide 24-7 support, but an appointment can be made to determine the best time for clients to make contact. Services include substance abuse and even court-approved out-of-state DUI programs.
The addiction counseling program teaches emotional coping skills. Clients will also be assigned homework and touch base via telephone appointments. Family members can also get involved in providing emotional support.
The Intensive Outpatient program costs $750 for several weekly meetings for a schedule of six weeks. There is also a two-month program for $600. Clients can also choose Skype or FaceTime video. The company also offers an Inpatient program for three days and two nights on-site in Hawaii.
While there is no free trial, a person can use a phone line to request more information and or get free email resources.
6. Life Process Program
The Life Process Program offers an online addiction treatment program 100 percent risk-free. Clients can expect eight modules and 50 exercises that help with understanding values, relationships, and motivations.
When you choose the Coach-led program, you get more one-on-one time and personalized advice. One hour sessions cost $70 or more, in some cases, and are optional purchases from the program.
Communicate in your preferred method, video, audio, text messages, and live chat. The basic self-help program is $19 a month, the premium is $39 a month, and the Coach-led program is $89 a month, with limited but consistent feedback from your coach. The lower cost compared to other company membership costs, however, keeps this service competitive.
The company also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, which is unique among other addiction counseling services, and free 20-minute introductory session.
What is Online Addiction Counseling?
Online addiction counseling may seem like a confusing concept, on account of the “hands-on” approach that most clinics have in treating substance abuse or drug addiction. However, with new technology, it’s easier to deliver traditional psychotherapy and treatment – and follow up on it virtually.
Therapists lead in helping the client to understand and overcome addiction, while also using computer-assisted therapy for testing, assessments, and homework assignments.
Companies and therapists may offer a combination of virtual therapy and computer-assisted therapy, including multiple media options like video, phone, texting, or email messages. Web-therapy might also consist of pre-recorded videos or partly interactive guides used for education.
Unlike other counseling and therapy services, drug addiction recovery is potentially life-threatening. Even for outpatient services, the intensity of treatment may vary drastically from case to case. Hospitalization may be ordered, or a supervised detox because of chemical withdrawals.
Online therapy on its own cannot bring a person struggling with addiction to sobriety. However, online chat can help with progress, education, and touching base with a counselor.
Privacy and flexibility of schedule are also major advantages to clients who may have difficulty making strict in-person appointments. The ability to schedule live chat according to the client’s hectic schedule and predictable triggers could also be a significant factor.
Is Online Addiction Therapy Effective?
According to a study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, online treatment for addiction is more effective than standard therapy. Drug and Alcohol abusers are more likely to complete the treatment in an online setting compared to traditional counseling for substance abuse.
While studies have shown promising trends, the only one who knows for sure if treatment is useful would be the recovering client. Not only is it up to the individual to make a personal commitment, but it also depends on the company and the individual therapist to customize a program that works for the individual.
The most successful online counseling services don’t merely have licensed and certified counselors but specifically use cognitive behavioral therapy practice. They go into more depth regarding where the addiction started, usually from some form of trauma. The solution is not merely learning self-control but also understanding how it relates to a person’s unique values and background.
Price is a significant factor when comparing addiction services, and naturally, more expensive therapy practices have more customized solutions for their client. Affordable plans may rely on pre-recorded videos and published books.
There would also be a noticeable difference between talking to a life coach and a doctor – someone who provides motivation and emotional support versus a professional who understands addiction science.
When researching companies and therapists, look for accreditation and counselors that speak to you personally. Follow your instincts up with a phone call and make sure you’re comfortable confiding in your counselor. Honest communication will go a long way in healing the damage of substance abuse.
The most significant fact is that many people who abuse substances never seek professional help, possibly because of the fear of an in-person meeting or the high prices of recovery. The option of affordable and discreet online addiction counseling may save a life – yours or someone you love. Why not take the time to look into it and see what these counselors can offer?