Online Therapy For Alcohol Addiction

Online therapy is a type of mental health care service that provides counseling services via phone calls, text messaging, video calls, or other virtual mediums.

What Is Online Therapy?

In today’s growing world of technology, the pressing need for better access to mental health care services has seen many people turn to the internet for help with alcoholism and mental health treatment. Also known as telepsychology or teletherapy, online therapy is a type of mental health service conducted via telephone, internet, video, email, or text. Made even more popular by the COVID-19 pandemic, online therapy has become a way for millions of people to connect with licensed, qualified mental health care providers from the comfort of their own homes.

What Does Online Therapy Look Like?

In many ways, online therapy looks and feels very similar to in-person therapy. Both the counselor and client meet at specified times and engage in conversation that is aimed at treating underlying mental health issues.

On the other hand, online therapy can also be very different from in-person therapy. First, and most obvious, is the fact that it takes place at home rather than in a treatment center or private practice. Depending on the type of online therapy you choose, sessions can look very different. Some popular online therapy providers have video sessions where the two parties can see one another and chat as if they were in-person, while others opt for services that use messaging apps.

Depending on the provider and services offered, online therapy will typically take place on a schedule similar to most in-person sessions. This means that sessions take place either weekly, bi-weekly, or at a frequency that you and your counselor agree works best for you.

Some online therapies are subscription-based, which may involve a combination of online services like unlimited text messaging with a therapist or multiple video calls each month. It is worth noting, however, that the majority of these “unlimited messaging” services are one way; meaning you may message your therapist as much as you’d like, but they may not reply to all of them or at certain hours of the day.

While online therapy is a popular option for many people who struggle with a mental illness, many are unaware that it can also help with alcohol addiction as well.

Can Online Therapy Help With Alcohol Addiction?

Online therapy, like in-person therapy, can be useful in treating many different ailments, such as anger management, marriage problems, and behavioral issues. Online therapy can also be used to treat many mental health disorders like anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and even alcohol use disorders (AUD).

Alcohol addiction can have a physical, emotional, social, and financial impact on a person’s life. Research has shown people who use online therapy show significant improvement over those who do not receive any treatment or who try to quit drinking on their own.

Online therapy for alcohol addiction can involve several techniques, some of which may even be easier to adapt to online therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and motivational interviewing are two approaches used in online therapy for alcohol addiction, both of which can be easily done via video call or another online format.

It’s important to note that online therapy may not be the best option for everyone or every condition. Those suffering from suicidal thoughts, more severe mental illnesses such as borderline personality disorder (BPD) or schizophrenia, or those with medical conditions that require close monitoring require more care than online therapy can provide.

Additionally, online therapy isn’t appropriate for someone with a severe addiction to alcohol or any other substance. Recovering from alcohol addiction involves detoxification, which, if done alone, can have serious, sometimes life-threatening side effects. Detox should always be done under the supervision of trained medical professionals, and should never be done alone. In cases of severe alcohol dependency, online therapy can be used during aftercare once a patient completes their stay at a residential center as a part of continued care.


There are many benefits of online therapy, some of which many people find to be better than in-person therapy.

More Accessible

It’s estimated that around 10% to 14% of people struggling with substance use disorders, including alcoholism, ever seek treatment. For some, the reason for not seeking treatment isn’t lack of motivation, it’s simply that they lack access to it. Online therapy makes treatment available to those who may otherwise not be able to attend in-person therapy, such as those in rural areas or people with disabilities. Online therapy can also help avoid some of the stresses and complications associated with traditional therapy, including traffic, finding childcare, and requesting time off from work.


Another reason many people opt for online therapy is the added layer of privacy that it comes with. Unfortunately, stigma surrounding alcohol addiction is still present, and many people may feel ashamed of their alcohol abuse or need for treatment. Being able to access treatment from your own home, behind closed doors, can help you manage who knows about your treatment, and help take away some of your fears surrounding getting help.

More Options

In the same way online therapy is more accessible for many people, it can also provide more options than traditional therapy. Online therapy can oftentimes serve as a steppingstone toward more intensive treatment. For some, trying online therapy may be the motivating factor for seeking out traditional, face-to-face addiction treatment. Studies have shown that people may also be more likely to stick with in-person treatment when supplemented with online therapy.


As with any type of treatment, online therapy isn’t without its limitations. While online therapy can be an affordable, convenient way to receive treatment at home, it doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone. Some potential drawbacks to online therapy include:

Lack of connection

Online therapy can be great for those who may not have access to treatment, or who may feel uncomfortable or ashamed of their addiction. However, the lack of in-person connection may be difficult for some people. Therapy via the phone, video call, or other mediums can make it hard to properly convey emotions, read body language, and establish a meaningful connection. Meeting with an in-person counselor can also help some people be honest about their sobriety, as they may find it easier to conceal information from their counselor over the phone.

Technical Issues

Online therapy requires you to have the necessary technology to connect with a counselor. This means having things like a smart phone, laptop, webcam, and internet. Depending on your location, inclement weather or lack of cell service may disrupt your connection during sessions. These can all create obstacles that can make your sessions difficult or impractical.

What To Consider When Looking For Therapy Online

If you’ve decided that online therapy is right for you, it may be difficult to know where to start. In recent years, online therapy has exploded in popularity, and while this means that there are likely hundreds, if not thousands of options that fit your specific needs, it also means that there are thousands that do not. When looking for an online therapist, there are a few questions you should ask yourself.

Are They Licensed?

The first thing you should always consider when choosing an online therapy provider is if the counselors are licensed. This is a quick and easy way to see if the site you are looking at offers legitimate, professional counseling services. It’s important to look for this, as some states, like California, titles such as psychoanalyst, counselor, and psychotherapist are not protected, meaning anyone can use them without any type of training or education. However, on reputable, legitimate sites, providers will often clearly state that they are licensed.

Will My Insurance Cover Online Therapy?

Paying for therapy, whether it be in-person or online, is often a major deciding factor for many people. While online therapy can oftentimes be cheaper than traditional therapy, insurance doesn’t always cover these types of services. Additionally, most government sponsored health insurance will not cover online therapy, whereas most private plans cover at least some of the cost.

Help Is Here

Online therapy can be a safe, successful way to combat alcohol addiction. Like any treatment option, there are a multitude of factors you should consider before choosing online therapy. First, while online therapy can be a great way to start out your journey to sobriety, it is not recommended for those with severe alcohol addiction, or for those who may have a occurring mental health condition. In these instances, a more specialized, hands-on approach is recommended, such as an inpatient rehabilitation facility.

Rehab can help you recover from alcohol addiction in ways that online therapy cannot. These include help with detox, treating underlying or co-occurring mental health disorders, and building a support system through aftercare programs and relationships created between staff, counselors, and fellow recovering addicts.

For more information on attending a rehab facility, contact a treatment provider for more information.

Get help for alcoholism today.

If you or a loved one is ready to overcome an alcohol addiction, reach out today. Treatment providers can connect you with programs that provide the tools to help you get and stay sober.