When most people think about addiction treatment, their minds immediately go to inpatient rehab. This is certainly a highly effective form of treatment, as it removes the individual from the stresses of their “real world” and allows them to focus on recovery.
However, inpatient rehab is not a practical option for everyone. Many people lack the ability to simply step out of their lives for weeks at a time, and the cost of rehab can be a significant barrier. In addition, inpatient rehab is not necessarily the best treatment option for everyone.
In recognition of this, outpatient addiction treatment services have been on the rise in recent years. These are treatment programs that allow the individual to continue to live at home and go to work or school, and attend sessions with therapists and other addiction treatment providers.
This has gone a step further with the advent of virtual services that don’t even require the person requiring treatment to leave their home. Virtual services may have exploded in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic, but they will endure long after the pandemic has passed.
What are Virtual Outpatient Services?
A virtual intensive outpatient program is one that is run purely online. The individual attends individual or group sessions with treatment providers via online video conferencing technology such as Zoom.
Is a virtual program as effective as an in-person one?
Most addiction treatment services can be provided as effectively online as they can in person. Individual talk therapy, group therapy, and family counselling do not require physical contact between the provider and the recipient of services. Other treatments that are more “hands on”, such as art therapy or yoga, can be effectively delivered online as well.
It is not the delivery method that determines whether treatment will be effective, it is the individual. Everyone is different, and there will always be people who respond better to in-person treatment than virtual treatment.
It should be noted that even if you are participating in a virtual intensive outpatient program, you may need to attend some in-person appointments. For example, if your physical health is being monitored, you will have to present yourself at a doctor’s office for blood tests, measurement of your vital signs, and so on.
What is included in a virtual intensive outpatient program?
Like any other form of addiction treatment, a virtual outpatient program starts with an assessment. We have moved on from the days when everyone received the same treatment regardless of the severity, causes, and nature of their addiction. All reputable addiction treatment centres will conduct a thorough assessment to determine what the individual’s needs are and what forms of therapy will be most effective.
Based on the assessment, the treatment facility will put together a customized program. Everyone’s addiction story is different, and that includes recovery. The therapy programs that are prescribed for you will not necessarily work for the next person. Customized addiction treatment is essential to ensure that your specific needs and issues are being addressed.
Your addiction recovery program may include a combination of treatments that can be conducted online. Examples include:
- Individual therapy
- Group therapy
- Family counselling
- Yoga and meditation
- Life skills coaching
- Nutrition counselling
- Stress management classes
- Various information and education sessions
In some cases, your loved ones will be able to participate in your recovery program. For example, they may be provided with family support services, or they may be invited to take part in family counselling sessions aimed at helping you and your inner circle improve your communication and conflict resolution skills.
Most reputable addiction treatment providers will include virtual aftercare in your suite of services. This provides you with ongoing support after your formal treatment program has ended. Aftercare services generally include access to a helpline, education and information sessions, and follow-up sessions to monitor your post-rehab progress.
Who can benefit from a virtual intensive outpatient program?
Virtual outpatient treatment for addiction is not the solution for everyone. If you have a complex situation that includes addiction to multiple substances, medical fragility, or lack of a social support structure at home, you may be better suited to either an inpatient program or in-person outpatient treatment.
A virtual intensive outpatient program may benefit you if:
- You do not require medical detox, or you have already withdrawn from the substance
- You are able to arrange your work or school hours around your treatment program or vice versa
- Your close friends and family members are supportive of your treatment
- You are highly motivated to work on your addiction recovery
- You live in a remote area with limited access to in-person services
- You are a person with a disability and have concerns about accessibility of in-person facilities
- You feel more comfortable in the safety of your own environment
- You are medically vulnerable and need to limit exposure to other people for the sake of your wellbeing
What do you need in order to participate in a virtual addiction treatment program?
As a bare minimum, virtual program participants should have a laptop or desktop computer with audio and video capabilities. You will also need a reliable Internet connection. The physical space that you need will depend on what kinds of treatment you will be undergoing. For some people, a comfortable place to sit is all that is needed. Others may need space for activities like yoga or exercise. In all cases, the space you use for your program should be private and comfortable.
Accessing virtual addiction treatment
At Addiction Rehab Toronto, we provide virtual intensive outpatient programs that are fully tailored to the needs of each individual. We will provide you or your loved one with a safe online environment, high quality care, and support throughout the recovery process.
One of the benefits of our virtual program is that there is little to no wait time. In most cases, we will be able to do our assessment within a couple of days of you contacting us, and once your treatment program has been finalized, you will be able to get started right away.
Your journey to a healthy, addiction-free life can start right now. All you have to do is give us a call.