The Differences Between Virtual Rehab and Outpatient Programs

It is important that people are knowledgeable when it comes to different types of addiction treatment offered in our society, and to recognize the distinctions between virtual rehab, traditional 12 step programs, and outpatient programs.

Virtual rehab programs, such as Cove Recovery, are designed for anyone over 18 years of age, who is experiencing barriers to treatment such as lack of transportation or for those who would prefer additional anonymity when seeking help. In the past, treatment was restricted to whatever could be accomplished physically on-site, whether this meant facing traffic or scheduling appointments after work hours. Today, accessibility to treatment is the number one focus of virtual rehab. Virtual rehab has numerous alternative titles such as digital therapy, telehealth therapy, and online treatment, however it all means the same thing – help at the click of a button. A lot of people find virtual rehab to be the most effective form of rehab for themselves because they do not have to leave the comfort of their homes. Others might find traditional outpatient programs, such as BrightView’s outpatient program, as the answer to their treatment search.

Traditional outpatient therapy involves different modalities of therapy and can take place in different settings, such as individual therapy, group therapy and family therapy settings. Treatment providers are professionals, with licenses and medical backgrounds. The key phrase is outpatient which means the patient is free to come and go from the facility as they please, normally scheduling appointments/sessions throughout the week. Outpatient programs allow a person to live at their home, and their life continues as usual, outside the treatment. Mild addiction problem is often treated with outpatient rehab. Additionally, outpatient rehab also helps people with severe addiction who have completed inpatient treatment and need more support on the road to recovery. An outpatient program is best for those that have a more flexible schedule and their own transportation.

Twelve-step programs are separate from both virtual rehab and outpatient programs. According to, “the twelve steps were created by the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous to establish guidelines to overcome an addiction to alcohol. The program gained enough success in its early years for other addiction support groups to adapt the steps to their specific substance or addictive behavior.” There are no licensed therapists or clinicians that lead AA or NA, although members of the actual program are often well-respected professionals like doctors, clinicians, and mental health professionals. Twelve-step programs are offered at numerous various locations such as churches and community centers. You do not need to sign up for a meeting, and you are welcome to show up to a twelve-step meeting and attend these at your own pace.  

No matter what route you take to rebuild your life after addiction, and you can take more than one route, all these options have worked for someone at one point or another. These are all incredible and helpful choices in their own right, and if you choose to venture down one path and find that it is not working for you, there is no law or rule that says you aren’t allowed to change paths halfway through your journey.  Every single person’s path to recovery is different from the next and what works for one person does not necessarily mean it will work for another.  Just as you are unique as a person, you are unique in your recovery. So, keep trying until you find what sticks. There are no longer any excuses for not seeking the recovery support you need or sharing resources with loved ones who may need it in this modern world.