The world has become heavily reliant on technology in recent years. Digital technology has become prevalent. There may be a growing application for technology in the world of addiction treatment.
Technology such as apps, virtual reality and online access provides people with additional ways to get the help they need to better manage a substance use disorder. How can digital technology affect addiction recovery?
What Technologies Are Being Used for Addiction Treatment?
Several types of technology are being harnessed and implemented in addiction recovery programs, and they are backed by evidence-based research. Here are some of the types of technology that are being used in addiction treatment programs:
There are many apps available for various. These days, however, there are also apps available that are designed to help people better manage their substance use disorder and deal with the cravings and emotions related to addiction.
Here are just a few apps on the market today that may be helpful for those battling substance use disorder:
The Alcoholics Anonymous “Big Book”
Anyone who may be considering attending Alcoholics Anonymous or who is already an active participant may find the Alcoholics Anonymous “Big Book” a helpful resource.
This handbook includes features such as podcasts, personal testimonials, a meetings finder, prayers and the entire 164-page text of the Big Book. There is also a sobriety calculator that allows patients to enter their sobriety date to keep tabs on how far they have come.
This free app is designed to help patients get the support they need around the clock even in emergency situations, based on where they are located. The app provides an easy-to-use resource to track and share progress with others.
This FDA-backed medical app is available to help treat addiction. The app features 12 weeks of lessons that help support people through addiction recovery. To gain access to Reset, people must have a prescription to use the app from a health care practitioner.
The FDA reviewed a study that found that out of nearly 400 participants, more than twice as many were able to abstain from drug use while using the app compared with those who did not.
This free sobriety tracking app helps keep people connected with support group members. It helps individuals keep track of their sobriety and share it with others, including counselors.
Nomo is also meant to give patients some accountability throughout their journey through sobriety when cravings become too intense to handle alone.
There are many platforms that incorporate online chatting. Many online businesses offer support via online chat in which people can connect with a support specialist. Now such platforms are being offered to those struggling with substance use disorders.
Telemedicine in the world of addiction recovery makes it easier for patients to connect with counselors and other addiction treatment specialists. In addition to providing in-person treatment, many addiction treatment facilities offer patients a more convenient way to access the support required when commuting to a treatment center proves difficult.
Telemedicine communication can still put patients and counselors face-to-face, despite not being physically present with one another. No matter where the patient or counselor happens to be, interaction is still possible.
In cases where support is required immediately, telemedicine can break down logistical obstacles and help patients get the support they need when they need it most.
Telemedicine should not be relied upon on its own. Instead, it is meant to supplement traditional treatment.
Some treatment centers also incorporate technology into innovative treatment strategies, including neurofeedback therapy. With this type of treatment protocol, the participant’s brain is trained to counteract cravings for drugs using electrodes, computers and specialized software.
By reading the participant’s brainwaves, doctors can make appropriate decisions on how to reward the patient based on what they see. Positive rewards are associated with images that the patient views positively. Over time, their brains can learn to desire these ‘prizes’ rather than drugs.
Although this type of treatment is still in its infancy, studies suggest that it could be an effective way to help patients better manage their substance use disorders.
Virtual reality might have its place in the world of addiction treatment.
Researchers are studying virtual reality for treating addiction. More specifically, studies are being done at the University of Houston to see how successful virtual reality can be as part of an overall addiction treatment protocol.
Like gamers who are immersed in virtual gaming worlds, people with substance use disorders are placed in situations that may trigger them to crave drugs or alcohol, but in a controlled atmosphere.
By using technology in addiction treatment, patients can identify triggers in a safe environment and learn the tools needed to avoid them. The researchers have been quite successful so far in helping people addicted to tobacco.
Addiction Treatment Can Help
While in-person treatment in a reputable treatment center is still the gold standard for effective addiction treatment, digital technology may have a place in treatment programs.
Technology’s role in addiction recovery is to provide an additional avenue for people dealing with substance use disorders to better manage their addiction recovery.
The best way to treat the symptoms of addiction and effectively manage a substance use disorder is to take part in a treatment program with a facility that uses evidence-based treatment strategies.
If you have a substance use disorder.