Technology Is Playing A Huge Role In Addiction Recovery

Posted: Jan 6 2018, 12:44am CST | by , Updated: Jan 6 2018, 1:08am CST


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Technology Is Playing a Huge Role in Addiction Recovery
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Modern Tech Could Make All the Difference in Addiction Recovery

Technology can be addictive, and when devices are everywhere, it’s no wonder. However, tech also has the potential to help us cure our own addictive behavior.

New advances make it possible to work through an addiction; to diminish negative behaviors and reinforce good ones. Seeing the role technology plays can be a huge benefit to people who are struggling with addiction.

Apps for Addiction Recovery

The use of apps offers an excellent method for supporting addiction recovery all over the world. “Technology such as the Internet and mobile phones offers promise for both people suffering from addictions and their treatment providers,” according to an article from the California addiction treatment center Resurgence Behavioral Health.

“Health providers are already adept at the psychotherapy techniques used in addiction treatment, but technology can help support or improve the assessment, prevention, treatment of and recovery from substance abuse disorders by offering entirely new models of care delivery. Almost everyone in the United States has access to Internet services, which can help people who may otherwise stop treatment more readily access these services.”

There are dozens of apps designed to help individuals in recovery to reintegrate into society. Triggr Health, for example, is an app that tracks addiction recovery progress.

It enables you to set goals and work with recovery coaches to meet those goals. Alcoholics Anonymous and other self-help groups also use online apps to stay connected and provide regular support for others who are working through their addiction.

Telemedicine for Treatment and Follow Up

Before the dawn of the Internet, people who suffered from an addiction could receive help pretty much only if they visited a treatment center in person. Phone calls were an option, of course, but the level of care was not very high if face-to-face interactions were not part of the treatment.

Now, telemedicine addiction recovery programs have made it easier for patients to seek care, even when they live in remote areas. Although there are still gaps in this technology that make it difficult to offer holistic healthcare through telemedicine alone, it’s a marvelous tool for staying connected with patients.

Treatment for addiction doesn’t end when the individual leaves a residential treatment center. The ability to stay connected through video chat, phone calls, text, emails, apps, and other technologies has proven to be a huge benefit for patients.

“Extending the continuum of recovery support that begins when someone enters recovery to several months post-treatment is so important to those who suffer from addiction, those who love them, and for all of our communities,” Tom Kimball, MD, MAP’s clinical director, said in a press release. “Trained counselors providing recovery advocacy, guidance, and care to persons in recovery over the long-term is a game changer for our field.”

Virtual Reality for Facing Addictions Head On

The advances we’ve made in modern addiction treatment are truly wondrous. One of the most powerful innovations in the electronic technology front is virtual reality.

According to Fjola Helgadottri, Phd., virtual reality provides an unparalleled opportunity for patients to fight their addiction in a controlled environment. “The most common way that VR is used in the context of mental health treatments is exposure therapy,” she explains in her Psychology Today article.

“Using this technology, patients are placed in a virtual space that can be directly manipulated by a therapist. For example, patients with a phobia (such as height or spiders) can confront their fear in a safe and controlled environment.”

When used in addiction treatment, an alcoholic might be placed in a situation where he or she is offered a drink and has to refuse, or a nicotine addict might be handed a cigarette. In an interview discussing the role virtual reality plays in addiction recovery, Dr. Patrick Bordnick, a key researcher and experimenter on VR in addiction recovery, explained to Dr. Helgadottri that making it as realistic as possible is the key to success for recovering addicts.

“We have to make it real,” he told her. “An alcohol dependent person knows their drink and what it looks like. If it’s not the right color, if it doesn't look like a real whisky, that’s not going to make that situation applicable to them.”

And VR is getting more realistic every day. As patients dive into the realm of addiction recovery and face their demons head on, advances in this technology will undoubtedly play a huge role in helping them reintegrate into society with as few relapses as possible.

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/68" rel="author">Larry Alton</a>
Larry is an independent business consultant specializing in tech, social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.




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