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Technological Innovations in Addiction Treatment

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Technology has changed the way that we look at the world. New innovations have made our lives easier, connected us to a global community and left us perpetually asking, “What’s next?” Healthcare is one of the fields that has gotten the most benefit out of new and improved technological innovations.

This carries over into the treatment of addiction and recovery services. While behavioral therapy will always be the cornerstone of treatment, technology has made it easier to reach out in times of need. It’s also made it easier to share new information about effective treatment methods and made it possible for addicts suffering in remote locations to access professional help.

Once upon a time, getting help involved combing a phone book, finding a payphone or a landline and hoping you had enough time to call every number until you got a response. While not always that archaic, trying to get treatment was a lot harder than it is today. People were also less aware of the reality of addiction, and the resources available to us online just weren’t there.

The digital community has opened us up to a new way to share our experiences and understanding with others all over the world. It’s also allowed us to share this information with addicts who are struggling to find the best treatment options.

Mobile Apps

Nearly 95 percent of Americans currently own or have regular access to a cell phone. This jump in mobile technology has put the internet and treatment resources at our fingertips. It’s no surprise that mobile apps have been designed to help motivate, educate and locate options for recovery services.

  • Pear Therapeutics have come up with a mobile app called Reset that’s available by prescription only. The user must be over the age of 17 and willing to participate in the curriculum. The app contains educational materials, lessons and exercises that promote recovery and sobriety.
  • Nomo is an app designed to help you celebrate and track your sobriety. The clock keeps track of how long you’ve been able to abstain from drugs and alcohol and allows you to connect with your sponsor or support person when in crisis.
  • Sober Grid is an app that allows you to connect with other people locally when you feel an urge to drink or use drugs. They can send you anonymous motivational messages to help you get through a bad patch. The app also allows you to record your sobriety and see your progress on a daily basis.
  • A-Chess, an app created by the Center for Health Enhancement System Studies, works in an interesting way. It’s a GPS tracker that sends you an automatic alert when you’re within the direct proximity of a bar or place that specializes in alcohol sales. If you don’t vacate the area or head in another direction within 5-minutes, the app alerts members of your support group. It’s not an exact science, but it’s definitely a plan that focuses on accountability.

There are plenty of other apps that promote treatment and sobriety. Do some research and ask your treatment professionals about the best ones to use for your situation. Everyone’s different, but there’s a lot of variety available to suit individual needs.

Online Educational Materials

There are quite a few online addiction education courses to choose from. Many of them are free of charge and designed by industry professionals who know what they’re doing. Some treatment facilities are also allowing patients to use these types of resources during inpatient programs. This makes it easier to share general information and challenges the addict to think in an engaging way.

The American Society of Addiction Medicine  offers a number of online resources for both addicts and treatment providers trying to stay ahead of new advances in addiction treatment. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has also released everything from interactive learning materials to videos outlining drug problems for teens.

It’s important to make sure that anything you access at home is reputable and accurate. Look for sites and programs recommended by treatment professionals and by government and educational institutes. These will be well-researched and designed to inform using the latest in addiction recovery techniques.

Virtual Reality and Simulations

One of the biggest problems for addicts is the prospect of ending up in a situation that triggers their drug use. It can be impossible to know when this will happen and whether or not they’ll be able to resist the temptation to use again. This is where virtual reality comes in.

New VR technology has allowed some treatment centers to experiment with situational simulations. They use a headset that transports the addict into a possible trigger situation, and they can identify different coping skills. They can measure the person’s vitals and responses to different stressors to identify triggers.

This is still in its infancy but promises to be an interesting and potentially effective way to prepare addicts to reenter their lives.

Telemedicine and Remote Therapy

While telemedicine will always be secondary to face-to-face therapies from A Better Today Recovery Services, it’s still providing a much-needed treatment avenue. There are times when low-income addicts or individuals who live in remote locations can’t make it to a treatment location. Having access to a phone or computer still allows them to have a productive therapy session with a professional.

This also works for those suffering from severe social anxiety who still need to meet with someone to treat their addiction. Widespread internet access has also made video conferences easier for those participating in the treatment plan.

Getting Help is the Most Important Part

While technology is a fantastic asset, it doesn’t do anyone any good if they aren’t prepared to get help. The professionals at A Better Today Recovery Services understand this and can work to prepare you for a better life.

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