The advancement in addiction recovery technology comes with the development of the twentieth century. The idea of infusing online technology, apps, and smartphones into recovery comes as an entirely new model in behavioral health care. These types of telecommunication tools such as mobile phones and video teleconferencing, offer personal assessment, prevention, and treatment opportunities outside the formal systems of therapy.
Skilled therapists and professionals research new ways of offering addiction treatment, but have realized in-person treatment and over-the-phone treatment are quite similar. Both therapies use technology to replicate a system that is already in place.
Addiction recovery technology replicates a program that is already seen as successful when patients and therapists are confronted face-to-face. Using an app is convenient for the patient because it will always be consistent. Also, the user can utilize their smartphone when the time and place are convenient for them.
Addiction recovery apps make it manageable for patients to receive face-to-face care. This is possible even when they are not home or in an area that is not close to where they received treatment in person. If they have a smartphone, one can utilize the facetime option to interact with their therapist.
Therapists and other professionals started to look into technology as a way to offer their services to patients plus more options. Many who abuse substances often have a difficult time distancing themselves from the harrowing lifestyle; this is often because they don’t have access to health insurance or other options.
Others will feel the repercussions of withdrawal as patients who exit residential care are not usually offered comprehensive aftercare. Since these challenges have surfaced, therapists and professionals have discovered a new way of offering their services: addiction recovery apps.
Technology as an Improvement in the Industry
Technology has seen improvements each year, but especially in 2020. It’s the twentieth century and technology facilitates most of our lives. From attending a virtual concert in 2020 to attending a class on Zoom, we are the era of technology.
Technology is improving people’s lives in ways they never thought possible; doctors can conduct meetings with patients and conclude appointments via telecommuting. Therapists and professionals have even discussed using virtual reality as a way to battle addictions. These types of advancements allow individuals the ability to connect without leaving the value of their personal space; it seems to make many lives much easier.
As a quality equivalent to in-person therapy, addiction recovery apps are helpful to therapists as they:
- Have the ability to find information much easier through computer programs that relay information automatically.
- Can store basic information such as the disease a patient is suffering from and what consequences the disease can cause.
- Allow a professional more personal time with a patient instead of trying to focus on a file in front of them.
As the use of technology advances, many have realized the best way to connect with the younger generation is through the smartphone. Creating apps widens the ability for more substance users to get help, but sometimes using an app is not enough.
The disadvantage of using the app is that many have found it more effective when used in conjunction with in-person treatment. Skilled therapists can provide a warm and connected session while an app recovery session cannot replicate that approach. Although the app will allow the user to stay connected via video chat, phone call, text message, etc.
Using an Addiction Recovery App
With the technology available today, there are several apps available for free and to purchase that will assist in the recovery process.
Listed below are some addiction recovery apps that are available:
Reset is the first medical app approved by the FDA. Used to treat substance abuse disorders. The app is made up of a 12-week program in which users will engage in lessons that guide them through recovery. This app is available for people over the age of 17 and for those who have a prescription from a mental health professional.
The use of the Reset app is to improve treatment outcomes. According to the FDA, a 12-week study with 399 patients proved that 40.3 percent of them abstained from alcohol, cocaine, marijuana, and stimulant SUD. The study did not report on opiates.
A-CHESS or Addiction Comprehensive Health Enhancement Support System is an app that offers emotional and therapeutic support 24/7. This program supplies the user with various tools to help them recover, a few include:
- The high-risk locator which helps patients stay sober by alerting them if they are close to an area that could lead to a relapse.
- The panic button allows patients to notify others when they need support.
- The clinician dashboard gives mental health professionals a quick summary of how a patient is doing. It also allows the doctor to connect with their patient and offer their support in recovery.
The Sober Grid
The Sober Grid app was designed for those who are sober and for those who are trying to overcome alcoholism. The addiction recovery app allows you to connect with others who are going through similar situations. The patient can also build a personal support group and check-in with their daily health calculator.
Another addiction recovery app available includes the Workit Health Recovery app. The app is intended to supply the substance user with web-based support, exercise advice, craving logs, and other motivational factors. The app also supplies the users with mental health professionals or therapists that are available through the value of your phone.
The Workit Health app requires a small membership fee but allows users to choose between five programs. These programs are tailored for substance users to quit opioids, moderate or quit drinking, online therapy, and for employers and providers. This app differs from others because it combines in-person therapy sessions with a mobile support system.
WEconnect is programmed with two different options. One for those in recovery and one for those who are supporting a journey to recovery. The app produces daily reminders for the substance abuser to keep on track with their recovery. It also provides reminders for the users to contact their mentor, schedule, or go to a meeting and activities that are part of their recovery plan. Any activity can include the following: exercise, going outside, initiating creative flow, or keeping up with daily routines.
Nomo is a free app that supplies a sobriety clock to help substance abuse patients track their days in sobriety. They can then share that information with family and friends who have been supportive of their recovery process. The app also gives users the ability to message an accountability partner if they’re experiencing a relapse or triggers. An accountability partner would be someone along the lines of a mentor or sponsor who can provide extra support and guidance outside of treatment therapy.
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) Big Book
An Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) Big Book app was created based on religious foundations. It consists of 164 pages of inspiring prayers, personal recoveries, and step-by-step guides.
There is even an app for those addicts who want to stop but don’t want to completely cut themselves off. If this is you, try Ria Health as it offers a less intense recovery program. The program is designed to improve the user’s relationship with alcohol and allows them to create a personal care plan that will fit their needs. The app will even offer prescriptions to help reduce the urge to drink.
A different app than those mentioned above includes the Squirrel Recovery app. This addiction recovery app allows an individual to create their support group that is based entirely in the digital world. Members of the group are responsible for checking on the well-being of others within the group and will offer assistance if a member is feeling low or at risk.
Alternative Forms of Treatment
Using an app is not the most current form of treatment, there are many other forms available to the individual for consideration. Since the gain of addiction recovery apps, therapists have found that it is most effective when combined with other forms of treatment, such as residential addiction treatment programs.
In-patient (in-program) treatments or residential addiction treatment programs require the substance user to stay at the treatment facility. By going this route, an individual will receive around-the-clock care and rebuild the temptation they usually feel while going about daily routines.
Out-patient programs do not require an individual to stay at a facility, but will usually entail a daily meeting at a treatment facility.
Detoxification is an option in which the substance abuser goes through the withdrawal process and is monitored by a professional. The professional is responsible for keeping an overall eye on the patient, whether it be outpatient or inpatient treatment. In dire situations, the doctor or professional would administer medications to treat the effects of withdrawal.
Family or Group therapy is a chance for the substance user to find support within a group of understanding individuals. Group therapy is especially helpful in finding someone who will be understanding of your situation. Contrarily, family members may not always be understanding, but family therapy is used as a method of intervention to re-build relationships, communication, and foundations that were lost.
Recovery apps offer patients a new outlet in which they can receive therapy and health professionals can provide care during and after treatment through the use of an app. But even this has not stopped technology from outdoing itself again. The use of virtual reality has now introduced itself into the world of addiction recovery technology.
Virtual reality is when a person uses computer-generated simulation to interact inside an artificial three-dimensional environment. To do this, one would use a special electronic device such as goggles with a 3D screen or gloves made with sensors.
Using virtual reality in therapy as a means for patients to overcome addiction isn’t a far fetched idea. These devices are thought of as a controlled, safe environment in which a therapist or skilled professional can observe and supervise the patient.
For example, a therapist might use this device to place a patient at a three-dimensional club where they may feel the pressure to consume alcohol or drugs. Through virtual reality, a therapist can identify the triggers in which the patient experiences and then exercise strategies to overcome those. Virtual reality is already used within therapy sessions and there have been a few scenarios generated, including:
- An office courtyard
- A gas station
- A pizza party
Virtual reality is as realistic as can be, researchers can even create a scent to be associated with the scene.
As addiction recovery technology advances, this may be seen as another entirely new model in behavioral health care. Virtual reality is successful in exposure therapy and allows the individual to be immersed within a “threatening” environment while being entirely safe.
It also allows the therapist to mostly control what is being done within the room. Eventually, the patient learns the threats they were initially concerned about are not all that threatening or dangerous as they thought them to be.
Furthermore, virtual reality gives patients the ability to do things they normally wouldn’t be able to do. In a virtual situation, a therapist could ask them to pick something up or move a cup of liquor from one place to another without feeling the effects of temptation.
Virtual reality and smartphone apps are another step in the addiction recovery process that you can find out more about today by contacting us at LA Detox.