Addiction, as it relates to substance abuse, is often hard to understand and wrap your mind around – especially if you’re on the outside looking in. And while a multi-faceted approach is typically needed in order to promote recovery, the role of technology in this process is becoming increasingly prevalent.
Examining the Role of Technology in Recovery
“Recovery from addiction is possible,” assures Sagebrush, a Virginia-based recovery center. “Through a combination of self-management, family and community support systems, and professional care provided by trained and certified professionals, the addict can achieve recovery and pursue a healthy, full life.”
While there are still plenty of traditional methods used to help people who suffer from substance abuse and addiction, technology has emerged as a supplemental solution over the years. When strategically implemented, it can speed up the process of recovery and give individuals extra support and help in times of need.
We’re only on the front end of the technology curve in this industry. Therefore, it’s important to remember there will be a lot of growth, improvement, and refinement in the coming years.
That being said, here are some technologies that are currently garnering attention:
1. Motivational and Encouraging Apps
While there’s certainly a case to be made against constantly carrying your phone, the reality is that most of us are tethered to our devices at all hours of the day. In this case, it might as well be used for good. One way this plays out is in the form of motivational addiction recovery apps.
There are a variety of apps on the market, but Cassava is one of the best. With the Cassava app, you can track your progress and record information related to diet, fitness, stress, sleep, and mood in an effort to better understand the connection between your mind, body, and addiction.
2. Online Support Groups
Support groups are great, but the biggest challenge for those in recovery is trying to self-manage the time in between support group meetings. Without accountability in the quieter moments of life, it’s easy to relapse. Online support groups have emerged in an effort to fill this void.
With things like message boards and chat software, these groups provide 24/7 support, regardless of where you are or what you’re going through. While participants have to be careful not to replace in-person recovery with online support, these groups can be leveraged as a form of supplemental support on the long and arduous road to recovery.
3. Neurofeedback Therapy
While somewhat controversial and limited in its use, some of today’s leading hospitals and treatment centers are testing the viability of neurofeedback therapy.
“Using electrodes, laptops and special software, a doctor can read a patient’s brainwaves and make decisions based on what he or she sees,” Robert Parkinson writes for U.S. News and World Report. “When the patient responds positively to a set of images, doctors will reward him or her with more positive reinforcement. Over time, the patients’ brains learn to crave these rewards instead of alcohol or drugs.”
Tailoring Recovery to the Needs of the Individual
Ask any specialized doctor, substance abuse counselor, or therapist, and they’ll tell you that recovery from substance abuse and addiction is a highly personal process. No two individuals are the same and each person has their own needs. The wonderful thing about technology is that it can tailor recovery to the needs of the individual by serving as a powerful, supplemental force for good.
There’s still a lot of progress to be made in this area, but the future looks brighter than it has in years.