Drug abuse is a complex social and health problem that affects millions of people worldwide. As doctors and scientists strive to research innovative and effective ways to treat addiction (i.e. alcohol addiction), technology has shown considerable promise.
In the last two decades, there has been an exponential growth in the field of mobile and computer technology. People have been relying on technology to make their lives easier, and now researchers and clinicians have also started to exploit technology for addiction recovery.
An increasing number of technological interventions have been designed for drug addiction management. From the use of emails, chat groups and video-conferencing in drug and alcohol rehab to innovative sobriety apps, there are a plethora of technology-based interventions that help make people healthier.
Web-based self-help interventions
Web-based self-help interventions are self-guided programmes executed through a website that can be used by the drug and alcohol rehab patients. The programmers primarily include information and education interventions; self-guided therapeutic interventions; and human-supported therapeutic interventions.
The web-based education interventions offer easily accessible information on a wide range of addiction disorders, self-help checklists, and other helpful websites. On the other hand, self-guided and human supported therapeutic interventions help create behavioral change.
Online counseling and therapy
Online counseling and therapy are no different from other online interactions via email, chat or video conferencing. A process-oriented assistance from a non-therapist or therapy centered guidance from a professional therapist is offered both in real time; and via asynchronous communications.
Artificial intelligence and virtual therapeutic software
Virtual therapeutic software that encompasses a wide range of the state-of-the-art technologies like artificial intelligence is also taking drug and alcohol treatment to the next level. These softwares create virtual reality environment where people are represented in different avatars. Users can easily interact within the virtual space, and group services are also available.
Therapeutic use of social media
Therapeutic use of social media platforms like Twitter, blogs, etc. is also on the rise. Online support groups are created and maintained by users on social media. A health worker generally moderates the services. The social network therapeutic communities and online support groups encourage sharing insights and reflections that can benefit others.
The idea if using mobile applications as medical add-ons to boost conventional treatment is widely embraced. Just as there are apps for gaming, dating, shopping, etc. there are applications specially designed for drugs and alcohol rehab as well. These applications are often available at little to no cost to the users and play a vital role in addiction treatment.
Sobriety apps help patients find immediate support as per their specific location; keep track of their alcohol consumption; offer motivation; connect with other patients and physicians; etc. With the help of sobriety applications, recovery assistance is available for patients from their nearest rehab program, just at the push of a button.
Scientists are currently exploring a number of other technological interventions that may one day prove extremely useful for addiction treatment. Let’s wait and find out how the future unfolds!