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Harnessing technology for better recovery outcomes

Harnessing technology for better recovery outcomes

December 27 | By Rachael

Digital technology is at the two extremes of the spectrum, both as a driver of addiction and addiction recovery. On one hand, digital technologies are making it easier for people to access alcohol and other substances of abuse. It is now possible using digital innovations to order the cases of wine on eBay and Amazon and get them shipped directly to one’s home.

With the foray of online companies catering to different population, prescription medications comprising  opioid painkillers can be ordered online and shipped illegally from other countries. Illicit drugs maybe obtained by setting up ‘buys’ through illicit drug dealers via text message and video chat, etc. Technology also fosters other addictions, such as gambling, shopping, compulsive porn use, and several types of other behavioral addictions and compulsions.

Despite the role of technology in spreading substance abuse, it is an indispensable resource that has improved the lives of people in innumerable ways. With the advancement of technology, information on nearly every topic is available at the fingertips and on a few swipes using smartphones, tablets, personal computers and other connected devices. It has enabled communication across the world at a never seen before kind of speed and reach. It is possible to carry out complex medical procedures that saves many lives. Thus, there are two sides of technology and both are equally intriguing.

Ways digital apps help  patients recovering from addiction

Quite a few smartphone apps have been designed to assist a person during the recovery process. While some are available at no additional cost to the user, other applications are chargeable. The Alcoholics Anonymous “Big Book” is currently available in the iTunes store free of cost. Likewise, Sober Grid is an app that provides a free peer support network to aid recovery.

Based on their current location, patients can now hope to find immediate support. Squirrel Recovery is another app developed at the Ohio State University that gives people going through the phase of recovery the opportunity to create their own peer support groups selected entirely from the digital platform. The members of such networking platforms help each other by checking on each other’s well-being, and if someone is feeling low or at risk, his or her peers can offer immediate assistance. Thus, an entire support system is available to the recovery patients at the touch of a button no matter where they live.

Another breakthrough technology is the neurofeedback therapy, which, despite being slightly controversial has been embraced by quite a few rehabilitation programs at hospitals and treatment centers. This therapy trains a patient’s brain to override his or her cravings for alcohol and drugs. By using electrodes, laptops and special software, the treating doctor can read a patient’s brainwaves and make decisions based on the brainwave readings. The patient is trained to respond positively to rewards other than alcohol and drug cravings.

At Virginia Tech Carillion, researchers have been working on innovative computer programs that are able to educate patients about their addiction. This will assist in reducing a counselor’s time and energy spent in reiterating the same basic information to their patients. By making patients more aware about the ins and outs of addiction recovery, such novel tools would give medical practitioners more time to focus on the specific needs of every patient. Moreover, this will make the caregiver’s work easier and in turn benefit patients.

The virtual reality technology has also advanced substantially in the recent years. Researchers in South Korea have been able to design and develop a 3D model with which patients can be treated for alcoholism. As of now, though researchers have forayed into gene therapy, it will take years to replicate it in human beings. Still, these developments show that research is moving in the right direction and scientists are on the path to harnessing modern technology to find the right cure for the society’s ills.

Seek counseling for alcohol-related problems

The above-mentioned apps are turning out to a blessing for all medical facilities and medical practitioners. Using such modernistic tools, they are able to keep a tab on their patients on a regular basis. It has narrowed down the gap between doctors and patients by ensuring effective communication and constant follow-up.

If you or your loved one is fighting alcohol addiction, contact the Colorado Alcohol Addiction Help for guidance on the best facilities offering alcohol treatment in Colorado. Call our 24/7 helpline number 866-592-9261 or chat online with our counselors to know about some of the finest alcohol addiction treatment centers in Colorado.