How Innovative Technologies Enhance Addiction Recovery Programs
Recovering from addiction isn’t always easy for many. Training your body and brain to cease using something that gives it pleasure may be challenging. You also face numerous difficulties during and after rehabilitation. For instance, you may develop difficult emotions, relapse, cravings, loneliness, mental health issues, boredom, and many more.
To overcome those obstacles, rehab centers, including Jackson House Addiction Treatment & Recovery Centers, have incorporated technology into addiction treatment schedules.
In recent years, technology has benefited numerous industries. The health sector has also realized the importance of integrating technology into its systems. Thus, various types of technology are being harnessed in addiction recovery programs to provide additional and better ways of enabling people to manage substance use disorders. Continue reading to learn how innovative technologies enhance addiction recovery programs:
1. Remote Patient Monitoring
Relapse is a common alcohol addiction after-effect, and you need long-term care and monitoring to overcome the addiction completely. Even after completing a rehab program and becoming sober, you may be tempted to resume taking the alcohol again. This is because you’re now exposed to the world, and the strict measures you had in the rehab are no longer enforced. So, anything can trigger you, or you may face situations that tempt you to return to alcohol use.
Fortunately, with the advent of technology, therapists can extend their services while you’re away and ensure you fully recover. Usually, your doctor gives you a wearable device designed to provide GPS tracking and alert them when you’re in high-risk locations. Moreover, these devices enable your doctor to collect data by monitoring your blood pressure. This gives them real-time information they can use to prevent relapse and other emergencies.
Besides that, some rehabilitation centers integrate technology into inventive treatment procedures. In this strategy, doctors train your brain to offset your yearning for alcohol using electrodes and unique software. Your doctor can make informed decisions about your situation by reading your brain waves.
Some benefits of remote patient monitoring in addiction recovery programs are as follows:
- Enables patients to boost self-management and care plan adherence
- Fosters access to care
- Builds patient engagement
- Enhances patient experience and satisfaction
- Improves the decision-making process of therapists
- Reduces care costs where a patient may need to be admitted or readmitted
2. Online Therapy
Initially, to undergo therapy, you had to physically visit your therapist at a private place or clinic. This could inconvenience or even discourage you as you have to travel, leaving your daily tasks to see them. However, today’s technology has enabled online therapy, also known as teletherapy. You can attend your therapy session in the comfort of your home with only your smartphone or laptop connected to the internet.
Teletherapy plays a substantial role in addiction recovery programs. The significant advantage is that those in remote areas where health care is sparse can access the services. Aside from that, it saves you time and money you could spend traveling and personally meeting your doctor. Other benefits include:
- Enhanced privacy: Unluckily, there’s still stigmatization in addiction treatment. For this reason, you may not be comfortable seeking treatment from rehab centers as you wouldn’t want your friends, neighbors, or colleagues to see you entering or leaving the center. When you can access your treatment from any place, including your private room, nobody can ever know about your treatment. This eliminates your worries and encourages you to attend to adhere to the program.
- Convenience: Because you can attend therapy sessions from the comfort of your home, you can select the most convenient time. This is a crucial benefit for the therapy to flow smoothly.
- More remarkable resourcefulness: Attending your therapy sessions from home is clinically efficacious. You may feel more comfortable speaking over the phone than face to face. This makes it more effective as you have the courage to say what you wouldn’t say in person.
- Enhances group therapy: In teletherapy, your doctor can connect you with others with the same struggles and situations. This offers outstanding support and encouragement you wouldn’t find in individual online therapy or physical consultations with your therapist.
- Supports several forms of communication: Unlike conventional therapy, where you’re limited to physical appointments and maybe phone calls, online therapy helps with communication methods like videoconferencing, text messages, email, etc. You can choose the one you’re comfortable using.
3. Use Of Virtual Reality As An Addiction Treatment Tool
One of the biggest challenges you can face when recovering from addiction is dealing with cravings. An unfortunate thing about cravings is that anything can trigger them. When you’re with people or visit a place associated with substance use, it initiates a connection in your brain, and you think it’s time to use it. Mostly, you don’t even make a deliberate decision to use it, but you find yourself on it again.
To address these automatic responses to cravings, therapists use cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and exposure therapy. CBT involves learning practical strategies for overcoming circumstances that emerge while trying to be sober. On the other hand, in exposure therapy, you’re exposed to a stimulus, like an empty alcohol bottle, in a safe environment to master how to control your reactions to it. However, in this kind of therapy, cravings are dependent on conditions. This is where virtual reality comes in. Instead of being exposed to a stimulus, you immerse yourself in different settings and situations that can help you to fight temptations and gain therapeutic support.
In virtual reality (VR), you use a headset to dive into a broad array of virtual worlds. This technology makes you feel like you’re in a real environment that triggers cravings and gives you a chance to engage directly with the world around you. The type of world you’re immersed in depends on the treatment you’re receiving and the stimulus condition. These virtual worlds are self-sufficient and enable you to tackle your addiction safely and genuinely without worrying about relapse or temptation.
In addition to fighting cravings, other benefits of VR in addiction treatment include:
- Helps you to relax: As an addict, being sober can be boring compared to the adrenaline that comes in when you continue with your addiction. VR enables you to relax and cope with your obligation to be sober. It provides a secure substitute for drug use, which can establish new and healthy ways of dealing with addiction outside treatment.
- Helps you through detoxification: Detox is the first step when recovering from alcohol addiction. In this stage, you face withdrawal effects like headaches, tremors, depression, irritability, etc. VR can help distract you from such discomfort of withdrawal and detox.
- Enables you to learn to say no: One thing you can struggle with when you commit to a drug addiction program is to say no. This can be more challenging when you leave treatment because you won’t be under the care of professionals. VR enables you to practice this scenario and say no to addiction repeatedly in a virtual setting; thus, you feel more confident doing it in the real world.
- Enhances personalized therapy: Various internal contributions, like self-doubt, can interfere with your recovery process. By exploring various situations and observing how you react to these scenarios, therapists can discover and cure the origin of your addiction.
4. Neurofeedback Technology
The most affected part of your body as an addict is your brain. Addiction alters the way neurons receive, send, and process signals through neurotransmitters. This makes the nervous system react negatively, thus affecting how the brain works. Instead of performing its core roles like coordination and mental stability, the brain becomes imbalanced, overwhelmed, anxious, etc. To make it function correctly, doctors can use neurofeedback to cure addiction and reverse its adverse effects on your brain.
Neurofeedback, also known as electroencephalogram (EEG) biofeedback, is a form of therapy that uses a computer-based system to gauge your brainwave activity. This therapy aims to alter your brain functioning and help you end your addiction. In a neurofeedback session, a technician places electrodes linked to the main computer on your scalp and listens to your brainwave activity. As the technician evaluates the brainwave activity, they identify your brain frequencies related to negative or positive behaviors. After this, you receive medications that help improve particular frequencies that negatively influence how well your body works.
Ideally, neurofeedback helps treat addiction by:
- Training your body on how to calm down: In the early stages of addiction recovery, you experience numerous withdrawal symptoms that can be mild or severe. Neurofeedback can help ease such symptoms by teaching your brain to calm down. The waves go out of the usual range when your brain is aroused. This leads to negative feedback, which makes you do the opposite of what you always do. To overcome this, you instinctively calm down, and as you relax on your own, you manage withdrawal symptoms better.
- Lowering reactivity and impulsivity: In neurofeedback sessions, you have no other option but to reason and maintain a clear mind when you receive negative feedback. As you do so, you receive positive feedback that helps reduce reactivity and impulsive behaviors. This can, in turn, help you prevent relapse and behaviors that can increase addiction.
- Supporting emotional regulation: In neurofeedback sessions, you learn to control your emotions for your brain waves to be in the normal range. As you do this, you start obtaining positive feedback. When you continue doing this regularly, you learn to control your emotions healthily rather than using drugs to deal with disturbing situations and stressful feelings.
5. Use Of Artificial Intelligence In Recovery Treatment
Artificial intelligence (AI) is gaining popularity in various industries, and health care isn’t left behind. With technological advancements, rehab facilities are establishing ways of integrating technology into addiction recovery programs. This incorporation opens new methods and chances of helping you to recover and obtain sobriety quickly. AI can help customize treatment programs to your needs. For example, chatbots respond to your requirements and evaluate your reactions to monitor the recovery progress.
Here are some ways in which AI improves addiction treatment:
- Used for treatment tracking: AI can be used to track the period you’ve been sober and monitor the recovery process. If you glide into an uneasy stage that can lead to relapse, your doctor gets an alert and can intervene on time. Additionally, you can link with your doctor via text messages or chatting apps during this period.
- Removes negative sways: The biggest hurdle during drug addiction recovery is eliminating negative impacts in your life. After completing rehab programs, your old friends may influence and incite you back to addiction. To overcome this, scientists developed an algorithm to help you eliminate social relationships that ruin your recovery. This system analyzes your relationship history with your crew and recommends whether the friendship should go on or end.
- Predicts the risk of relapse: AI merges with clinical research to assist in predicting when you’re at risk for relapse and provides treatment suggestions. For instance, when you’re in a place that can trigger a relapse, it detects and gives you a number to call or what you can do at the moment to hinder a deterioration.
- Aids in starting addiction treatment: As an addict, one of the most challenging parts is admitting that you have an issue and need help. AI can assess your level of addiction and signal that you need expert assistance. This enables you to make your first step into recovery.
- Helps in finding moral support: AI enables you to connect with people who live near you and are also going through the same challenges. This can act as a support network and sounding board. Some members can help you develop unique ideas for improving a challenging situation in your recovery process and hold you responsible along the way.
Implementing technology into health care has enriched the lives of many patients globally. It presents several opportunities for improving and transforming health care by reducing human errors and improving clinical results. In addiction recovery programs, innovative technology has enabled easy monitoring of addicts by doctors and therapists. Furthermore, doctors can identify when their patients experience relapse, cravings, or temptation at home, and quickly find solutions to the situation.
Therefore, when undergoing drug addiction treatment, you may consider seeking medication attention from recovery centers that have integrated technology into their program. This way, you can enjoy the numerous benefits of technology and, at long last, recover quickly.