Technology in Addiction Recovery
Addiction is an expansive disease, with no 2 cases being the same. Unlike standard illnesses, there is no definitive guide or cure-all for treating addiction – you are simply given tools to cope with the disease. This means that while certain treatment types and combinations may work for some, they won’t necessarily work for you. Instead, the secret to successful rehabilitation is a tailored treatment plan that utilizes medical and technological advancements to provide more ways to help you recover.
Over time, psychiatrists and other mental health professionals have developed a wide array of potential treatment options for addictions of all types that can be used with their patients. As treating mental illness requires a lot of trial-and-error, newly developed treatments increase the chances of finding something that works for you – and technology may be one of the keys to your recovery.
Uses of Technology in Addiction Recovery
Technology has taken a huge step in recent years with the development of immersive technology and the advancement of programs and apps that can benefit your recovery. No longer are you restricted to simply talking about problems with your therapist – you can desensitize yourself from the safety of rehab, learn and be reminded of coping skills, and receive emotional support when you need it most, all thanks to the technology used in addiction recovery.
Immersive Virtual Reality
The controlled environment of rehab facilities makes them ideal for working on your addiction, but unfortunately, you can’t stay forever. Eventually, you’re going to have to return to your home or everyday life where potential triggers of your past can tempt you to relapse. This is why the hardest part of addiction recovery is the first few days after leaving rehab.
To help take some of the pressure and stress off of this transition, modernized addiction treatment facilities are using virtual reality programs – namely Dr. Phil’s Path to Recovery – to simulate the situations that could cause a relapse. By putting a VR headset on, users can be transported to an entirely different location in virtual reality. This could be hanging out at an old friend’s party, visiting a restaurant with a bar, and other environments that can potentially trigger your addiction. However, the difference is that Dr. Phil himself is sitting there with you, providing words of encouragement, offering coping skills, and helping to desensitize you to the environment so that when you face it in reality, it is less of a shock to you. This program also helps identify the specific triggers that affect you, which allows your therapist to address these concerns to prepare you for leaving the facility.
Once you’ve left the rehab center, it’s common to feel lonely or unsure about your future. While you no longer have direct access to a therapist or mental health professional to help you cope during the harder times, technology has made getting help easier than ever.
There are apps for your phone, tablet, or computer that can be used to help fight off the urge to relapse. From accessing information quickly and easily to chatting with someone when you need it most, you have plenty of options to consider that can make recovery easier outside of rehab.
One of the main app types that are available is informational apps like Alcoholics Anonymous’s “Big Book”, which includes a collection of teachings, podcasts, and more to help guide you through sobriety spiritually. This app makes finding everything – including personal anecdotes from people who were in your shoes – easier than scouring the internet. You can also find meetings for a more personal experience.
Another type of app that may help you are social recovery apps like Nomo or SoberGrid. These apps add a social element to sobriety, allowing you to interact with other people who are recovering for emotional support or create markers, milestones, or clocks related to your progress. This helps to integrate accountability into the process and show you the progress you’ve made while sober. For Nomo, this could be money or calories saved from not using drugs or drinking. For SoberGrid, you may be able to help someone going through a hard time or get help yourself with peer coaching.
Finally, there are online “face-to-face” therapy sessions you can have with counselors through telemedicine. Similar to SoberGrid’s peer coaching, these apps link you up with a counselor either through video chat, online chat, or other messaging systems. If you don’t want to talk to family about your problems or don’t have anyone to talk to, these allow you to share how you feel without worrying about what you say.
While all of these apps are great examples of using technology in addiction recovery, they’re no substitute for the professional help from a licensed counselor. In many cases, the help you receive will be moral or spiritual rather than medical, as SoberGrid and telemedicine are not guaranteed to be medical professionals. Use them to help you recover – but don’t rely solely on them!
Leveraging Technology for a Better Recovery
When choosing your rehab facility, it’s important to ensure that your choice provides you the best chance at success with the most modern and best treatments available. At Ocean Hills Recovery, we implement Dr. Phil’s Path to Recovery alongside our holistic treatment approach to help you through the recovery process. From helping you better understand addiction to identifying triggers and building coping mechanisms through immersive VR, we’re equipped to provide the treatment you need to get better – and stay sober even after you leave.
To learn more about how Ocean Hills Recovery can help guide you to sobriety, give us a call today!