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Addressing Addiction With Technology

It’s unlikely technology will completely take over for addiction treatment specialists. In fact, it’s a far less doom-and-gloom situation than it seems.

“No robot will ever do my job as well as me!” come the cries of construction workers, linemen, and orthopedic surgeons—well, at least in popular culture. Whether or not it’s a daily acclimation from these—or any other—groups is uncertain. Nevertheless, humans have been contemplating the idea of automation and other technology overtaking their lives since even before Henry Ford thought up the assembly line. But surely tech has no place in addiction treatment, right?

Wrong! (But you knew that!) We came across this article about technology and addiction, and it was fascinating. Here are some of the highlights.

  • The majority (54.1%) of people who are addicted to drug and alcohol are under 18. This population also has the highest usage of smartphones, tablets, and other devices. It makes sense to meet this group where they are, which means being present online.
  • Online treatment options remove barriers from those who might seek addiction treatment thanks to their anonymity and ease of use.
  • Patient analytics are easily tracked when everything is done online.
  • As anyone who has ever weighed in on a Facebook discussion knows, the online community has a lot of support for those struggling with addiction. With the right platform, people can receive instant affirmation from around the world.
  • Computer-based trainings (CBT) modules can conduct cognitive behavioral therapy and other psychotherapies to retrain the brain to overcome addiction.

It’s unlikely technology will ever completely take over for addiction treatment specialists and facilities. In fact, it’s a far less doom-and-gloom situation than what people may think. In many cases, online technology is a first step that people might not otherwise take in getting treatment.

So while patients may start by accessing treatment through technology, chances are good that recovery will involve good old-fashioned person-to-person care at some point in their journey. And you and your patients will be better for it.