Mobile health apps can help curb addiction - Sovereign Health Group
Articles / Blog
10-09-17 Category: Addiction

In today’s digital world, undoubtedly mobility rules. Studies suggest smartphone or tablet users spend about two-thirds of their time using a mobile app. Each day, a plethora of apps enter the market, leaving Americans with their heads buried in smartphones. Such mobile applications include telehealth or telemedicine apps, which aim to facilitate the transfer of health-related information between patients and their doctors via a tablet or a smartphone. Moreover, private health insurance providers nationwide have started covering telemedicine or telehealth services to minimize overall health care costs and save lives.

Telehealth services include enabling remote patient monitoring (RPM) with a consulting physician, particularly during times of disaster or natural calamities. One such success story of the use of telehealth apps was reported when the Hurricane Irma struck Florida. A mother of a four-year-old daughter with fever could get in touch with a pediatrician via such an app. The physician viewed her daughter’s condition remotely and directed the mother to perform certain tests under his supervision. This helped the sick girl from ending up at the emergency room, which could have been affected badly on the day of the hurricane.

Experts say the scope of such apps can be expanded beyond the ambit of physical health problems, extending to mental health and addiction. A classic example of mobile app use in the area of mental health and substance abuse treatment would be the administration of several cognitive behavioral therapies (CBTs) to people recovering from addiction . In the light of a possible transition to innovative health care apps, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) has acknowledged the promising outcome of such initiatives.

Recognizing the potential of health care apps, in September 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first prescription app – “Pear Therapeutics’ app” – to treat addiction. Start up Pear Therapeutics is the designer of this new app called reSET for substance use disorder, which would be prescribed by a clinician in addition to counseling. The new app is believed to be a digitized form of talk therapy, which is popularly known as CBT.

The new app will help analyze the relationships between feelings, thoughts and behaviors. On the whole, the app is no way a substitute for a human therapist, but  it will be exclusively used as a supplement. An FDA-led 12-week clinical trial suggested a considerable decline in the use of cocaine, alcohol, marijuana and other stimulants. Further, in the wake of the ongoing opioid epidemic in the country, Pear Therapeutics is working on launching a similar opioid-specific app. In the near future, many software development companies are expected to jump on the mobile health bandwagon to combat the growing menace of substance abuse and addiction.

Everybody is wired for addiction

According to an article published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, psychology professor Brian Anderson of Texas A&M University says the brains of people with addiction and those without any substance use problem are wired for addiction.

Studies show that when an individual becomes addicted to a substance, stimuli linked to that substance possess the ability to capture that individual’s attention. As many believe, at the heart of all human effort lies the desire to secure a reward. Every individual’s life is centered on deciding what prize they want and then taking steps to reach their goals. However, in the sphere of rewards, everybody might not be on the same level. In the case of people addicted to substances, it could be even hard-wired into their grey matter. The bias for drug cues that is usually observed in individuals with addiction, is actually a normal cogitative process associated with the reward centers in the brain.

Leading an addiction-free life

Addiction is more rampant than one can realize. There is no doubt that times are changing, but unfortunately, there is still a huge stigma attached to addiction, particularly when it is capable of causing a great deal of harm. Mind-altering drugs are known to modify the brain’s reward system by triggering a dopamine rush, which spontaneously tweaks the brain for an intensified response to higher doses of the drug, paving the path for full-blown addiction. In such cases, the help of a reputed drug addiction treatment center can be really beneficial in combating the menace of substance use disorder forever.

If you or a loved one is struggling to break free from addiction to any harmful drug, contact Sovereign Health of San Clemente, California, which offers a variety of customized treatment for addiction. Our licensed clinicians use several approaches to resolving each underlying problem. Programs at our addiction treatment centers are tailored to individual needs in order to treat the person holistically. For more information, call our 24/7 helpline or chat online with one of our representatives.

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