Approximately 83 percent of Americans have mobile phones, and 79 percent have access to the internet regularly. As technology takes a firm hold on society, researchers are discovering the potential for computerized addiction treatment with promise and are approaching this new treatment method with hope. More technology-based software platforms are now being developed to treat addiction and allow treatment-program-access to significantly expand when compared to traditional treatment methods.
The Department of Health and Human Services points out another substantial benefit of this new treatment model saying, “Technology-based assessments (e.g., computerized assessments) of substance use may provide opportunities for increasing the standardization of assessment procedures and increasing the accuracy of self-reports or risk behavior, such as HIV-risk behavior.” This is encouraged by the ability to participate in the program anonymously.
Technological aids for treatment addiction have shown extensive promise in alcohol and cocaine addictions, some therapy approaches for pregnant women and new mothers, depression and co-occurring disorders.
Early smart phone applications for addiction treatment have been built on evidence-based strategies and focus on personal monitoring, online support groups and relapse prevention, including notifications of local environmental risks for people in recovery. A recent four-month study on one smart phone app showed a 46 percent decrease in heavy drinking days.