New technology is everywhere these days. IBM’s Watson supercomputer has been used in cancer treatment to assist with medical decision-making. Dermatologists can employ a handheld tool for multispectral analysis of tissue morphology which helps avoid unnecessary biopsies. Medical robots have begun to appear in some hospitals where they check on patients without direct human intervention.
Addiction treatment can benefit as well. A new medical device called Neuro-Stim System Bridge aims to take the edge off withdrawal pain. It fits just behind the ear, sending electrical feedback to the brain to block the pain of detox. A physician places the device behind the ear where the cranial nerves run close to the surface of the skin. A battery-operated chip then sends impulses to those nerves to help block pain caused by substance withdrawal.
According to the website qmed.com, a treatment center in Indiana ran a six week pilot program last summer that offered clients the Bridge device. “Over the six week period 37 different patients used the device, and all 37 patients successfully completed the outpatient detox program without any setbacks.”
Hi-tech medical devices are not the only aides that are increasingly available to people in recovery. A variety of mobile apps can be downloaded to your smartphone or tablet to aid with efforts to overcome addiction. Need help and guidance? The Alcoholics Anonymous "Big Book" is available in the iTunes store. Looking for a sober roommate? There’s an app for that. Or how about the recoveryBox app? It allows you to track the positive and negative choices you are making and you can email an update to a sponsor or counselor.
One should be cautious with the use of social technology, though. In an article on The Fix, Sarah Peters warned that a smartphone can be both “your best friend and worst enemy in recovery.”
“Addiction experts don’t recommend forgoing face-to-face interactions or checking in as needed with a professional when using apps to aid in the recovery process, no matter how good that app may seem.”
Apps are certainly no substitute for a comprehensive assessment or professional treatment in case of a severe substance use disorder.