As technology grows more and more sophisticated, the treatment industry is pouring R&D money into developing mobile applications that will hopefully increase positive outcomes for recovering addicts. People coming out of rehab face lots of unique challenges when it comes to post-rehab life, such as reintegrating into society, staying sober, attaining steady employment, and resisting cravings. App makers have been busy creating software that can help with all of these aspects of recovery, integrating tracking software, online therapy, and motivational resources and incentives. We looked across the web to find some of the most promising new technology emerging in the recovery space.
Ascent is an addiction recovery application that reaches recovering addicts at their most critical juncture – immediately post rehab. The app connects users with peers and professional coaches in addiction recovery at any time, straight from mobile phone. By providing resources at this vital stage in the journey to sobriety, Ascent hopes to dramatically improve the odds of long term recovery for their users. Their app has also been clinically tested to help those in rehab achieve greater outcomes. An outcomes study conducted by Case Western Reserve University reported a 20% increase in treatment completion for clients in an Intensive Outpatient Program using the Ascent app.
Sober Grid is a helpful application that gives users daily check ins to report on their progress and monitor their condition. Users are prompted with questions including writing a daily pledge, along with a report on their current mood. While the app relies on the honesty of users to function, there is also an alert function that lets other users connected to the app know when someone has stopped checking in. This app could be distributed among a person’s support group to provide a vital connection between addicts, family, and friends. There is also a “burning desire” function that allows the user to send out a sort of SOS signal to other users, letting them know that they are feeling an intense desire to use or are about to use.
WeConnect is an addiction recovery application that aims to connect more recovering addicts with a community that understands and cares about them. The company was started in 2015 and has been steadily growing their user base. Features of the application include daily notifications offering motivational support, encouraging communication with support groups, daily activities to complete, and even tracking software. This tracking software helps to ensure that users are attending particular meetings and avoiding areas where they may have previously purchased or consumed substances. Like Sober Grid, this application also includes an SOS feature that alerts emergency contacts. What’s great about this application is that it comes with a built-in rewards system that allows users to receive coupons and discounts by completing recovery goals.
Soberlink is an innovative new approach to alcohol monitoring incorporating cloud based software, real time access to medical records, and facial recognition software. The company was cleared by the FDA in 2016 and has since been integrated in a number of treatment centers across the US, including at Betty Ford and Caron Treatment. Soberlink comes with a breathalyzer device attached to a facial recognition camera. When the user receives a notification to take the test, they simply attach the device to their smartphone, activate the facial recognition device, and breathe into the breathalyzer. Results are sent directly to pre-specified clinicians and treatment centers. This type of device could revolutionize the way we remotely monitor post recovery success for alcoholics, and hopefully we’ll see cross substance compatible uses in the future.
Reset-O is the brainchild of Pear Therapeutics. The application received FDA approval in 2017 to go to market, and is targeted at those recovering from opioid addiction. The app specifically helps those recovering from opioid addiction with specially crafted cognitive behavioral therapy activities. The FDA cleared the application as a viable therapeutic model for 12 week intervals in treating substance use disorders (SUD’s). In a clinical trial of 400 patients, the application helped produce an abstinence rate more than twice that of the control group (40% compared to 17.6%). Reset-O incorporates motivational therapy as well, using financial incentives in a similar manner to WeConnect, allowing users to work through daily goals, automatically creating and sending progress reports to pre-selected clinicians, treatment centers, and employers.
A-CHESS is a similar application to others on this list, with some other interesting features included and in the works. In clinical trials users experienced a significant decrease in risky drinking days (days when addicts felt strong urges to use) following release from their treatment center. The tracking software included with A-CHESS also includes a feature that can warn people within someone’s support group if the user has been nearby or inside for too long of a high risk area, for example a liquor store or well known alley to score drugs. Like the other apps, A-CHESS has daily check ins, resources, and motivational messages. One of the more interesting features they are hoping to implement is the inclusion of biosensor technology that could be subdermally implanted to monitor drug and alcohol usage. These sensors could measure things like opioid usage, body temperature, and heart rate.
Less comprehensive than the other applications on this list, Sober Tool is still a useful application that gives you a daily series of questions about your state of mind. Questions like: How are you feeling? Are you thinking about using again? Do you feel valued? Do you plan to use in the near future? The application alerts other users and specified treatment professionals when a user indicates that they feel like using or have used. It also includes motivational messaging.
Landmark Recovery is a Louisville-based drug and alcohol rehab center. We offer a wide variety of therapeutic models and medication assisted treatment options for recovering addicts to achieve long term sobriety.