Readers like you help support MUO. When you make a purchase using links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Read More.

Have you ever thought about how technology can be used to help overcome some of your nastiest habits? It's not just about playing video games or scrolling through social media all day (although we all know how addicting that can be).

Technology can also play a big role in helping you recover from various addictions and lead a healthier, happier life. Let's take a closer look at the use of technology in addiction treatment and how it's changing the game for those looking to overcome their struggles.

Types of Technology Used in Addiction Treatment

Whether it's through smartphone apps, virtual therapy, or wearables, the possibilities of using technology to treat addiction continue to grow.

Mobile Apps for Addiction Treatment

There's an app for just about everything these days, and addiction treatment is no exception. From quitting smoking to cutting down on alcohol and even battling caffeine addiction, there are plenty of options to choose from.

I Am Sober is an app designed to track your sobriety in terms of time and dollars. It also includes a social feature where you can connect with others who understand what you're going through. Another option is Sober Grid, which it's funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

There are apps to help with addiction to other substances, as well. Quit Genius is a digital quitting program that employers can offer their staff to help them quit tobacco, alcohol, and other addictions. Meanwhile, Quit Caffeine logs stats such as time spent caffeine-free and money saved and provides achievements to help you visualize your journey to lower caffeine intake.

If you're looking to reduce the time you spend using your mobile devices, there are several methods to overcome smartphone addiction. One app that's worth trying is OffScreen, which will help you block certain apps during particular parts of the day and limit screen time overall.

Teletherapy for Addiction

Gone are the days of having to leave the house for therapy. Thanks to teletherapy, you can now receive treatment from the comfort of your own home. This is particularly useful if you suffer from addiction, as it can be easier to open up and be honest about your struggles in a safe and familiar environment. Online therapy can also be more accessible for those in remote or rural areas, where finding a qualified therapist might be more difficult.

There are several apps for helping with mental health. For example, BetterHelp will connect you with a licensed counselor or therapist remotely. Another option, Talkspace, provides tailored support for individuals, couples, teens, and those who need psychiatric help.

Wearables to Help Avoid Addictions

Wearable technology has come a long way, and there are now plenty of options for those looking to use it to treat addiction. For example, the Pavlok wearable device is a behavior modification tool that aims to help you break your bad habits by delivering an electric shock. Yes, you heard that right. The idea is that the shock will serve as negative reinforcement, making you associate your bad habit with an unpleasant sensation.

Here's how it works: The Pavlok device is worn on the wrist and connects to a mobile app. When you engage in a bad habit, the shock is delivered as a mild, but noticeable, zap that's meant to startle the user and interrupt their behavior.

Another company, DyAnsys, has developed the FDA-approved Drug Relief device. It's a wearable that sends electrical pulses through tiny needles in your ear to alleviate symptoms of anxiety, depression, and withdrawal.

Advantages of Using Technology in Addiction Treatment

When it comes to addiction treatment, the advantages of using technology are numerous, making it an increasingly popular option for those seeking help. Here are just a few of the benefits:

  • Convenience and accessibility. One of the biggest advantages of technology-based addiction treatment is the convenience factor. With teletherapy, mobile apps, and wearable devices, you can treat yourself or receive treatment at home.
  • Accessibility. With technology, addiction treatment is more accessible to a wider range of people, including those in remote or underserved areas, or those who have mobility issues or disabilities.
  • Personalized treatment plans. With wearable devices, you can monitor your behavior and track your progress more accurately, giving your therapist the data they need to develop an effective, customized plan.
  • Reduction of stigma. By using apps and wearable devices, you can receive treatment discreetly and anonymously, without having to confront the social and emotional barriers often associated with seeking help in person.

Challenges and Limitations of Technology in Addiction Treatment

People chatting in a circle

While technology has many benefits when it comes to addiction treatment, it's important to recognize that there are also some challenges and limitations. Here are a few things to consider.

  • Cost. The cost of technology-based addiction treatment may be a barrier for some depending on the modality. For example, while BetterHelp is less expensive than traditional in-person therapy (BetterHelp charges between $60 and $90 per session whereas traditional therapy sessions cost between $75 and $150), teletherapy may still be out of reach for some folks.
  • Limited personal interaction. While teletherapy and mobile apps can provide valuable support and resources, they can't replace the human connection that is often an important part of traditional addiction treatment.
  • Lack of evidence-based research. There is limited research available to support the efficacy of technology in addiction treatment.
  • Technical issues. This can include everything from software bugs to internet connectivity problems, which can disrupt treatment and limit its effectiveness.

It's important to be aware of these challenges and limitations when considering technology-based addiction treatment. You can also learn more about the benefits and risks of telemedicine specifically.

Evolving Addiction Treatment With Technology

Whether you're looking to quit smoking or overcome another addiction, there's a tech solution out there that you might want to consider. And as technology continues to advance, new innovations will likely be even more effective. With the right tools and support, you'll be on your way to a happier and healthier life in no time.

Keep in mind that while it can be a valuable tool in your fight against addiction, it might be best to use technology as part of a comprehensive treatment plan under the guidance of a healthcare professional, and in conjunction with other evidence-based therapies.