Mobile Apps Offer Help To Those Recovering From Addiction
If it exists, there’s going to be an app for it. In the U.S., currently an estimated 1.8 million persons are addicted to prescription painkillers. More than 4 million are habitually addicted to marijuana, 18 million are alcoholic abusers, and 40 million are tobacco smokers.
But it’s not just substances – there are a myriad of behavioral possibilities as well – such as sex addiction, gambling, the Internet and yes – even smartphone addiction.
It’s unlikely that smartphone apps can really solve someone’s substance abuse problems if they are very severe, but they may certainly be a helpful tool post-treatment, for those still recovering from addiction.
A-CHESS, for example, is an app developed by researchers at the University of Wisconsin, which functions as continuing relapse prevention support for those recovering from alcoholism after they complete treatment. For example, it includes a GPS warning system that sounds an alarm when the user is near at-risk locations, such as a bar – and if they go near, they will be asked if they need an immediate Facetime conversation with a counselor.
Other provisions include a panic button, relaxation strategies, and motivational reminders. It’s also evidence-based – a study found that A-CHESS users reported fewer risky drinking days, and had a higher likelihood of consistent abstinence from alcohol. A-CHESS is available for Android.
recoveryBox is an iOS app that promotes accountability in recovery – but for a wide range of addictions. Users are able to customize the app to their specific addiction, and track their daily accountability. Green, red, and yellow lights serve as indicators that activities or actions either support recovery or are relapse risks.
In addition, the app allows the user to enter treatment goals, monitor relapse triggers, and track 12-step progress.
Sober Grid is another recovery-assisting app, that according to the description “puts a free peer support network right in your pocket to aid you in your recovery.” It allows users to build a network of supportive peers, also in recovery, and helps them to connect with other sober peers in the area.
The app also allows the user to remain anonymous, and the network is global – thus, it could be a great help when traveling.
Sober Grid is available for iOS and Android.
~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology