Over the last two decades, there have been significant technological advancements that have impacted how we perform various functions, including travel, shopping, education, and health.

A significant health concern is addiction, a brain disease that can affect anyone. 

The most severe form of substance use disorder (SUD), addiction manifests as a compulsion for a substance or behavior. If addiction is left untreated, it can affect your life in multiple ways: financially, socially, physically, and mentally. 

There are various approaches to fight addiction. You can use traditional psychotherapy, technological methods, or a combination of both.

The Internet of Things (IoT)—a network of Internet-connected devices—is a technological innovation that can help fight addiction and facilitate online recovery. 

As of July 2020, more than 4.5 billion people globally were active Internet users. 

How Can the Internet of Things Help Fight Addiction?

There are various ways the Internet of Things helps to provide online recovery. The Internet of Things offers:

Anonymity

A 2014 study of public attitudes by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that society is more hostile towards people with substance use disorders (SUD) than those with mental illnesses. This animosity—even among family members or people close to us, makes people uncomfortable seeking help for their SUD. 

Celebrities and other well-known people may feel they can’t be seen seeking help without risking legal trouble or loss of professional standing. That’s one reason why 12-step organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous are anonymous; they can help people recover from addiction without feeling judged.

The Internet of Things helps to maintain the anonymity of those fighting their addiction. You can create an anonymous profile on an online recovery program or anonymously get information on how to get help for addiction. Many 12-step groups have long offered online meetings. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, these online meetings have increased. 

Some addiction professionals also offer online consultations.

Technology-Based Interventions

Traditional methods are still instrumental in addiction recovery. The Internet of Things uses technology-based interventions to supplement and support traditional addiction treatments, not replace them, assist online recovery, and prevent relapse.

Technology-based interventions include:

  • Technology-assisted behavioral therapies like individual counseling.
  • Education on substance and behavioral addiction.
  • Recovery support programs.
  • Prevention resources.
  • Information resources.
  • Wellness monitoring.

The Internet of Things provides access to these interventions through various methods which include:

  • Zoom and other types of video conferencing.
  • Telephone counseling.
  • Web-based text communication, such as chat, emails, and online forums.
  • Self-directed therapeutic tools.
  • Self-assessment tools.

While such technology-based interventions have little impact on addressing behavioral addictions, it is still significant.

Centralized Prescriptions

Prescription drugs are a concern because of the high abuse, addiction, overdose, and fatalities. Opioids are one of the significant prescription drugs raising a lot of concern. 

Currently, the United States is in the middle of an opioid epidemic. In 2012, there were more than 250 million opioid prescriptions. By 2018, however, the number had decreased to fewer than 170 million prescriptions. Still, 128 people lost their lives every day due to opioid overdose.

The Internet of Things provides prescription monitoring programs that help healthcare officials monitor and control prescriptions. The monitoring programs can also store your prescription history to indicate if you are responsible enough to take the prescriptions home.

Awareness

The Internet is an extensive information resource that young people prefer to brick-and-mortar libraries. The Internet of Things increases awareness of and access to information about addiction recovery, such as:  

  • Types of addiction. 
  • Causes. 
  • Symptoms. 
  • Effects. 
  • How to get help.  

The Internet of Things is all about communication. You can use various platforms to ask questions, learn about campaigns, present your views, debate, and seek addiction support. Since it’s online, you can have few interruptions when addressing your thoughts and can take your time to give responses.

Monitoring Apps and Use of Wearables

The Internet of Things has also made it possible to fight addiction through artificial intelligence applications and wearables. There are smartphone apps available that create addiction awareness and monitor the chances of relapse.

Wearables have sensors that track your habits. For example, a smartwatch can detect hand movements used in smoking, create awareness of the effects of smoking, and give out reward points when you abstain.

You can also use a wearable breathalyzer to monitor your alcohol consumption and the alcohol content in your body. 

Other wearables offer physical stimuli like a tiny zap to prevent you from engaging in addictive habits.

Final Thoughts

Addiction is a disease characterized by a compulsion to engage in a particular behavior or use a substance. There are various treatment and prevention measures for addiction. Treatment is more effective if you keep up on trends and combine various methods.

The use of the Internet of Things is one of the trends. It will help you fight addiction in various ways, including anonymous online recovery, use of wearables, prescription control, technology-based interventions, and addiction awareness.

About the Author

Patrick Bailey is a professional writer mainly in the fields of mental health, addiction, and living in recovery. He attempts to stay on top of the latest news in the addiction and the mental health world and enjoy writing about these topics to break the stigma associated with them. 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Pat_Bailey80

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/patrick-bailey-writer

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