How is Technology Making Way into the Recovery World?

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According to the Pew Research Center in 2015, 68% of Americans own a smartphone and 45% have tablet computers. Technology is much easier to access, and with that access comes many tools that individuals can use. For instance, Statista, a statistics portal, claims that as of March 2017, Android users can choose between 2.8 million apps, with the Apple store containing around 2.2 million. There are many apps that people can use for a variety of topics – gaming, monitoring, health related issues, and more. As apps are becoming more popular, their use is even becoming prevalent in the recovery world.

The American Psychological Association (APA) has identified more than 165,000 health-related apps worldwide, helping users with diet and weight management, mood monitoring, managing chronic diseases, and more. According to Robert Parkinson of U.S. News, there are apps that now help people with recovery – which changes the way that diseases are treated entirely. For example, Sober Grid is an app that helps people find immediate support based on their current location. Squirrel Recovery allows people with a former addiction to develop their own digital support groups. Other apps even help people to track their alcohol consumption, or even to view inspirational messages by others to help them continue their journey through recovery.

Instantaneous therapy sessions are also making way into the app world, with some providing video and camera options to connect patients and therapists through phone directly. The APA has also mentioned that apps are so popular because they are available to clients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They help keep patients connected to their physician as they track their information outside of the doctor’s office. Apps are also often formatted in a way that’s easy for users to understand and provides more compelling images and usability.

Some researchers are skeptical of these health-related apps, however. The fear is that some of these apps are not research and scientific-based, which could provide misleading information to users. While research is still being conducted and new apps are emerging, one thing is for certain: in a technology-based era, apps are becoming more and more used for people recovering. If you are using a health-based app, consider talking with your doctor about which app you are using. You may be able to find out more information on that app and its usefulness, and may even be able to provide results from the app to better aid your patient-physician interactions.

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