Treating Addictions with Connected Devices

Treating Addictions with Connected Devices

Healthcare Tech Outlook | Monday, March 18, 2019

With a myriad of psychological, psychiatric, nutritional, and lifestyle approaches, addictions remain one of the most difficult mental health conditions to cure. Connected devices that are designed to treat a myriad of addictions such as tobacco smoking, alcohol consumption, and opioid abuse have evolved over the past decade. These devices allow people to keep track of their health and develop healthy habits and are now becoming a growing part of the addiction fight.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies are also being used in the treatment of addictions and show changes in the field of substance abuse treatment in several aspects. AI applications are being developed to help smokers quit smoking by raising awareness and accountability in the process. Smartphone apps that use AI bots to chat with users are being used to make users more aware of their smoking habits, resulting in reduced smoking.

AI is a useful predictive tool and is being tested and used as a predictor of relapse in alcohol addicts using various data sources, such as those related to behavior in social media. These apps trigger timely intervention detect instances where users are likely to fall into relapse. Many applications are also used to help addicts to recover in their own situation to find and support others. These applications foster addict recovery communities and volunteers to support those in need, assisting former addicts in remaining committed to their self-control.

Wearable devices such as fitness watches are equipped with sensors that increasingly track the daily habits of users. Smartwatches with AI applications help smokers control their habit. The application uses deep learning algorithms to track the hand movements of the wearer relative to his mouth and to identify smoking instances. This can be used to notify them of their actions and keep them aware. Also, a wearable breathalyzer can be used for alcoholics or those who want to control their alcohol consumption to monitor the alcohol content in their body and notify them when they cross a safe threshold.

These wearable devices are not the end of all solution to a life-threatening disease like addiction. They are promising pieces of technology that can work with medication, therapy, and support groups to help addicts curb cravings, sober up, and stay on track with recovery.

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