The statistics are staggering for the rate of relapse with addiction. While the exact rate may vary depending on whether the relapse is for drug, alcohol, gambling or sex addiction, the numbers are too high. However, new technology is being designed to address the issues surrounding relapse.
Living in Virtual Reality
A professor with the University of Houston has been studying addiction and its relation to virtual reality for over a decade. He has set up a lab which seeks to understand behaviors and responses and how virtual reality can assist with maintaining sobriety.
Addicts can enter a virtual reality world where they will be exposed to situations and triggers which would lead to relapse in real life. They have the opportunity to act out how they would respond in such a situation. As they learn the right methods of dealing with triggers, they will be more likely to use these same skills in their everyday lives. This is the idea behind the study, but the technology is still being developed.
Another new technology still in development is iHeal. A complete system designed to help recovering addicts avoid relapse, the technology is quite complex. A device monitors various physiological signs of a person. This information is sent to a smartphone where it is processed. If the information changes, the person is required to input information such as how they are feeling and if they are experiencing cravings. If this is the case, the device will activate intervention processes. Over time with more information, the device will become more accurate in its predictions of cravings.
The idea behind iHeal is that it can recognize signs of cravings and provide help before the person gives in. They will have a chance to make changes which will allow them to avoid relapse.
An App for Relapse
Addicaid is an app that can be installed on a smartphone or other device which uses artificial intelligence to predict relapse. The app provides various options for treatment to help the person overcome the cravings and avoid relapsing.
These technological advances could help reduce the percentage of relapse in recovering addicts as they become more widely available.