Over half of all people in recovery experience at least one relapse. Preventative measures, including digital apps, provide clients with additional support and reduce the risk of relapse. According to JMIR Mental Health, “There is strong and growing evidence to support the effectiveness of technology-based treatment approaches for substance use disorders across the care continuum, including screening and assessment, treatment, and recovery support.” West Coast Recovery Centers encourages clients to use digital tools responsibly to reduce the risk of relapse and improve the effectiveness of treatment.
Digital Tools for Recovery
Online applications, or apps, allow people to access a wide range of services and software from any smart device. Hundreds of thousands of apps exist for all types of lifestyles and needs. Thousands of helpful apps are available to help people recover from substance abuse. According to JMIR mHealth and UHealth, “Considering existing barriers to formal treatment for SUDs, including perceived stigma, cost, and limited treatment slots, smartphone apps are increasingly utilized.” People can use apps from any smart device or computer, making them especially accessible. Moreover, as the aforementioned article also highlights, “Most Americans now own smartphones (77%).”
The majority of people at the highest risk of substance use disorder (SUD) have access to phones or other smart devices. Individuals with access to the Internet can take advantage of digital tools for recovery even if they have low technological literacy. Most applications are user-friendly and easy to incorporate into relapse prevention strategies.
A few of the most common digital tools used to support addiction recovery include:
- 12-Step companion apps offering literature, a connection with other 12-Step followers, and daily affirmations
- Mood tracking apps
- Medication reminder apps
- Apps for finding sober restaurants and other sober locations
- General wellness apps
- Telehealth apps offering individual or group therapy and other services
- Recovery group apps for meeting and engaging with other people focused on maintaining sobriety
- Habit tracker apps for breaking bad habits and replacing them with healthy routines
- Psychoeducation apps provide information on addiction, treatment, and long-term recovery
- Fitness routine apps
- Sleep apps
Apps may only work on specific devices, and some are more user-friendly than others. People in recovery can download and try out various apps designed to address the challenges they encounter during treatment and early recovery.
Integrating Digital Tools Into Aftercare
Aftercare services ensure people in recovery continue to make progress and maintain sobriety after completing treatment. Recovery apps provide an additional layer of support and accountability. Apps are often free, easy to use, and available for anyone with an internet connection and smart device. Some apps are even available offline and can be used without an internet connection once downloaded. The convenience of these digital tools makes them ideal for individuals who don’t have a strong support system at home or access to additional recovery services after completing treatment.
Online Support Meetings
One of the most common types of apps provides access to online support group meetings. People can find almost any type of support group through apps and websites. Many different digital tools are available to connect people with online support meetings, including:
- Video conferencing apps
- Chat and messaging apps
- Social media apps
Some people may be worried about the safety and anonymity of using online support groups. West Coast Recovery Centers encourages clients to use caution when using any online tools. Although they provide an excellent source of support, individuals who are less technologically savvy may have difficulty recognizing legitimate groups. A great way to find safe apps to use is through official websites. Many states, counties, and cities have official apps or links to helpful digital tools for people in recovery. Case managers can help clients find legitimate recovery apps capable of reducing the risk of relapse.
Benefits of Telehealth Apps
Telehealth apps reduce the risk of relapse by ensuring people in recovery always have someone to reach out to in moments of crisis.
Some of the primary benefits of telehealth apps include:
- Accessibility and convenience
- Wide range of services and coverage areas
- Increased privacy and confidentiality
- Consistent access to necessary support
People with unusual schedules or other barriers to aftercare treatment benefit from telehealth apps, which often offer more flexible service hours.
How to Use Digital Tools Safely and Securely
Thousands of addiction recovery and mental health apps are available for people to use. However, not all of them come from reputable sources. People must be discerning about what apps they choose to download onto their devices and use.
Individuals can increase security and safety when using digital tools by doing the following:
- Using a secure and unique password for every account and app
- Enabling two-factor authentication whenever possible
- Regularly updating the app to ensure it has the latest security
- Using only secure internet connections
- Turning off the sharing of personal information using app privacy settings
- Using only apps found using trusted sources, including case managers, clinicians, and .gov sites
Case managers at West Coast Recovery Centers can provide clients with a list of safe and reliable digital tools for supporting their ongoing recovery.
Digital tools allow people to approach treatment from a new perspective. Online resources enable people from all over the world to communicate and support one another through their recovery journey. Hundreds of thousands of sober and general wellness apps are available for people to use during their treatment and long-term recovery. Digital tools are some of the most affordable ways to continue receiving recovery support after completing treatment. West Coast Recovery Centers encourages clients to be mindful of how they interact with others online and what information they share. However, online tools are an excellent way to maintain accountability and support. To learn more about our programs and services, call us today at (760) 492-6509.