AI Addiction Therapy is changing the Behavioral Health System
Artificial intelligence (AI) and digital technology may make substance addiction treatment easier, more accessible and more effective. Do you need help keeping track of your medications? There is an app for that. Do you need assistance finding a local recovery support group? There is an app for that. With the advancements in AI and machine learning, digital programs are now being created to revolutionize the behavioral health care system.
What is AI? AI is a digital computer program created to study, mimic and execute decisions based on learned human processes. Today, AI has become so advanced in learning human patterns and behaviors. It can go as far as predicting the likelihood of when a person is a risk for self-harm. Predictive AI technologies can also help through information gathering. Giving clinicians a better insight into the best treatment options for patients.
Drug overdose deaths are now the leading cause of death among adults in the United States. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), over 22 million Americans require substance use disorder treatment. When it comes to treatment, less than 10% of these adults receive the right care they need.
In the current behavioral health system, there are only two main options for treatment. Residential and outpatient programs offer an abundance of resources. However, once clients leave rehab there is very little follow-up or support given to help them maintain long-term sobriety. Local addiction recovery groups offer support from a peer-led community. But the lack of professional treatments for more intensive cases leaves some without resources.
Can AI help addicts? Introducing Addicaid. The app founded in 2013 was created to help people who are struggling with substance abuse issues, process disorders and a wide range of other types of addictions. Founder Sam Frons, who is in recovery, says the app uses a combination of AI technologies, machine learning and data from clinical research.
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Through this combination of informational elements, Addicaid can help suggest personalized treatments and even predict when a person is at risk of relapsing. It creates personalized programs for each user based on the words, phrases and other vital information that has been logged into the app. The app will eventually develop an algorithm to help identify the person’s well-being and learn how and when to intervene.
Predictive AI technologies have opened up new doors for the treatment of mental health and behavioral health. AI addiction therapy apps like Addicaid are created to remove barriers to addiction treatment. They also help capture massive amounts of data that can give insight into how conditions can be predicted and prevented.
Pros of AI-based technologies for Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment:
- Convenience – Treatment can happen anywhere and at any time. For people in recovery, trigger events, situations or environments are not always easy to manage.
- Anonymity – The negative stigma behind substance addiction and treatment often discourages people from seeking help. Mobile apps and other predictive AI technologies allow clients to seek treatment without other people knowing.
- Cost Effective – Many apps or mobile applications are free or at a much lower price point compared to traditional inpatient and outpatient programming. This allows access to treatment for people who aren’t as financially well off.
- Accessibility – AI provides access to treatment 24/7 and in even the most remote of areas. In addition to serving multiple people at a time.
Cons of AI-based technologies for Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment:
- Consistency – Some AI can only offer the same set of evidence-proven treatments to every user. It fails to provide individualized and customized treatment plans depending on each user’s situation.
- Privacy – How private or safe is the information you are inputting into AI apps? Where does the data go? Who is using this information? What else is your private data being used for?
- Effectiveness – Effectiveness in treatment cannot be measured. Each person has unique struggles that require different solutions. Treatment is not a one size fits all situation. Predictive technology can also lead to discouragement. If a program detects a person might be headed toward a downward spiral or is at risk for relapse, this could further lead to negative thoughts.
- Regulation – There is currently no standard of measurement for its effectiveness in treating addiction. It is still unregulated.
Other types of AI addiction therapy apps include:
- Self-management apps
- Apps for improving thinking skills
- Skills training apps
- Care and support apps
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Clinicians and researchers have been looking for new ways to expand the behavioral health system. Advancements in AI addiction therapy have broken down many common barriers to treatment health and could be a new standard of care. The expansion of accessibility, affordability and convenience has made treatment available for everyone in need. AI provides addicts with the treatment they need and deserve.