Although the pool of addiction treatment centers in the United States isn’t particularly limited, ethical means of practice, statistically proven useful ways to encourage and foster lasting recovery, and forward-thinking mindsets are much less common. One addiction treatment center in San Diego, California has been putting its foot down on the 21st century’s rampant and universal use of technology in louder of the success of clients who limit their digital footprint for a little while.
Technology is seen frequently as a double edged sword – especially in the mental health and addiction industries. While many apps exist that can help those with disorders such as Bipolar Disorder track their moods, or virtual therapists for people who are depressed and anxious, some parts of smartphones and the web are very bad for those in recovery (especially early recovery) from drug and alcohol abuse.
Besides serving as a heavy distraction for many clients wishing to maintain sobriety and grow in their recovery, technology and social media addiction itself is categorized on its own as a behavioral addiction.
Fishertitus.org, an “independent not-for profit community health system” mentions on their blog post The Effects Of Technology On Mental Health a number of studies that exemplify how social media and technology. Professional and distinguished organizations in the realm of academics conducted these studies, such as Duke University, The University Of Michigan, and Swansea University.
The results of these mentioned studies all have a common theme: technology (including smartphones, social media, and all internet usage) are proven to cause decline in mental health and distract users from being present and mindful in their daily life. In the University of Michigan’s study, Fisher Titus mentions that “[University of Michigan] found that Facebook use led to a decrease in happiness and overall life satisfaction.”
Read also: Social Media a Silent Killer?
Some individuals might be unable to see the connection between technology and dependence on drugs and alcohol, but surprisingly, things like social media, contact with family, and basic internet usage can contribute to a less happy quality of life. It is on this basis that Healthy Life Recovery in San Diego, California, requires its clients to eliminate usage of smartphones during group therapy sessions in order to allow for complete and utter focus.
“At Healthy Life, our goal is to show clients not just how to be present and aware, but to demonstrate the benefits of increased attention awareness and personal agency. As a tool to reinforce this presence of mind we remove distraction from the therapeutic process by collecting phones and electronic devices during group sessions. Presence of mind is an essential factor to a successful recovery and creating a welcoming and distraction free environment, at least temporarily, is a cornerstone of our philosophy.”
With addiction clients who comorbidly recover from trauma, staying “present” – especially in difficult situations – can be extremely difficult. Some specialists claim that trauma can even be the root of addiction, although opinions on addictions’ catalysts vary.
Some means of therapy offered at healthy life recovery include DBT, CBT, and family therapy. According to their website, Healthy Life Recovery states it “offers the clinical and experiential education you need. Our resources will sustain your recovery, enrich your soul and give you the tools to cultivate your best life.” A myriad of tactics are required to face addiction head-on and free one’s self from its grip. A combination of these modalities has the potential to increase success rates in the sober community.
Perhaps through the adoption of social media and technology elimination, other addiction rehabs across the United States can better help their clients seeking sustainable recovery from drugs and alcohol.
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