Technology may help drug and alcohol users stay sober, according to new research, which was published in the May 1, 2008 on-line issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.
Seventy-seven participants who desired treatment for alcohol and drug abuse were divided randomly into two groups - one group received traditional substance abuse counseling while the other group received traditional substance abuse counseling and six training sessions with a computer program.
The computer program, developed by Kathleen M. Carroll and her colleagues at Yale University's School of Medicine contained six lessons. In each of the six lessons, the program contained videos of different situations a person recovering from drug and/or alcohol abuse might encounter, such as being offered drugs. The training program also teaches recovering individuals strategies for dealing with and avoiding substance abuse as well as video showing how to use each skill or strategy being taught.
At the conclusion of the study, significantly less individuals who underwent traditional counseling in combination with the computer training program had positive drug tests than people who had traditional substance abuse counseling alone.
Personally, I believe this kind of combination therapy may be very effective for individuals who learn best by seeing a skill or strategy being used. Others might benefit from additional role-plays in therapy whereby they can test their new skills in a safe environment before being confronted with a situation in real life.