It seems there truly is an app for everything, including those designed just for people struggling with addiction. Whether you are trying to moderate your drinking, overcome a food addiction, avoid relapse in recovery or are even attempting to curb a smartphone addiction, there is an app for you. Research into how effective these apps are is extremely limited, but is an interesting and new area of focus. Early studies have found that users report satisfaction with addiction and recovery apps, and there is no reason not to give one or two of them a try. Here are some of the top picks:
- For any kind of addiction. An app called ImQuit is compatible with all devices and is designed to help people struggling with an addiction of any type. You may have a binge eating disorder or a drinking problem, or maybe you are a compulsive gambler. ImQuit is generic enough to work for anyone. It gets a four-star rating from users and allows you to share your successes with friends.
- For the 12 steps. If you are using a 12-step program to get through addiction or to guide you through recovery, there are several apps to support your efforts. A quick search on 12-step apps will show you one that keeps you in contact with your sponsor. It even allows your sponsor to find you using GPS. Other apps provide you with hours of 12-step speaker talks for inspiration and motivation. Another app gives you access to a sobriety calculator, contacts for 12-step programs, a meeting locator and other important resources.
- To quit smoking. A free app for Droids called QuitNow is designed to help you kick your cigarette habit, one of the toughest addictions to beat. It uses gamification to turn your quitting into a game in which you earn points and can share your successes with friends. A counter keeps track of how long you go without a smoke and updates you on how your health is improving as you get further away from that last smoke.
- To cut back on drinking. If you just want to moderate your drinking before you get out of control, there are several apps to help you. Search for alcohol or sobriety calculators and you will find apps that track how much you are drinking and how intoxicated you are. Most will also provide you with access to taxis and other forms of transportation in case you do go overboard.
- For eating disorders. An app called Recovery Record is designed to help anyone in recovery from anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder or food addiction. The app allows you to log what you eat and record how you feel when you eat. The information is then organized into a chart that you can use to track your progress. You can also earn rewards for making progress, share with friends and send and receive encouraging messages to and from other users.
- An app designed by researchers. If you want your app backed by academics, try A-CHESS. This app was developed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and helps people struggling with alcohol use disorders. The app connects you to other users for social interaction, provides relaxation strategies, discourages users from giving in to triggers and provides access to counselors.
Addiction can’t be fixed with an app, but these can be handy tools to help you along the way. Give them a try and see which one works best for you. Just remember that no app is a substitute for treatment with professionals.