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Tag: addiction

Smoking Cessation Apps for People with Schizophrenia: How Feasible Are m-Health Approaches?

Sawyer C, Hassan L, Guinart D, Agulleiro LM, Firth J. Smoking Cessation Apps for People with Schizophrenia: How Feasible Are m-Health Approaches? Behav Sci (Basel). 2022, 12(8)doi:10.3390/bs12080265. 

This narrative review poses the question of whether traditional digital smoking-prevention interventions are effective in individuals with severe mental illness (SMI). Even though half of all premature smoking-related deaths are individuals with SMI, these populations are frequently ignored when assessing a new digital intervention. Of the six apps that have been evaluated in SMI populations (Kick. it, Learn to Quit, QuitGuide, Quitpal, quitSTART, Stay Quit coach) only one, Learn to Quit, was developed for people with an SMI. Learn to Quit was reported as the most user friendly, but was not the only app that scored high in usability for patients with schizophrenia. Learn to Quit (System Usability Scale (SUS): > 80) also scored high for usability. Unfortunately, Quitpal, Quitstart, and QuitGuide scored poorly (< 70) when used by individuals with schizophrenia. Learn to Quit outperformed QuitGuide in two key areas. First, patients showed better point prevalence abstinence 30 days after starting app use, and fewer quit attempts and relapses using Learn to Quit. Other measures of smoking cessation were exclusively self-reported. Generally, this provides support for the use of digital health interventions for smoking in SMI populations. Future interventions specifically designed for SMI populations would be an excellent step in filling this critical gap.


Keeping Track of My Drinking – Patient Perceptions of Using Smartphone Applications as a Treatment Complement for Alcohol Dependence

Östh J, Danielsson AK, Lundin A, Wennberg P, Andréasson S, Jirwe M. Keeping Track of My Drinking – Patient Perceptions of Using Smartphone Applications as a Treatment Complement for Alcohol Dependence. Subst Use Misuse. 2024;59(2):291-299.

This descriptive qualitative study reported perceptions of the usability and acceptability of two mobile apps for alcohol dependence. Researchers conducted twenty-one interviews with individuals recruited from a larger Swedish randomized trial. Participants were strategically recruited from this larger sample to capture all available demographic variability. Interviews were semi-structured and explored participants’ experiences using “Glasklart” (n = 11) or “iBAC” (n = 10) after the 12-week trial concluded. Generally, participants found that using these self-monitoring mobile apps made them more aware of their drinking and allowed them to have accurate and honest conversations with medical and therapeutic personnel. Participants also echoed the design of the randomized trial. They expressed the benefits of the apps as an add-on to treatment but found them insufficient to change behavior on their own. Both apps had technical problems; Glasklart did not send enough prompts to check units of alcohol consumed and iBAC’s portable breathalyzer displayed inconsistent BAC measurements. While this did not result in participants discontinuing use, it made individuals weary of both app’s accuracy. Overall, both Glasklart and iBAC were viewed positively by the end-users and increased motivation to change.


Telehealth Supports Retention in Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder

Article Excerpt: Starting buprenorphine treatment for opioid use disorder through telehealth was associated with an increased likelihood of staying in treatment longer compared to starting treatment in a non-telehealth setting, according to a new study analyzing Medicaid data from 2019-2020 in Kentucky and Ohio. Published in JAMA Network Open, these findings add to a growing body of evidence demonstrating positive outcomes associated with the use of telemedicine for treatment of opioid use disorder.

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Article Source: NIDA News


Technology Fueled America’s Youth Mental Health Crisis, But It Can Help End It

Article Excerpt: Sian Leah Beilock is a cognitive scientist who is the new president of Dartmouth College, the first woman to hold that position since the school was founded in 1769. An expert in, among other things, the effect of stress on academic performance, she is starting her tenure by putting health and wellness at the center of her leadership agenda with a focus on the country’s youth mental health crisis…Substance abuse, which is both helping drive the mental health crisis and is drastically undertreated with nearly 90 percent of sufferers going without treatment, offers an example of the power of technology to provide clinical care in underserved areas or in cases in which stigmatization prevents people from seeking the help they need. Lisa Marsch and her team at the Dartmouth Center for Technology and Behavioral Health (CBTH) created and validated the first Food and Drug Administration-cleared digital therapeutic for the treatment of opioid addiction, which provides cognitive behavioral therapy interventions though the user’s digital device and has since helped roughly double rates of abstinence by lowering the threshold for access to treatment.

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Article Source: The Washington Post


Recreational Cannabis Has Arrived in Minnesota. What Are Its Health Benefits, Risks?

Article Excerpt: Despite its use in medicine, cannabis is a cause for concern for some clinicians, especially when they consider the developing brains of children and young adults. It is also an understudied substance, due in part to its federal classification as a Schedule 1 drug, limiting what we know, scientifically, about its potential benefits and harms on the human body. “Cannabis is not one drug,” said Jacob Borodovsky, a senior research scientist at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. “The cannabis plant itself, we’ve identified over 150 cannabinoid compounds that are present in the cannabis plant. THC and CBD are just two of those 150 or more identified compounds.” So, what do we know about cannabis and its health impacts?

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Article Source: Post Bulletin


The Role of Digital Health In Treating OUD

Article Excerpt: In a study recently published in the JAMA Network, researchers sought to investigate the use of patient-facing digital health technologies for OUD by organizations in the United States with ACO contracts. The search began as it was unclear whether these technologies serve as substitute or complements to traditional SUD treatment resources in health care organizations. According to researchers and authors of the study, medication and behavioral treatment for OUD is scarce. Many barriers make access to OUD treatment challenging, including transportation and limited numbers of mental health and SUD clinicians. Digital health technologies are suggested to have the potential to alleviate barriers and expand access to treatment for OUD patients.

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Article Source: Managed Healthcare Executive


Can Wearables Improve Outcomes Among Hospitalized Patients?

Article Excerpt: New research published in JAMA Network Open found that hospitalized patients using wearable devices had better physical activity levels and physical functioning as opposed to patients receiving standard care. Typically, hospitalized patients engage in limited levels of physical activity. This often leads to adverse health outcomes. However, the capabilities of wearable devices led researchers to examine their efficacy in boosting patient activity levels.

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Article Source: mHealth Intelligence


The Tech Solutions Helping Battle Depression and Anxiety

Article Excerpt: Though COVID-19 is no longer classified as a global health emergency, the spike in mental health disorders that accompanied the rapid spread of the virus hasn’t abated… the rise in mental health conditions has also meant that more people are comfortable seeking support. As a result, there’s never been more demand for health and wellbeing services with the behavioral health market expected to grow to $105 billion by 2029. And tech innovators continue to develop solutions that address specific gaps in the treatment pipeline, democratize access to treatment such as therapy and provide tools to manage our wellbeing holistically.

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Article Source: 150sec


Telehealth for Addiction Treatment Rose Early in the COVID-19 Pandemic

Article Excerpt: Published in JAMA Network Open, new study findings indicate that insured adults, particularly those who were younger, had higher participation rates in overall and telehealth-enabled addiction treatment following the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was an unprecedented and widespread shift to virtual care modalities. Although many studies have indicated success associated with telehealth use, researchers aimed to discern its relationship with treatment for addiction. They also sought to determine whether there were differences in addiction treatment utilization after telehealth policy changes by demographics such as age, race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.

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Article Source: mHealth Intelligence