Addiction is a complicated issue that affects millions of people every day. It is something that not only destroys an addict’s life, but also those around them. Addiction is not only caused by drugs and alcohol. There are several other types of addictions that can cause just as much damage. Currently, addiction is defined as a chronic relapsing disease that is characterized by compulsive drug, alcohol or destructive action seeking/consuming/engaging. Any action that is harmful to health and safety that a person engages in, while understanding the dangers and cannot willingly stop or reduce that behavior is an addiction. Gambling, sex and eating are all considered types of addictions. Our society is regulated by technology. It is everywhere. Can this technology be used for good? New initiatives are being employed by the National Institute for Health and the National Institute on Drug Abuse to use smartphones to help fight addiction. The program looks to reward creators for developing an app for addiction.

Addiction Research: There’s an App for That

The program is being called “Addiction Research: There’s an App for That” is going to reward a prize of $100,000 funding to teams that can create an app by April 2016. The program’s directors hope to encourage communities to develop a tech that would promote the scientific research on nicotine, methamphetamines, cannabinoids, opioids and prescription drugs. The initiative hopes to gain deeper insight to how some people fall victim to addiction, while others are capable of staying clear of this issue. It will record lifestyle choices in an effort to discover correlations between those choices and drug abuse and addiction. The effort will catalogue behavior, communication, social participation, nutrition, stress, work, school, neighborhood, genetics and use of technology to analyze the development of addiction.

Apple and ResearchKit

Apple’s ResearchKit is an application that is used to create apps for the use of scientific professionals. The app allows professionals to create clinical studies of enormous size; sizes that have never been feasible. Original scientific research is collected when patients use the app by answering questions pertaining to their physical health. It is a direct, simple and comprehensive system of collecting real-time data for research. The sheer numbers of iPhone users nation and worldwide allows researchers a girth of data. When that data is combined with the GPS and other physical characteristics that Apple products collect in real time the researchers can create astonishing conclusions. The scale and potential for this union of medical professionals and technology developers is impressive. The amount of data that will be collected in the near future will be historical and provide information that will help professionals understand human biology in greater detail.

Causing or Solving the Addiction Problem

It is impossible to live without technology in this world. The very few societies that are devoid of technology are light years behind first world countries. Advances in technology have led to great changes for this world. More primitive societies that begin to embrace technology have witnessed a drastic change to their health and way of life. Technology can be addicting, but it can also provide great benefits. The possibilities of the ResearchKit, Apple and Google initiatives are endless. These programs can help to find a better understanding of how addiction begins and more efficient ways of preventing it. Keep an eye out for the new initiatives of this program and how you may be able to contribute. Simple surveys could be the key to preventing addiction.