New app aims to help fight addiction
Polish scientists have developed a free app to help people fight addiction.
Named Nałogometr (“addiction-meter”), the application informs its user in advance about the increased risk of returning to undesirable substances or behaviour.
An algorithm also determines which outside factors contribute to a person's pangs by asking the user questions to motivate them to think about what is happening to them at a given moment: what is their stress level, mood and how it is related to the desire to use stimulants or addictive behaviour.
Co-creator Dr Mateusz Gola from the Institute of Psychology of the Polish Academy of Sciences said: "First, a person becomes aware of when and what factors push them to behave, which means a return to addiction.
"Thanks to Nałogometr, a person struggling with an addiction can find out that the addiction craving returns, for example, at a specific time of the day and in specific circumstances.
“The algorithm embedded in the mobile application suggests how to prevent a relapse, indicate the necessary changes, e.g. regarding sleep or stress stimuli, and it will also suggest ad hoc measures to survive the difficult moment when it comes.”
He added that those who install the software on their phone will not only get the chance to learn more about themselves, but will help with the scientific research to overcome addiction on a social level.
The algorithm was developed with the help of 10,000 participants to help psychologists determine patterns of behaviour that favour drug re-use.
Dr. Bohdan Woronowicz from the AKMED Consulting Centre said: “Up to 70 percent of people who have undergone addiction therapy return to their previous behavior within two years.
“Addicts admit that the main reason for this is feeling a strong, internal compulsion to reach for a given substance, e.g. alcohol, or the difficulty in refraining from compulsive behaviour, e.g. eating.
“In Poland, over 25 percent of people smoke cigarettes regularly, and about 20 percent drink alcohol in a risky or harmful manner, including approximately two percent who are addicts.”
By the end of August, the psychologists aim to collect new data thanks to which they will refine the module of personalised online help on the Nałogometr.