Ohio State's Talbot Addiction Medicine has helped more people with alcohol and drug addiction problems than any other program in central Ohio.

Drug addiction is a dependence on a medication or an illegal drug. If you're addicted, you may have an intense craving for the drug or you may not be able to control your drug use despite its negative or dangerous effects. Tolerance to a drug, when you need a higher dose to get the same effect, is usually part of addiction.

Drug abuse is a serious public health problem that affects almost every community and family in some way. Each year, drug abuse causes millions of serious illnesses or injuries among Americans. Abused drugs include amphetamines, anabolic steroids, club drugs, cocaine, heroin, inhalants, marijuana and prescription medications.

Drug abuse also plays a role in many major social problems, such as drugged driving, violence, stress and child abuse. Drug abuse can lead to homelessness, crime and missed work or problems with keeping a job. It harms unborn babies and destroys families. There are different types of treatment for drug abuse. But the best is to prevent drug abuse in the first place.

Programs at Talbot Addiction Medicine can help addicts quit their addiction and move on to a more productive life. Drug abuse can be treated with detoxification, abstinence, support from a 12-step program, compliance with physician-prescribed medications and psychotherapy.

Inspired by Brad Lander, a psychologist and clinical director of Addiction Medicine at Ohio State Wexner Medical Center, Brandi Spaulding and computer science students at The Ohio State University created the innovative Squirrel Smart Recovery application for Android smart phones. This app helps recovering heroin addicts combat craving, which occurs when the pleasure-seeking part of an addict’s brain – “squirrel brain” – is triggered and blurs the consequences of actions. This way, prompt help and guidance are available from the technology they’re already carrying in their pockets.

The app’s recovery circle screen allows for the recovering heroin addict to input up to 10 names of family, friends, counselors and other trusted supporters who can receive instant texts during trigger times when temptation occurs and the likelihood of relapse is high, or simply when words of encouragement are needed.

Other features of the app include: monitoring of mood, stress level and desire to use heroin; tracking accumulated days of sobriety and coins collected as awards for sobriety milestones; and motivational stories and testimonials from recovered addicts to assist with staying clean and resisting the urge to use.

The Squirrel Smart Recovery app can be downloaded for free from the Google Play store.

Learn more about brain and spine neurological conditions at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.


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