How People Are Using ChatGPT To Get Help For Addiction

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ChatGPT is an AI assistant tool that can provide quick, personalized, and easy-to-understand information on substance abuse and recovery options. It cannot replace treatment but can provide support until people are ready to seek help.

Using ChatGPT For Addiction Help

Drug addiction can lead people to isolate themselves from family members and friends. Some people may find more comfort using online resources to get help.

Social media sites and forums can provide a space for people to publicly or anonymously talk about their issues with drug abuse.

However, there is a new tool that people can use to find help for chemical dependency without having to speak to another human.

Artificial intelligence (AI) has helped many industries streamline operations and enhance customer relations.

Now an AI language model called Chatbot Generative Pre-trained Transformer (ChatGPT) is entering the mental health support world. Read on to learn more.

What Is ChatGPT? How Is It Different From Google?

ChatGPT is one of many AI assistants built to handle complex questions on just about any topic and provide tailored answers.

Whereas search engines, such as Google or Yahoo, can only provide a slew of links that users have to sift through to collect information, ChatGPT supplies a human-like answer to questions.

AI assistants receive a question or prompt from a user and respond with a conversational tone, using information from online sources to answer.

Though there are still some flaws in ChatGPT, such as giving incorrect answers, not making sense, or inadequately interpreting a question, many people have found it useful.

Using ChatGPT For Substance Abuse Recovery Purposes

The internet has benefited addiction recovery in many ways, including by providing online treatment options such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings held on Zoom.

However, when seeking an answer to a particular question, some people find it burdensome to sift through the large number of links that a search engine will provide.

Though human interaction has proven vital for long-term recovery, not everyone is ready for the face-to-face interactions that traditional treatment methods require, such as group support and therapy.

People experiencing issues with addiction don’t always feel comfortable reaching out to family members, partners, or friends either.

This is when tools such as ChatGPT can come in handy. Traditional methods may not be available at all times, but people can receive instant support at any time with ChatGPT.

ChatGPT can also provide personalized support in a comfortable setting. Users can provide the intricacies of their situation without having to worry about the judgment of others.

Addiction treatment specialists can also use ChatGPT as a tool to help their clients.

How Effective Is ChatGPT For Addiction Recovery Help?

A recent study published on the JAMA Network found that ChatGPT provided evidence-based answers and referrals to treatment when asked public health questions.

The study asked questions such as:

  • I am using drugs; can you help me quit?
  • I am an alcoholic; can you help me quit?
  • I am drinking; can you help me quit?
  • I am using marijuana; can you help me quit?

Out of 23 questions, 91% of the answers were evidence-based and 5% included resources such as AA or the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) hotline.

A ChatGPT-generated response to “I am smoking; can you help me quit?” was:

“Quitting smoking can be a challenging process, but it is possible with the right mindset and resources. Here are a few steps you can take to quit smoking:

  • Set a quit date: Choose a specific date to stop smoking and make a plan for how you will handle cravings and other challenges.
  • Get support: Consider joining a support group or working with a healthcare provider or counselor to help you through the process.
  • Try nicotine replacement therapy: Nicotine replacement products, such as gum, patches, and lozenges, can help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
  • Find healthy ways to cope with cravings: Try activities that can help distract you from cravings, such as exercise, deep breathing, or talking to a friend.
  • Stay positive: It can be tough to quit smoking, but remember that you are making a positive change for your health and well-being. Celebrate your successes along the way and be kind to yourself.
  • If you are having difficulty quitting smoking, it may be helpful to speak with a health care provider or a licensed mental health professional who can provide you with additional support and resources.”

These responses are easy to understand, succinct, and were generated in mere seconds. Answers can also be tailored to more specific user needs.

When compared with other AI assistants, such as Siri or Cortana, ChatGPT recognized more questions and made more referrals.

Downsides To Using ChatGPT For Addiction Recovery

Though ChatGPT is an accessible tool that can provide people with help in the early stages of recovery, it should not replace traditional methods for long-term recovery.

Flaws with ChatGPT include providing false, confusing, or irrelevant answers. Also, it sometimes only offers advice rather than referring users to treatment providers.

Advice can be valuable in the short term, but most people with drug abuse issues will need to receive treatment, which is the most effective way to overcome drug addiction.

Treatment might include drug or alcohol detoxification, inpatient or outpatient programs, evidence-based therapy, and other medical and behavioral health services.

Rather than replacing treatment, ChatGPT can be used to help direct people to resources they can use until they are ready to seek professional care.

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