Pittsburgh Tech Company Aiming To Help Recovering Addicts With Wearable Device

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A new, wearable device is the brainchild of a local tech company called Behaivior, which is located at Carnegie Mellon University.

“Especially when it comes to relapse, there are drug seeking behaviors that people enter before they relapse. Things like elevated heart rate, stress, even GPS location. Are they in the area where there could be drug use,” co-founder of Behaivior Ryan O’Shea said.

O’Shea is a co-founder of the company. He and his colleagues are working with two test models.

“This one has optical sensors which shoot light through the skin and reads blood pulsing through my veins. By reading that, it can tell how fast my heart is beating and other information about my body,” O’Shea said.

Medical Director at Gateway Rehab Dr. Neil Capretto says anxiety can say a lot about a person battling addiction.

“A lot of people with addiction, if they let their anxiety continue to build up, they’re more likely to want to self-medicate with a drug of addiction,” Dr. Capretto said.

The device would then alert the recovering addict and suggest ways to address the situation.

“Maybe do some relaxation techniques. Maybe check in with a sponsor, therapist or counselor to figure out what’s going on,” Dr. Capretto said.

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Dr. Capretto stresses that the device should not replace therapy or attending NA meetings, but simply add to the recovery process.

“Until we get 100 percent success, which we’re not, we need to be open to adding more tools to our toolbox,” Dr. Capretto said.

Family members and sponsors can also be alerted when a patient is in danger of relapsing by downloading an app on their smartphone. The company hopes the device will be available in about a year.

For more information, visit the company’s website here: http://www.behaivior.com/

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