Smartphone app may help alcoholics recover
A new smartphone app may help increase chances of long-term success for people recovering from alcoholism, according to a new study.
The app is called the Addiction-Comprehensive Health Enhancement Support System, or A-CHESS, and has several features designed to help recovering alcoholics avoid risky behaviors. The app allows users to alert friends and family when they need support, tracks patients’ movements through GPS and sends support messages when patients spend a long time near a formerly-frequented bar.
In the study, scientists recruited more than 170 men in their 30s and 40s recovering from alcoholism and split them into two groups. The first group was provided with the smartphone app, and the second group was instead given a monthly therapy session or other traditional treatment. Participants from both groups answered questions about their drinking habits four, eight and 12 months following treatments.
The study’s results, published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, showed that the patients who used the A-CHESS app experienced fewer days of “risky drinking” than those who underwent traditional treatment but did not use the app. Results also showed that 52 percent of participants who used the app were able to abstain from alcohol in the previous 30 days, compared to 40 percent of participants who did not use the app.
The findings suggest that apps like A-CHESS may be an effective, low-cost way for people recovering from alcoholism to maintain success, but should not be substituted for treatment from professionals. Researchers added that further studies among more diverse populations are needed in order to confirm the findings.