Mobile messaging technique may help treat alcohol abuse

The drinking problems are common among people in the United States. This is evident from figures according to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) indicating how 86.4 percent of Americans, aged 18 years and above, self-reported about their drinking habits at some point in their lifetime. The numbers also pinpoint the fact that 70.1 percent Americans had consumed alcohol during the past one year while 56 percent said that they had drunk in the past one month.

While effective remedial measures are being looked into for treatment of alcohol abuse, a group of scientists has managed to find out an effective method that deters people from abusing alcohol. Scientists from the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research have suggested that sending text messages to drinkers proved to be an efficient way of discouraging them from abusing alcohol. The authors in their study titled “A Randomized Controlled Pilot Trial of Different Mobile Messaging Interventions for Problem Drinking Compared to Weekly Drink Tracking” noted down their observations subsequent to a 12-week controlled research of 152 respondents who had shown interest in cutting down on their drinking habits. The results were published online in the journal PLOS ONE in February 2017.

Tailored text messages effective in diminishing drinking habits

The authors revealed that the respondent drinkers who had received “adaptive-tailored texts” found it easier to curtail their drinking habits to levels equivalent to those drinkers who had availed “in-person moderation treatments”. The treatment method included one of four distinct kinds of text messages with each of them stressing on the necessity of alcohol reduction. These messages were passed on daily to the respondents and “self-tracking mobile-assessment texts” sent to a different control group each week. The messages were based on respondents’ details such as age, gender and drinking habits.

The authors noted that after three months, the respondents belonging to each of the four groups displayed lower tendencies of problem drinking behavior when compared with the control group tracked on a weekly basis. The participants responding to the adaptive-tailored texts groups also recorded most significant reductions in drinking frequency and quantity. The participants were able to lower their weekly drinking quantity by 9.64 drinks compared to a reduction in the control group by 2.5 drinks.

The turning point in this study was the inclination showed by nearly 80 percent respondents receiving adaptive-tailored texts to continue receiving messages for roughly three months post the completion of the study. The importance of this study lies in the fact that benefits of such a method can go a long way in helping alcohol abusers with limited resources gain necessary treatment for their drinking habits. The use of “automated mobile intervention” technique is the first of its kind researching on problem drinking in the remote population and formulating effective strategies to lower it.

Treatment is necessary for complete sobriety

The comparatively cheaper way of text messaging is indeed an innovative way that clinicians can make use of in helping their patients wean off their compulsive drinking habits. The fact that more than 6.2 percent American adults, aged 18 years and more, were afflicted with alcohol use disorder (AUD) in 2015 is a cause of concern and efforts should be taken to prevent the damage. In fact, holistic treatment programs that include detox, psychotherapies, experiential therapies and recovery management are available at state-of-the-art rehab centers that can help in getting sober.

Getting in touch with the Florida Alcohol Addiction Helpline can help understand various methods of treatment including detox, therapies and medication to let people gain complete abstention from their regular drinking habits. You may also call our 24/7 helpline number 866-220-5381 for more information about alcohol dependence treatment in Florida or get in touch with our online representatives for expert advice about the alcohol rehabilitation centers in Florida.