Technology new gateway into treatment for problem alcohol users: study

Jan 05, 2010

A recent evaluation by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) shows that online interventions for problem alcohol use can be effective in changing drinking behaviours and offers a significant public health benefit.

In the first evaluation of its kind, the study published in Addiction found that problem drinkers provided access to the online screener www.CheckYourDrinking.net, reduced their by 30% - or six to seven drinks weekly - rates that are comparable to face-to-face interventions. This result was sustained in both the three and six month follow-up.

Problem drinking is a major cause of preventable deaths in Canada as well as , trauma and violence, yet many of those who struggle with problem alcohol use will never seek treatment. A recent general population survey indicated that 81% of problem drinkers in Canada have Internet access, and about a third indicated that they would be willing to seek intervention via the web.

Brief Internet-based interventions for problem drinkers are promising, and fill a gap in the services available to problem drinkers, according to principal investigator, Dr. John Cunningham Senior Scientist with the Social and Community Factors in Prevention Research Section, CAMH, "An unfortunate reality is that many problem drinkers do not seek treatment. While getting help from a health care professional is ideal, there are barriers to access such as concerns about , a desire to handle problems on one's own, or simply because treatment is not readily available - online interventions can help reduce these barriers by allowing people to seek help in their own homes."

By analyzing self-report data, the website provides problem drinkers with a report that compares their to the national average and informs them of the physical and health risks associated with their drinking patterns. The report also calculates the amount of money spent on alcohol annually and how much of their time is spent under the influence each year. Safer drinking guidelines are also provided to website users.

"The Check Your Drinking online screener provides participants with a wealth of information about their drinking, its consequences, and how they compare to others," said Cunningham. "When presented these facts in a non-judgmental manner, participants are able to re-evaluate their drinking and may be motivated to reduce their alcohol consumption."

Explore further: Informal child care significantly impacts rural economies, study finds

Provided by Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Help comes in the mail for drinkers

Apr 27, 2007

Mailing a simple information pamphlet to interested drinkers in the general population reduced binge drinking by 10 per cent, and is a promising public health approach to reduce the health and social problems associated with ...

Study: Regulate alcohol marketing

May 02, 2006

The U.S. alcohol industry snares too many underage drinkers and its marketing practices should be federally regulated, a Columbia University study concludes.

Recommended for you

Preterm children's brains can catch up years later

8 hours ago

There's some good news for parents of preterm babies – latest research from the University of Adelaide shows that by the time they become teenagers, the brains of many preterm children can perform almost as well as those ...

Mortality rates increase due to extreme heat and cold

8 hours ago

Epidemiological studies have repeatedly shown that death rates rise in association with extremely hot weather. The heat wave in Western Europe in the summer of 2003, for example, resulted in about 22,000 extra deaths. A team ...

User comments : 0