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A Smartphone App Can Help Those Recovering from Alcoholism — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
March 27, 2014

A Smartphone App Can Help Those Recovering from Alcoholism

By Amy Orciari Herman

A smartphone application can help reduce risky drinking among patients who've completed inpatient alcohol rehab programs, a JAMA Psychiatry study finds.

Some 350 adults ending treatment for alcohol dependence at five residential programs were randomized to receive either usual care for 12 months, or usual care plus a smartphone with the A-CHESS app for 8 months followed by usual care alone for 4 months. The A-CHESS app provided monitoring and support, with ways for patients to stay in touch with counselors.

Over the 12 months, patients in the intervention group reported significantly fewer risky drinking days than those in the control group (1.39 versus 2.75 days per month).

Rich Saitz, an addiction medicine specialist with Physician's First Watch, questions the clinical significance of the findings. He also notes that the results "apply only to those who have received a relatively rare form of care — residential treatment — and only about 10% of people with alcohol use disorders receive any treatment at all."

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