A pilot study of a smartphone-based intervention found that the mobile app helped people with an alcohol use disorder to reduce their alcohol consumption. The pilot program was supported in part by a grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).

Patrick Dulin, PhD, an associate professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage, led the study. He presented findings on the mobile app, known as "Step Away," at the American Telemedicine Association's annual meeting, held May 2-5, 2015 in Los Angeles, Calif.

The study enrolled 28 participants, ranging in age from 22 to 45, who met criteria for an alcohol use disorder. Each participant received the smartphone-based intervention to use for 6 weeks.

According to the authors, Participants also demonstrated significant reductions in hazardous alcohol use: drinks per day fell from 5.6 to 2.9, and the percentage of drinking days dropped to 25 percent, from a baseline of 56 percent. The participants indicated the intervention modules were helpful in highlighting alcohol use patterns. Tools related to managing alcohol craving, monitoring consumption, and identifying triggers to drink were rated by participants as particularly helpful. 

 

References:

1. Dulin, P. L., Gonzalez, V. M., & Campbell, K. (2014). Results of a Pilot Test of a Self-Administered Smartphone-Based Treatment System for Alcohol Use Disorders: Usability and Early Outcomes. Substance Abuse: Official Publication of the Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse,35(2), 168–175.  [View abstract: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24821354.]

2. View an abstract of Dr. Dulin's conference presentation at www.americantelemed.org/docs/default-source/ata2015/telemedicine-and-e-health-2015-final.pdf